It is said that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. As I thought about that, I realized that God is always “breaking and entering,” breaking into our self-contained, self-absorbed world and our lives and entering in. That’s the dramatic story of Christmas, the season that will soon be upon us: God broke in and entered our world. But something is going on in Tennessee that provides a great opportunity for Him to “break in” and “enter into” our thinking.
The question is will we let Him. The particular question is whether we can allow the “news” of our day to break into a current sermon series, church calendar, Sunday school lesson, or our small group plans in order for God to teach us something about Himself and ourselves in the context of the real world stuff happening around us.
It seems that such sermons, lessons and discussions would have the potential to make Christianity real, relevant and maybe even interesting to an outsider who wants to look in. But, it also has the potential to get people mad when what the situation teaches is contrary to what we want to hear. When we touch on real life stuff, particularly if it deals with cultural issues, we accuse folks of going from preaching to meddling. So we tend not to “go there” much anymore.
Anyway, what specific situation in the news do I have in mind? Well, the situation at Vanderbilt University.
The University has recently decided it cannot give its “stamp of approval” to student organizations like the Christian Legal Society by officially recognizing their organization. The offense that requires their exclusion from the Vanderbilt family is that they require their officers to be able to lead Bible studies, prayer and worship.
There are multiple deep issues here that have to do with the way we see God, our world and ourselves. So in case you don’t hear anyone speak to the relationship between the gospel and something in the news over the next few weeks, I thought I’d take the next couple of weeks to share a few thoughts that I have grappled with.
Hope you’ll join me on my journey.