Saturday, 26 October 2013

In which I love Steve Chalke

In the summer I went to 4 Christian festivals/conferences and I heard some of the most world-renown speakers and again and again my head was blown off - but by the end of the summer I was completely exhausted. 

It was going home day at Greenbelt festival and the truth is I wanted to just get in the car and get home to my bed so I could sleep {for a VERY long time}. After many nights in a tent and a non-stop, hard-work, crazy kinda summer my bed was calling my name. 

I've heard of Steve Chalke - I've seen him featured in Christianity magazine, and I recall all the controversy he has caused within the church in speaking out - particularly about homosexuality. 

And, you know, being the easily-influenced young person I was when it all fired up I jumped right on with those around me and made mental notes to myself about ignoring everything this man could say - I tried to ingrain his name into my head so as to remind myself not to buy a book written by him, to not let myself listen to things he had to say - to make sure I held him in no regard as a teacher or someone to learn from. 

{side note: I still am an easily-influenced young person. But I'm aware of that now.}

But here I am getting off that high horse - there is something I am beginning to understand about all this. All the debating, controversy and failings-out within the Church. 

I love my Dad, and I majorly respect him in what he does and what he has to say - but I certainly don't agree with everything he comes out with. 

I've had the same pastor for almost as long as I can remember and to me he is a major source of understanding, wisdom, love and support - but for sure there are times when he messes up. There are things he has done that I just don't agree with. 

What about the Pope? I'm no Catholic - I see no need for the Pope and yet I think he is a pretty cool guy, doing some great things for building God's Kingdom. 

Then there's one of my all-time heroes: St. Francis. Many have called him a nutcase - I question much of what he came out with, and yet if I could live out my life half as radically as he did I would squeal right inside. 

And my local MP - he really doesn't always get it right, and yet I could easily give him the time of day and I hold him in high regard. 

I get it wrong, other people get it wrong - they're not incessantly bad and they don't have a terrible theology just because I don't agree with some parts of it, and just because I do agree with some parts of it doesn't mean I think that they have a good theology. 

I think it is easy to write someone off - to judge immediately - but perhaps it is time to climb down and stand on the ground together. 

It is less about 'I'm right so you're wrong' and more 'I don't know and you're not God so I don't see how you have the monopoly either.'

With all the best will in the world someone who has studied the Bible for 50 years isn't necessarily more right than I am - as much as I place an importance on scholars - God ultimately comes first. 

And there is something that, amongst all the unknowns, I do know about God: He is an absolute mystery. And we need to let that be so. 

I could go off and get a degree in theology - I could become the most learned, and world-renown person in Biblical knowledge and still I would not receive any more or any less love from God as the next person. 

I think it is all very well to have opinions - to decide what we believe the Bible says about something - but essentially, for me, God is love - and so if that opinion doesn't reflect God in that way - I find it hard to see the truth in it. I don't know who's right and whose wrong. 

I don't know if Steve Chalke knows any more or less than the next person - but I can't see him as a monster. I have heard him speak - and in doing so I saw genuine humility, an honest, open heart, and a willingness to let God reign with a focus on His kingdom. I love that he is brave enough to step out against the grain - and I believe it is down to us to have the grace, and love to listen to what he has to say - whilst trusting that God has got this covered. 

Solo a Dios sea la Gloria. Only to God be the glory. With love and grace and blessings.