Yesterday at The Community Church, I spoke about the useless religious details that distract us from Jesus. From dinosaurs to politics, all too often we use minutiae to avoid the hard questions of faith and belief, of morality and responsibility. Is my faith the sum total of my opinions on Horned Beasts or Ecstatic Utterances? Is it the songs I sing or whether or not my hands are in the air or at my side when I sing them? Is it what I drink or eat, or how I vote, or how my taxes are spent?
Someone asked Jesus this question. “What’s faith about? What’s the most important thing I need to believe?” Jesus avoided the religious trap, avoided the trivial opinions on ceremonial washings or the resurrection of the dead and summarized the essence of faith, the core of vital belief. “Love God with everything you’re capable of; Love others with same priority you place on yourself.” After this the details become expressions of those truths. They are extensions of love for God and love for others in balanced perspective with love for self.
It’s not that the other stuff doesn’t matter or that it is irrelevant. They are the things with which we decorate our spiritual home, the flair that makes our faith ours. They are not the foundations. I don’t need to worry about dinosaurs or Democrats, because Jesus didn’t. I don’t need to agree with you about Antichrist or amillennialism. That’s your house, not mine.
The questions we need to push each other with, to challenge each other, are, “Do you love God? Are you loving people?”
God is real.
He made me.
He loves me.
Jesus makes it all possible.