Tony Campolo frequently points out that Matt.7:1-5 does not teach “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Instead, it means we are to: “Love the sinner and hate your own sin.” Thomas Merton made a similar point: “If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate those things in yourself, not in another.” Geri and I just completed our 3-city tour in New Zealand (EHS in partnership with the Willow Creek Association NZ). I was particularly struck by the generous spirit of believers on issues that are particularly contentious and divisive in the USA. Consider the following:
- Charismatic Baptists. While I know of one or two pastors who might identify themselves as such, this is quite common in New Zealand.
- Women pastors and elders. We met many here on this tour.
- Learning from the multicultural, global church. The church I preached in last Sunday had 38 nations represented. I particularly enjoyed another church filled with Pacific Islanders (the 23 small countries like Samoa and Fiji). I also enjoyed listening to the stories of South Africans, Filipinos and Chinese who have migrated here.
- “Outside the box” initiatives. I was challenged by the passion and creativity of a young Anglican bishop (with dreadlocks by the way) who helped found a monastic order called Urban Vision. Their contextualized community to serve the poor and orient the larger church back to her center had many brilliant elements that I hope to learn more about in the future.
God is alive and working all over the world! We have much to learn.