I’ve had this thought bumping around in my head for a long time now. The church in nearly all of its North American flavors has a debilitating love affair with pragmatism. This love affair needs to be named, shamed, and ended.
We see this when we judge a pastor’s faithfulness by the size of his or her church. We see this when we hear some emerging church types justify their alternative modes of worship by saying that the inherited models don’t work for them. We see this when we hear postmodernists decrying modernism because it didn’t live up to its promises. We see this every time any Christian makes any decision on the basis of what will work.
Frankly, I’m tired of all of this. It’s not that I want to blissfully skip through life without thinking about wisdom and consequences; far from it. The problem is, mere pragmatism leaves us standing on thin air. This leaves us with no basis to critique anything subChristian in ourselves and others.
I want to make decisions because of love, because I believe that Jesus was telling the truth when he summed up the wisdom of the whole Scriptures in the command to love God and to love others. Love doesn’t always work. Love is work. Love is the work of putting others before myself, and that is negatively pragmatic towards the embedded North American cultural goal of the self-seeking pursuit of personal gain.
Love fails the practical test of pragmatism. I could sincerely love others without producing change in them. This is even why so many dismiss love—it just doesn’t seem to work. And any line of thinking in which love is not credible is not Christian thinking.
Lord, help me to love even when it doesn’t seem to work. Help me to have eyes of faith that see beyond the problems of the present to the promise of the future. Help me Lord, to see You, and to learn to love You and to love others in all that I do.