I am beginning to fully appreciate the differences in the Body of Christ! Yesterday I had the opportunity to have a picnic with my in-laws. It was our first picnic of the season and to be honest I love these times. For those of you who don’t know my in-laws are pastors of a small "old-school" Pentecostal church in Bremerton, Washington. While we were sitting in the grass at the park we got to discussing what church really is. How it is not about meetings but people. This is really a concept that my father-in-law is fully engaging. We discussed how it was sad that so many people have been hurt, injured and even destroyed by the church. As our conversation started to drift towards church "styles" I started to laugh. See the style of my in-law’s church would be one that I would have a hard time attending. I have no problem with 99% of their theology or their missiology, it would all be the contextualization of what they do I would have a problem with. But I began to smile because of how great what they were doing in the context of where they are and who they are trying to reach. I was refreshed to hear about, what I may consider, super-spiritual meetings of middle-aged women who cast the same demons out of the same people each week. In the past I would have been abhorred by this, but the more I listened I began to realize how cool it was that people’s lives were being genuinely changed.
I have come to the place where I think that the emergent church movement is just as guilty of judgment and slander against the traditional church as they would say the traditional church has been against them. If there truly is an "emergent" church…a new church emerging form the traditions we have known and becoming the force that will change the world; if the next generation of Martin Luthers are just beginning to fulfill their destinies, then they will HAVE to be a people that looks on the church of today with the same grace they ask of our brothers and sisters who are more traditional. Remember that they word of God tells us that "’they’ will know we are Christians by our love for one another." If we cannot have grace for our own "family members" how can we truly have grace for those who are outside the family? Grace is the key to the Gospel of Christ. We MUST learn to live in it.