Today at The Gathering we returned to the last installment of our present series, “Loving God.” Today I spoke on “Welcome to the Revolution,” calling for the creation of a Renegade Nation.
One of the points I tried to make throughout “A Renegade’s Guide to God” is, though each one of us has an individual relationship with God, that relationship automatically leads us into a larger relationship with other believers. When we are a part of Christ, we are a part of each other. Jesus reflected this unity in His last prayer in John 17 when He prayed that we would be one as He and the Father were one.
Unity of purpose and passion has been the one thing that the American church has denied Jesus. We are a fragmented group. We divide into denominations and then sub-divide within those denominations on the basis of our preference, or what we consider doctrinal differences. It’s gotten so bad in this country that if someone asks if you’re a Christian, the next thing they want to know is, not what does that mean, how has it affected your life, or where are you now on that journey? But, “What church do you belong to?” This way we can decide what your political preference is, what your moral stance may be, and what you believe about the war.
There has to be a way for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ – and there are so many of us we number in the millions – to be able to come together and recast the revolution; this grace revolution that Jesus instituted 2,000 years ago. This weekend at The Gathering I offered a simple covenant that we could all agree upon. It could be the starting point of our unity.
In the Renegade Nation couldn’t we just simply agree that our basic consensus is Christ; that we are followers of Christ, that we love Christ, that we believe He is actually who the Bible says He is, that He is God incarnate, that He lived a sinless life, that He died and was raised on the third day, and that He is our Savior working out His purposes. And one day when those purposes are complete he will return. This is the core power of what we share together.
In the Renegade Nation our connections are organic. We don’t have to be the same. We can be Christians and ride motorcycles, or enjoy symphonies, or like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bach, Beethoven, or the Beatles. Our heart is around Christ, but we all have different tastes and personalities. So organically we can come together with those affinity groups that share the same kind of outward passions we do and let Christ be the uniting force.
In the Renegade Nation our calling is to conversation. In the past fifty years the method has been condemnation with an attempt to convert. It seems to be exactly the opposite of what happened in the early church. They engaged people in conversation about what was going on with them and through them. And that conversation led people to curious investigation while the Holy Spirit began to move in their heart and bring about conversion. It may seem like a small shift, but it’s not. It may be the most important one in the new revolution. Condemnation has never changed anyone. You can’t condemn people to God.
And last, in the Renegade Nation our compassion is practical and front-line. Which means we want to do it now, here. We don’t want to pay other people to do it. We don’t want to build institutions that do it for us while we sit around and let the world go by.
The vision of The Gathering is to recast the revolution. We talked about this in great detail at our recent Leadership Summit. If you were not able to attend, you can download the mp3 and all the notes and get caught up on exactly what the heart of The Gathering is all about. I’ll talk more about recasting the revolution in greater detail in my blog in the days ahead.
Again, today at The Gathering was a great time of celebration. I truly believe God moved in the hearts of people. I saw new faces. I saw a bunch of old faces I hadn’t seen in a very long time. And it was great to renew these relationships.