Heroes & Heretics: Donatus Magnus

Heroes & Heretics: Donatus Magnus

This week, we’re going back to the fourth century to study a human who was given the label heretic. His name is Donatus Magnus, and he was the leader of the movement that has been given the name “The Donatist Heresy.” As I spent time with the story, it captivated me.  The Donatus story is a story of trauma, pain, bias, and politics. At its core, the Donatist Heresy asks the question, “How far does forgiveness reach? How far must we extend it?”  

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The Authentic Pursuit

The Authentic Pursuit

The church is a web of relationships - and just like is true in any relationship, sometimes the church is hard to love. The second that we sense inauthenticity, we feel lied to.  Cheated.  We feel unsafe and tempted to run in the other direction. Christians are still fallible, broken human beings with diverse and diverging opinions.  Fallible, broken human beings who can still hurt us quite a bit. How then, should the church respond to inathenticity?
 

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The If-Only Imprisonment

The If-Only Imprisonment

Many of us know the feeling of drowning in the guilt, shame, or regret from something that we have done.

Make no mistake about it. We all mess up.  We all make mistakes.  This is part of the human experience. 

We do things that we aren’t too proud of.  Things that hurt others.  Things that break trust and destroy relationship.  Things that force us into places we do not want to be.  Some are little things.  But some...aren't so little.

Mistakes.  Pains.  Moments we do too much.  Or too little.  Things that are part of our human experience, but can very easily become define our whole human experience. 

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The Prime Directive

The Prime Directive

Evangelism.  Sharing our faith.  Not really the most fun thing to hear, imagine, preach, or practice.

I think our intentions are good.  I think at the heart of it we want to talk about our faith that is meaningful to us.  I truly believe that we want to  “...go and make disciples of all nations…”.  I do believe Christianity is the way to live a full life and to bring God’s healing to a broken world.  

But…evangelism is hard.  Evangelism is uncomfortable.  The idea of going out and sharing our faith can very quickly make us feel embarrassed.  Sheepish.  Afraid.  

Sharing our faith with others means that we attach ourselves to the “Christian” label, and who wants to do that?  We’ll feel like fakes.  Failures.  Frauds.  And that hurts.  

So we don’t.  We keep to ourselves.  

So what are we supposed to do?  How do we reconcile this discomfort?  How can we take a step away from the Christian Atheist lifestyle and begin to match our life with what we really believe?  

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The Promise of Presence

The Promise of Presence

Last week for the holidays, I had an unusually long amount of time to reflect on the past year. I drove eleven hours from Ohio to Boston with a friend. On the way back, we took turns asking one another questions that made us reflect on the past year. I’ll be the first to confess. I had to sift through many dark memories before I could recall the joyful ones. I’ll be honest with you.

When reflecting on these dark moments of the past year, I can’t help but ask…is God missing?

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Legalistic Fences

Legalistic Fences

For some of us, worshipping God once felt like a wide open land in which we were free to run, love him, and serve others.  But now, that freedom is gone.  

Now, God feels like a military inspector who, at any moment, could throw open your door and surprise you with a room inspection - ready to penalize you for not having your bed made, your uniforms cleaned, or not following the rules.

And so we retreat even more into rules. Before you know it, our list of rules becomes pretty long and our fences become pretty high.  We forget what worship in that wide open looked like, because all we know about worship are our fences.  

Worshipping God once was about loving him and serving others.  Now, it feels like nothing more than following a Christian to-do list. In this rigid, legalistic, fenced in way of living, we feel trapped and isolated.  We begin to believe our only purpose is to DO all the right THINGS.  We lose track of God, and begin to treat other people differently.

And I believe God is heartbroken because of it.  

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The Shortcut of Stereotyping

The Shortcut of Stereotyping

Often times we label and stereotype based on race, upbringing, background, or finances. We stereotype and label based on parenting choices, spending habits, living room layout, or sexual orientation. Name the category, and it’s likely that we have some sort of stereotype associated with it.

But Jesus invites us to see things His way in our relationships: to lay down our tendency to apply labels on others and to choose a better way. A way that is not characterized by categories, but a way that reflects his love for the world.

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Peace

Peace

We are to be peacemakers for Jesus - not peacemakers for our own solutions. We are to walk into hopelessness and scandalously declare that peace has come.

As peacemakers of Jesus, we conquer darkness through love and service. We are not discouraged by helplessness or considering ourselves as failures, but instead choose to be reassured by his rule. We proclaim confidence IN God by letting go of the need to BE God.

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