Saturday, May 14, 2022

A Call to Christ-Like Controversy: Do you have the Guts to be Unpopular?

There are many challenges in serving Christ, but dare you be unpopular for Christ? This is the challenge we face from time to time. 

But, many a time, we come across a moment, when we are called to be unpopular for Christ, and we sidestep it. 

But there is no honor in such a thing, to sidestep that which we are called to. Will you take a stand, even if it means harming your future prospects? Will you take a stand even if it means others will tarnish your good name without cause?

We all by instinct attempt to avoid such scuffles and certain low spots. Yes we do. We get a nervous feeling at the thought of such a scandal. Our instinct is to bolt in the opposite direction.

However, more often than we might realize, we're called to controversy. Yes, called to controversy. 

Jesus our messiah himself constantly found himself in controversy. He rarely sidestepped it. The ultimate controversy was of course the cross. So we as his followers, like Paul, Peter, and the disciples, are also called to controversy, just as the Apostle Paul constantly found himself in controversies and popular disagreements. 

Now this is difficult for us, because the organizations and movements in which we serve very often seek to avoid controversy at all costs. Controversies can blow up in the media, controversies can cost donation dollars, controversies can harm churches. However, the right controversies, in the name of Christ, are a blessing in disguise, more often than not. So we must walk a difficult road between these dangers of the people around who may mob us, and the people above us who may excuse us from the ranks. Dangerous roads indeed. 

Controversies are like singularities in system theory. A small controversy can cause a massive effect. In the universal system, the stars and planets and space, a gravitational singularity can affect space time itself. We are called to controversies, I've seen it in my life time and again, a controversy is stirred, and I plunge into it, at Christ's call. And the singularity erupts, affecting hundreds of people around it. It is ugly, vicious at times, contentious, polemic, and yet once through to the other side, as the singularity closes, everything around it has been affected. And some have fled further away from Christ and rejected the truth of that moment, but some have drawn closer to Christ through it and received the truth with great joy. That is what happens in a true Christ-controversy. Time and again when Christ spoke to the crowds, some received his word, others rejected it and fought against him.  That is what happens in controversy.  

But with all things, there is a balance here. We are not called to contrive unnecessary controversy. How will we know the difference? Christ, in prayer, will show us how to proceed.

But make no mistake, should you avoid a controversy, for the sake of your own prospects and good name, which Christ is certainly calling you into, you are just as guilty as one who stirs an unnecessary controversy.

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