As I’ve been ringing in the New Year I was able to be in a wonderful discussion of whether Galatians 3:28 applies to salvation or the Christian life and what that looks like either way.

I’ve found that most teachers and advocates of various doctrine will say they view salvation as the “beginning of their spiritual journey” but what they really mean is that it’s the “end of their life before salvation” and what they seem to mean by “their spiritual journey” is that they get to talk about heaven and future and escape and later in beautiful words of equality but that they get to impose hierarchy and control over people in this life . . . And justify it because they are saved now. They don’t believe it changes anything really now – they still describe themselves as “just a sinner saved by grace” and not “I was a sinner and now I’m a new creation in Christ!”

Years ago my husband and I noticed a huge difference in the relationships among our friends who saw marriage as the end of dating versus those of us who saw marriage as the beginning of a beautiful life together.

Those who see salvation as the beginning – a true beginning – of being redeemed into a new context of living in this world that is devoted to “thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” will, in my personal experience, begin to manifest around them in their lives the principles of equality that are expressed in this passage and elsewhere in Scripture – including the very actions of Jesus. Where Truth of Jesus is preached there is breaking of bondage, and elevation of the least of these. There is caring for our neighbor and standing against oppression of all kinds.

One thing I’ve been considering lately is what flavor of Christianity is drawing more and more Greco-Roman thinking white men versus ‘the Jew, the slave and the female’??? I’ve got very strong observations on that but as they overlap with political observations I’m going to come back to that at some future time and not include it in a first of the year post.

You don’t need to “be open to having people of X type worship with you” when you hang out with all kinds of people and worship with them.

I also believe that a big part of this is challenging a lot of Christian communities because there is a shift going on from pastor to missionary (I should say BACK to because it’s the model established in the New Testament). For too long while the US was a Christian nation there was a tendency to build a church and wait for people to come in and then that is your community. We are finally at a place where we’re feeling the tensions of being a post Christian nation and those who want to hold onto the “seat in the pew” model of church are doing so out of a desire to hold onto power and tradition and at the expense of spreading the Gospel in a way that this current generation can hear it. Those who are going out are finding that you don’t need to “market to minorities” when you go out and live among a diverse group of people. You don’t need to “be open to having people of X type worship with you” when you hang out with all kinds of people and worship with them.

While I love tradition there are some traditions that are becoming irrelevant because they are inherently damaging so those who hold to them are crying that they are being persecuted for Christ. But being persecuted for Christ means being killed for actually spreading the Gospel and the news some groups tend to spread is very very bad news for anyone except white men.

So in this New Year I want to invite you to embrace a new beginning and question the things you’ve had bugging you. God is bigger than your questions! Really reflect on whether the things you have been taught about God – who God is, what God wants, what the Christian life means and should look like – really resonate with the fullness of Scripture and with who you know God to be.  Consider whether you fear God or really love God and consider what each option means for your faith walk.

Maybe you want nothing to do with God because of things you have been told about God that aren’t even true. Just because some Christian (even a pastor) once said it doesn’t make it necessarily true. If it damaged you in any way I can almost guarantee it wasn’t. I’m sorry they put a barrier to God in your life. We would welcome the opportunity to help remove the barrier with no strings attached. We trust God is able to work out life with everyone and leave anything more to the two of you.

Thomas Talks wants to be here for all of that!  Let us know what you want to hear about!  Let us know your questions as you go and we will try to weigh in on the conversation.  If someone here doesn’t have a good answer we will bring in someone who can speak to that issue with more experience

If you are someone with experience in some area of ministry and would like to open a dialogue with people about it please contact us. We want to invite you into our collaboration and give you a place for your voice to be heard! There are so many things people are doing in their neighborhood that others might be inspired to do as well, or join in on, if they only knew about them.  There are many ideas being challenged because of the greater cultural dialogue going on and now is the time to speak up!  We would love you to speak up here.

Whatever our relationship becomes I want to take this moment as we change over the calendar to say I’m glad you’re here.  I’m glad you’re reading. I’m glad you’re engaging.

Happy New Year!