Sinner-Sensitive: One Man's Dream of What the Church Should Look Like
- Thursday, February 07, 2008
“Did you listen to the radio today?”
“Yeah…I feel really depressed for some reason.”
“Me too. I wonder why?”
On my current DJ playlist is a song that generated some spiritual reflection. Bill Withers had a big hit with the song “Lean on Me” in 1972.
Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow
Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show
Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on
God designed this journey to be lived in community. Remember the description of the early church?
And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity-- all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. (Acts 2, NLT)
We were created to be in community. A community of believers that accept and embrace those different from us because of Christ. That is what makes church dynamic to a person who experiences grace and acceptance for the first time. And that is why church can be devastating when the congregation becomes selective, judgemental, and legalistic. When we become “professional Christians” something seems to happen. We lose touch with our former brokenness and sinfulness. I wrote about my dream of the Sinner Sensitive Church to replace the seeker sensitive approach in When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. Here is an excerpt from that book:
The sinner-sensitive church (SSC) is my proposal for a new church movement toward making everyone feel welcomed and loved. The SSC would model nonjudgmental attitudes. Issues like having tattoos, body piercings, weird hair, or ugly shoes would not necessarily denote demon possession. The SSC would pledge not to gossip because we would realize that it is only by the grace of God that we are not the current targets. The sinner-sensitive church would value every spiritual, physical, and financial gift, no matter how big or small. This church would appreciate but not elevate the person who built the new wing with the large financial endowment. The SSC would make it a practice to reach out, touch, and care for one another sacrificially because we know that we all fall down in life and in our Christian walk. At the SSC we would have executives holding hands in prayer with laborers and not thinking twice about it. Blacks and whites and Hispanics and others would break bread together because we are all sinners in the eyes of a color-blind God.
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