Tell me if you can relate to this: you’re trying to get to the bottom of a political debate. Maybe it’s health care reform. You hear, watch, or read the opinions of supposed experts who argue vehemently for opposing solutions. Lately I’ve been following the news on Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and the growing dissent in Congress about him. Either he’s a miracle worker whose prescient and bold maneuvers pulled the global economy out from a river headed for a deadly fall into an abyss or he’s a foolhardy chair of a group that caused the very crisis we are in. I’ve heard convincing arguments both ways and I struggle to have any confidence in the truth.
Lately I feel this confusion multiplied across a dozen such issues. Further complicating issues for me is that I don’t know anyone that I trust who’s on the inside of these matters. I sometimes wish I had a friend, someone who’s character I knew and knowledge I trusted to give me the real scoop. And this realization lead to another much closer to home.
I’ve been a believer in the Jesus of the gospels for so long I struggle to understand the deep wrestling for truth that engulfs so many people around me. People seem to like Jesus but are unsure who he really was, what he really said, and what he actually did. For almost two thousand years Christians have had definitive and life-changing answers to these questions, based on the teachings of the Apostles, and quickly therein the writings of the New Testament.
Then there are those of you on the outside of Christianity. I imagine many people feel something similar to my political dilemma when it comes to understanding Christians and Jesus. From those inside and outside the Christian community you hear very contradictory arguments and understandings of who Jesus was and what the Bible teaches. Maybe you’ve tried to read the Bible before and find it indecipherable and you wish you knew someone “on the inside” who could give you the real scoop; someone you could trust.
Then I long to be, and desire for my church to be, that relational bridge– that trusted insider– for our community.