Salt and Light: Wading through the Rubble

Christianity and Biblical living have seemingly taken a huge blow today as a well-known “super church” announced the forcible departure of their pastor due to “a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right” to be the internationally-idolized figurehead of the movement. Yet again, I find my blog being driven by a current event. I apologize, but I felt this was too far-reaching to ignore.

Many years ago, I had my own “difficult” experience with the institution in question. This experience caused my family to depart from its ranks. Yes, I’m choosing an intentionally vague description of my personal experience. I truly believe that I would never be the person I am today without the experience/departure, my family would never have been as strong as we are, nor would I have the courage to simply rest in my belief system. I’m able to stand taller, live better, and dare more because of that experience… dare I say, in spite of that experience? The past is the past; I chose to focus on how I live today because it will affect my tomorrows.

This blog will not attack the institution in question, nor will it champion the cause of departure from the movement. I simply want to go on record about what I believe I can do in response to this tragic circumstance.

Salt and Light

Having lived in a foreign country–one that entirely rejects the beliefs of Christianity–I’ve come to realize what being a Christian means to me. It means making a difference. It means personifying the admission of the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” It means being able to give an answer when people ask you how they can persevere through their pain. It is an all-consuming, all-encompassing, daily pursuit of right and honest living. By no means is it perfection; it is striving for grace. It is coming to the end of yourself and fully relying upon the only One who can make a beautiful mosaic of the broken pieces of your life.

Christianity is a calling to be salt and light. Salt changes the flavor of food; therefore, Christians should change the “flavor” of their surroundings. Light gives direction, courage to take the next step, and safety in the dark. Likewise, Christians should be able to assist those who seek to be illuminated by the Light of the World.

“Being salt and light demands two things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world. If you don’t hold up both truth in tension, you invariably become useless and separated from the world God loves.” ~David Kinnaman

I believe that I, as a Christian, should make a difference. I should be bold enough to stand up for what I believe, have the courage to explain why I believe it, and the wisdom to know when my actions speak louder than my words. This internationally known pastor has ceased to effectively communicate salt and light. His actions are in direct opposition to his teachings; therefore, he is not a good example of being salt and light.

Being salt and light is a momentary thing. It is a constant battle to consistently portray salt and light characteristics. It is a life-long pursuit, not a once-in-a-while jaunt. Just as one decision has ruined the life of this pastor and his family, a single, solitary moment can define greatness–as seen in the courage of one man’s decision so many times before.

Wading through the Rubble

Adlai Stevenson wrote of Eleanor Roosevelt, “She would rather light candles than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world.”

In response to the as yet undisclosed sin that spurned this blog entry, I say, “Good for you, church. Rather than sweeping this under the rug, you confronted it, brought it to the authorities, and left it in the hands of the justice system. Good for you.” I am of the firm opinion that the justice system was put in place for our protection against people like this. No man is above the law.

As a Christian, I choose to reaffirm my dedication to the quest for grace and the pursuit of a moral life. Yes, I’ve stumbled along the path a bit, we all have, but today I again choose a momentary pursuit of upright living. I choose to make decisions based upon the moral compass instilled in me by my mentors. I choose to let my actions speak louder than my words: to be the “living epistle”, if you will. I choose to live and breathe my faith. I don’t identify with a man, I am a child of the Man who was the Son of God.

Out of the ashes of this circumstance, may we find the courage to stand upon our own principles against the darkness.

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5 thoughts on “Salt and Light: Wading through the Rubble

  1. I like your blog and your perspective. I’ve also had a difficult experience with the institution in question. I’m really struggling with this, even though it was 5 years ago. That second paragraph could have been written by me, until the last line. I have not been able to put the past in the past. There are times when I think I have, but sometimes it hits me like it just happened, and I’m still angry and sad, but I don’t want to be. Any advice?

    • Yikes, that’s quite the question! Advice… let me see…. Honestly, for me, it came to a point where I had to choose to either live in the pain of the past or go on into a fresh, new future. I realized that the situation was weighing me down and causing me to lose possibilities. Does that make sense? It became a “comfortable crutch” and an excuse for me, “You have NO idea what I’ve been through!” was my rationality for my bad attitude and lack of direction. I had to come to the point where I said, “Enough is enough, this circumstance is not going to define me.” It was a battle, one that never gave warning for when it arose (I’m sure you know that… the I’m-doing-fine-today-BAM-past-knocks-me-over” feeling). It was a momentary decision… to not focus on the past, but reach to the future. Lamentations 3 became my dwelling place (check it out, it’s encouraging!) and Habakkuk 3:17-19 was a constant encouragement. Check out these posts: https://orderlyrandomosity.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/the-power-in-a-sunrise/ and https://orderlyrandomosity.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/happiness-joy-and-contentment-the-trifecta-of-satisfaction/

      From one survivee to another: you’re not alone, you can do this, you will make it. 🙂

      • Wow…I’ve never read Lamentations 3. It might have been just what I need. I just now read it in every translation I could find. 🙂 It was also interesting when you said the situation was causing you to lose possibilities. That’s exactly where I am now. While I know that my relationship with God has grown so much during these past 5 years without church, I believe God wants me to try it again. I haven’t seen anywhere in your posts whether or not you have decided to be involved with church again, but I recently found a church and I know that God has amazing blessings for me in store there. I believe that I will have chances to serve and love and be loved at this place on a different level. I know I will be giving these blessings up if I can’t let go of the past. I went last week for the first time, and I cried throughout pretty much the whole service. I wasn’t angry, but just being in church reminded me of the pain and loss. It was slightly embarrassing, because I don’t normally cry in front of people, but I just didn’t look around to see who was looking at me and I left very quickly when it was over. Still, I’m going again today, Just one step at a time for now. I have one other thing to ask you. When you made this decision, was it final? I mean, did the negative feelings stop or did they still come and it was just quicker and easier to remind yourself that you weren’t going to let it bother you anymore?

  2. I love Lamentations 3. It’s one of those Old Testament treasures that are “revealed” at just the right time. I’m so happy to hear that you’re trying church again! I know that it is a difficult step. Yes, I’m very active in my church. I found a place that encourages me to go deeper, grow more, and fully rely on God for strength. I’d love to hear about your service this week! How was it? Did you get any “treasures”? 🙂

    You asked if my decision to “move on” was final: it was/is still a choice. Just like any other choice (love, faith, etc), it is a momentary thing. I literally ran away from my problems–I lived in China for two years. Alone!–but when I came to that “crisis of faith”, when I had to choose to forget the past and focus on my future, it was finally resolved. That’s not to say that the whole mess didn’t affect me, but it didn’t weigh me down any longer. I wouldn’t let it. When I would be reminded of it, I’d immediately decide that I was not going to let it affect me. Does that make sense? I’m not trying to trivalize it at all… it was very difficult–a true battle of the mind. But you know what? With God on my side, I knew that I was in the right, I knew that when we left that church it was for the right reasons. I claimed Lamentations 3 as my own, even put my own name in the verses, and lived the HOPE of the chapter. Especially verses 20 on. (LOVE verse 58!)

    I hope this helps you a little. PLEASE keep writing! By no means do I have the answers to everything, and at times I’ll ramble, but I want to help! 🙂

  3. You have helped a lot so far. Could I get your email address? I would definitely like to write some more, but I’d rather not do it publicly.

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