The Haxtun-Fleming Herald - What can we reason but from what we know? -Alexander Pope

Fearless Faith

Upping our game


This is the time of year when professional sports teams are deep into basketball and hockey playoff runs, the kind that demand both individual and team efforts to move forward. Egos and self-centeredness carry little weight. Team play that is unselfish, however, is worth its weight in baskets and goals. An ability to adapt to changing game conditions often spells the difference between victory and defeat.

Surrounding each contest are brief game-time interviews that focus primarily on what must occur for a particular team to get the job done. The answer is often in regard to “upping one’s game” in order to elevate the level of play and hence the opportunity for victory. It suggests that there are benefits to playing up tempo, seeing the court, and taking care of fundamentals that are the basis of the game. No single element assures winning ways, but several elements, consistently well played, generally result in good things happening.

Such is the case with generational churches and congregations of the Christian faith. If we play fairly, nicely, and considerately, good things generally happen. There is no single consensus regarding the universal church, but there are certainly hosts of opinions on what the universal church represents. It has much to do with getting over oneself and taking a hard look at what the future holds given its performance thus far.

It appears there are plenty of rules to follow but not a lot of direct action. We mistakenly assume that posting the Ten Commandments on courthouse (government) properties somehow induces better behaviors. It does not. We quote the Sermon on the Mount as containing some of the greatest scriptural passages attributed to Jesus, then conveniently misplace it until the next chance reading. We revere the “greatest commandment of all” asking us to love God and love neighbor, then are quick to take offense and demand justice over the smallest transgressions. We declare to have the only access to God by virtue of birthright alone, only to discover wonderful people of faith that look and act nothing like us. What’s God up to anyway? Could it be that we could actually learn by placing love into action rather than merely talking about it one day a week?

If we don’t figure out how to up our game, the demise of Protestantism is nearly assured. What will it take for us to be provoked to action? We are deeply into post-season play but have yet to figure out what must be done — what can be done — all the while remaining self-assured that God will not drop the ball on this one. To the dismay of many, however, the ball is in our court. How do we come together as a team that needs to reconsider the talent it already has, and how do we take advantage of it?

We let ego slip away. We encourage questions. We share insights and potentials and new-found understandings, and we do so in community, not merely spiritual community, but also in the wild uncertainties of the secular world. There is safety in religious rules of the game, but there is also danger borne of sameness and complacency. Read the court, seize the openings, exploit experiences to-date. It’s all part of upping the game.


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