A few years ago, author Brian McLaren spoke at a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship event. Over a thousand of us sat in a large dark room, lit by stage lighting and screens.
McLaren addressed the supposed “slippery slope” of progressive Christian beliefs. As a young woman with an undeniable call to ministry, some labeled my very existence the “slippery slope.” But I didn’t fit on the non-slippery slope. My roles as a woman, wife, and mother didn’t remove the burning in my bones to teach everyone, women and men, serve with authority in the church, or…gasp, preach.
McLaren proclaimed the real “slippery slope” that threatens us: overlooking injustice, leaving privilege unexamined, and using God’s name to exact cruelty and exclusion against God’s children and creation. McLaren looked at the crowd of Christ followers, squinting into the darkness, and told us that we’d been singing ourselves lullabies, anesthetizing ourselves to the reality of sin dressed as religion. The time for lullabies was over; it was time to wake up.
Hearing his message in a CBF setting was deeply meaningful for me. McLaren named and addressed my experience of facing barriers to fulfilling my call; he inspired my faith family in a way that they could hear and respect. The possibility of a hopeful future hovered in the room. In such moments, the invitation of verse 12 comes alive: Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Your community needs you to be fully awake to the light of Jesus. Today is an opportunity to set aside the darkness of injustice, cruelty, and arrogant pride and awaken to God’s hopeful future.
When has your faith felt most alive? What is God awakening in you today? What truth do you need to hear and speak within your community?
God, we desire to put on Christ, realizing this requires humble honesty that makes us uncomfortable. Help us name our fear, powerlessness, and shame. May your light fill and claim us with your liberating truth. Amen.