Do you know what bugs me? (If you don't care what bugs me, you don't have to read on. But if you care - after all, you did come to my blog for some reason - go ahead and read on.)
I am bugged when we Christians attempt to hold "the world" to high standards, but hold one another to no standards whatsoever. We (in the West Ohio Conference of the UMC) are in an earnest battle to stop a very well-organized attempt to legalize (a certain kind of) gambling (including setting up a monopoly within the protection of a Consititutional Amendment). While I believe very much in stopping the spread of gambling and will continue to support the movement to stop it, I question it this way:
As Christians, we are trying to legislate our morality: this is based on a belief that we know what is best for humanity.
Believe it or not, I support this kind of exclusivistic thinking.
I believe it because there is a such thing as Absolute Truth - and we can know Truth in the person of Jesus Christ.
My problem is that we seem to want to hold outsiders to high standards (including prohibition attempts, blocking gambling, supporting smoking bans, etc), but at the same time, we refrain from holding fellow Christian brothers and sisters to any standards whatsoever, always in the name of "unity" or "tolerance."
We play the "if it works for you" card on matters of morality in the church while we're busy planning boycots of worldly companies who don't match our church standards. Can you see why this would bug me?
Now, there's a place for the "rant for rant's sake" but this isn't it (at least, not today). I know what to do about it. We Christians need to raise the bar... not for the world (yet), but for ourselves. Let's do life together and actually give our Christian brothers and sisters permission to call us on unChristian behavior. Let's put emphasis on living out our commitments, whether they are the commitments we made at our baptism (or Confirmation) or on our wedding day. Let's support and encourage one another in those commitments. And let's not make those commitments just to "get a ring" or to become a church member. Let's make those commitments because we mean them... not just today, but tomorrow as well.