One of my fondest ever memories was of being at the Youth Specialties conference in San Diego way back in 1996 and hearing Mike Yaconelli speak for the first time.
I was there on my own and knew no one, but this bloke made it all worthwhile. He was a wild, passionate and crazy man who knew how to inspire. His death was a tragedy.
I was doing some Yac reading today and came across the YS statement of faith. Probably not standard issue stuff, but it made some good sense to me.
We believe in Jesus .
We know He’s part of the Trinity and all the other important stuff we also believe, but if we’re honest, we’re partial to Jesus. Don’t get us wrong. God is like a father—no, God IS the Father—and the buck stops with Him (if you’re going to have the buck stop somewhere it might as well stop with Someone who is…well…all about love with a capital L. Of course,He’s also about justice with a capital J, but we’ll take our chances that, in the end, justice will feel like love). And then there is the Holy Spirit—mysterious, windy, seems to like
fire a lot, whispering, and always pointing us to…you guessed it…Jesus.We not only like Jesus a lot,He likes us a lot. Enough to die for us.We know that when life gets tough (and it always does) He’ll be there for us.
We believe in the Church .
We know—it’s flawed, inconsistent, institutional, bureaucratic, even embarrassing sometimes. Yet it is also incredibly heroic at other times.Whether we like it or not, want to attend it or not, we’re stuck with it. There are a lot of para-church organizations out there that are a lot more glamorous at first glance, but
the Church is the Body of Christ, and that’s pretty glamorous too. The Church is not optional, it’s not up for discussion, it’s been around ever since Jesus, and it’s still here. That’s good enough for us.
We believe in the scandalous grace of God
Grace is outrageously unfair, ridiculously extravagant, and unashamedly the center of the gospel, and it sure beats judgmentalism, legalism, and all the other isms. Grace always gives second chances, third chances, and never stops giving chances. Grace has Jesus written all over it. Grace makes people nervous, because
they are always so worried someone is going to take advantage of it. But that’s what we like about grace. You can take advantage of it. But here’s the really interesting part—grace doesn’t just let everyone in. Anyone, yes, but not everyone. And the Grace of God frequently includes the unexpected. So…who’s in and
who’s not? Only God knows, and that’s fine with us.
We believe in the Bible.
We’re awed by it, inspired by it, and believe it is Truth.We’re also terrified of it.We don’t understand all of it, but we believe it. All of it. That’s the important part, because if you only believe some of it, if you try to edit out the parts you don’t like, then you don’t believe it. Of course, believing it all doesn’t mean we perfectly live it all. It doesn’t even mean we have it all figured out. Mostly we’re scared of it, scared in a good way, because whenever we read it and try to live by it, God shows up and that’s pretty terrifying…and also pretty amazing, and pretty… uh…assuring.
That’s kind of it. The “biggies.”
We know there’s other important stuff out there…actually, a lot of other stuff: theology, doctrine, homosexuality, abortion, war, the second coming, prophecy, music, discipleship, appearance, serving, worship, tattoos, dancing, drinking, traditions, smoking, language, baptism, moral issues and…well, like we
said, lots of stuff.
All that stuff is important, and certainly people should try to figure out what to believe about all those things, but that’s exactly the point.We believe that if the “biggies” are sorted out, then all the other stuff will eventually fall into place too. It might not fall into the same place as the brother or sister next to you, but that’s what makes the kingdom of God so interesting. Right?