“The We of fellowship, then is spiritual, it is social, and it is financial. But fellowship is not something we create.; it is the result of God’s work in us. When God’s people love in fellowship with one another, when they “do life” together, the church embodies the gospel about King Jesus and people respond to the gospel about him. When they live in fellowship, the Me finds its joy in the We. It’s messy, believe me, very messy, but no matter what the mess, the gospel is at work to turn messy people into holy people, even if it takes a lifetime (or more).” – A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together (P.112)
Somehow when I was younger I absorbed the idea that our little subset of Christianity was as Christian as you could get. Each belief I held from the importance of baptism, confirmation, marriage and how God actually communicates with us, to the depth which He wants to intervene in our little lives was established either by what was said or what was not even spoken about.
When I graduated from highschool and began attending some campus ministries at my college, I met people who had different experiences of God and Christianity. I met people whose lives had been utterly changed by God. I met people who heard God’s voice and did what He said. And talked about it in a way that gives all the glory to God and inspires greater devotion in the rest of us.
I met a bigger God.
“That’s the full story of grace – one that invades my space, but never leaves me in my space.” – Scot Mcnight (P.44)
One day I was confronted with a story about how God works that some didn’t or wouldn’t believe because of hard and fast beliefs. and I said who am I to say exactly how God works? Naive or not, that is my stance as I am learning more about God and His kingdom here on earth.
I need the God who is bigger than what I believe and can encompass the millions of billions of questions we humans can present to our own theology.
I need the God who reaches down and cares.
I need the God who loves.
“The first thing you will see when grace takes over a person’s life is a life shaped by love.” – Scot McKnight (P.48)
I need the God who leads.
I need the God who shows up.
And I, like Scot Mcknight, think that in our differences we can better speak of that God. If we are all the same, believe the same, look the same, talk the same, interpret the Bible the same, how can we grow and learn to know a God who is outside our comprehension? If we think we know it all because no one questions us. how will we come up with better answers? If we all have the same life experiences how will we check our blind spots? How can we learn to trust in spite of the holes in our understanding if we think there are no holes? How would we know our smallness without a God whose largeness is spoken throughout creation?
“Getting a new mind and living in the Spirit mean we transcend our differences while remaining differrent as we live with one another. Our difference is not eliminated, for difference is the vitality of our fellowship.” – Scot McKnight (P.95)
And that is my experience with ‘differents’, as McKnight describes it in his book: A Fellowship of Differents. McKnight uses the writigs of Paul to outline how diversity should be treated in the church. Heads up: It should be normal. I grew up in (and still live in) a fairly white area, so some of his emphasis on finding a church with a more ethnically and racially diverse population seems like wishful thinking here. I felt like it overlooked the importance of differences in belief, but his emphasis was really on cultural, economical, and social differences. And that is of great importance as we live in a place where race can mean the difference between life and death.
It’s hard, but worth it. And it is really something God does through us.
“Perhaps the best shorthand is to say God’s love is “unto” the kingdom.” P.60
“It is presence and advocacy that create opportunities for genuine kingdom direction. God transforms us in grace by being present as the one who is for us, and that presence of his transforms us unto God’s design of Christlikeness.” P.61
“To repeat, we are called to flourish in the life we’re given, not in the life we’re not given.” P.214
“What is joy? Joy is the inner satisfaction that comes from understanding our location in life in light of who God is and where God will eventually bring us – his kingdom.” P.233
“Joy is about sharing our lives, from the ordinary and routine to the sublime and special. Joy marks the gospel-shaped flourishing Christian.” P.236
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from BookLookBloggers.com.