So the other day, someone asked what is the difference between Baptists and Methodists? We were having a pretty well rounded conversation about different religions, with people from different faiths, and one who didn't really understand much about Protestant Christianity was curious... Well there are several differences between the two (like women in church leadership roles for example), but this one stuck to me because I've personally experienced it... and in order to not "call out" or deface either one I will not be specific as to which one I'm referencing as I write this post... But if you know me, you'll probably figure it out...
So a funny comparison I heard the other day was that one preaches against it on Sunday, and does it on Monday... while the other doesn't preach against it on Sunday, and does it on Monday. (hahaha) Ok this was meant for humor - we are all human and no one is perfect, but the main thing I want to take from this point is that one "preaches against it" and the other "doesn't preach against it." What not to do, and what to do.
Personally, having been in both church's I've seen this... one teaches a more negative, what not to do, against this, that, and them sermon... extreme fundamentalist... the other is a more positive this is what we should do and here's how to apply it to our personal lives sermon... it is more progressive.
And looking to the Bible, it's ironic how these two compare, and line up with the old and new testament. In the old testament, human beings were under the mosaic law - they were told what not to do. But this didn't work very well, because people were enticed to rebel against the law. Jesus was sent to earth to die on the cross and being forth a new covenant... teaching us what to do - how to follow him. Leading us, showing us - being our example.
The deeper rooted issue with many of the church's today who use the "against it/what not to do" style is that they are teaching this way to point fingers at others, not to look inside themselves and shape their own lives... look at those atheists... those homosexuals... those liberals... those "fill in the blank." I'm not saying they ALL do this, but sadly a majority of today's church's are doing this. But what they don't realize, is that by judging others they are only making the log in their eye grow larger... as they worry about the splinter in another person's eye.
Personally, I want to learn what to do and how to apply it in my life. I want to learn how to be a true disciple of Christ... And not just to hopefully reach non-believers so that they may see the amazing love and grace of God, but to reach other Christians... who may be strapped to this other way of thinking. After personally coming over from one side to the other (the fundamental Christian to the more progressive Christian), I see how much more free and liberated I am in God's love by focusing on Him and my relationship with him... by focusing on how I can be a better person and love others... not judge them. Honestly, trying to defend the other, more fundamental side was tiring and stressful... sometimes it hurt, and it just didn't feel right. But I know now God was pushing me to rediscover him and myself through a much more positive, loving, and nurturing experience.
The love of God is supposed to be unconditional, forgiving, and forever present. He will not leave or forsake us... he loves us always. And he sent his son to share this love with us, to teach us that this is how we need to treat each other.