A little book arrived on my desk earlier this week that drew my attention. As I glanced through it, I read a statement that I found both provocative and true. Here is is, written by Paul Scanlon, pastor of Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England:
The Barking Dog:
"I hate the fact that much of the church has become famous for its intolerance of the world. We are known for what we are against, whether it's abortion, homosexuality, smoking, alcohol, or Harry Potter.You name it, the church is against it. Now I'm not particularly advocating any of the above, my point here is that we have become the angry dog that barks at every passer by. Eventually the dog just becomes an irritant in the neighborhood. The neighbors avoid the dog, but can never forget it because like all barking dogs, much of the time it just barks for no reason.
I don't want to 'bark' at my city or the people in it. I want to appreciate it, love it and learn to live amongst the people of my city as a revolutionary for positive change.
Jesus was not known for what he was against. he was not known as the 'Pharisee hater' or the 'Tax Collector's worst nightmare'! Instead he was famous for the good he did for people. He was called the healer, one who spoke with authority and wisdom, the great teacher. But most notably, he was called the 'friend of sinners.' What a reputation to have! And we, Christ's Body in the world today, should have the same reputation.
The church is not a resistance movement; it is a replacement movement. God so loved the world that he didn't send us an ultimatum but an alternative."