Before we go, I’d just like to take a moment to say a word about perspective. Ben Virgo on the Christian Heritage Tour gave me a perspective of London I simply never would have had if I hadn’t gone on that tour. It wasn’t all new information to me, I knew some of it, but it sure was different seeing it, matching places to events and people. I hope you’ve gotten a bit of that tour in the past few minutes and maybe had your perspective adjusted a bit too.
Many years ago I had a similar perspective-changing Tour given by Ray Bakke in Chicago. I was living in the city at the time, but just a few hours with Ray changed what I saw every day. Really? The street means that much and that happened there? Wow.
When you get next to experts your perspective is likely to get threatened. If they really know their stuff, like Ben knows his stuff, you will see things differently, maybe hear things differently, and perhaps even feel things differently. When the plaque on the old building you walk by says, “Within a few feet of this place John Rogers, John Bradford, John Philpot and other servants of God suffered death by fire for the faith of Christ 1555, 1556, 1557” it gives one reason to pause. “Just tell me you don’t believe something and I won’t burn you to death.” What do you believe in strongly enough not to give in to that?
Yet almost invariably with perspective growth, comes nuance. Nuance is very underrated. Life is so much easier with black and white perspectives. Good-Bad. Righteous. Sinner.
Surely I may be wrong, but I suspect some of our propensity to wanting things that way is because it is easier. This king is good. That queen was bad. Royalty is all bad. Presbyterians are good. Catholics are bad. Churches are filled with hypocrites. You get the point. Or do you?
Life, people, and churches aren’t easy to put in a box with “All” connected very successfully. It’s a mixed bag. We are a mixed bag. Churches are a mixed bag. Add time to the equation and it gets even messier. Someone who was really bad can end up being really good and someone really good can end up being a scoundrel.
You know how I can prove that. Look in the mirror. See that person. All good? Nope. All bad? Nope. We need a lot more nuance.
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Nuance. You bet. And that’s what we mean by AND. Leonard Ravenhill from Leeds in Yorkshire England once said:"Jesus did not come into the world to make bad men good. He came into the world to make dead men live!” Now that’s nuance and that is Worth a Thought.