Monday, February 9, 2009

Window and Mirror

Welcome to Window and Mirror. For the readers of Bustle in Your Hedgerow, thanks for following. I hope there's some brand new voices out there too. Welcome. The aim for this new blog is to spark conversation and dialogue about God, faith, church and life and leave all that personal stuff and movie rants to Facebook.

Thus, we begin...

I recently heard the role of each Christian person, each Christian community and each Christian institution powerfully, beautifully and simply put. Dr. Robert Martin, Professor of Church Leadership at Saint Paul School of Theology, while teaching a course called Trinity, Incarnation and Ministry, proposed that the role of the individual Christian and the community of the church was to serve as a window and mirror: a window through which people see and know God's love, and a mirror in which they see God's love in themselves.

First, let's notice what is here. The window function has almost an iconic quality, in that the image itself is not the main focus but the truth the image points to. The icon points to God. We as Christians, in thought, speech, deed and very character, should point to God's love. Rudeness, maliciousness, hatred; these are things in our being and behavior that have been cited as the main reasons people leave or do not attend church: hypocrisy. But, living as a window of God's grace and love to the world, to all creation and to all people, we can radically change the way the secular world views modern mainline Christianity-a view that desperately needs to change.

The mirror function of the call is the one we Christians tend to screw up more often than we get right. We are to live as mirrors in which people can see God's love and grace and power and incarnation in themselves. The second we stare daggers at the young person in black and pink with chains around his/her neck and dark shadow painted under the eyes, the moment we tell our children that their lives will be fine if they don't "choose" to be homosexual, in those moments, those instants of judgement we may well FOREVER be telling that person that God doesn't love them completely and eternally just exactly the way they are. Our role is to participate with the Spirit in the revelation of God's amazing, embarrassing, transforming love for all humankind. And yes-God's grace is a free gift offered to every person, even if they're different than you.

Now, what's not there? Numbers. Agendas. Formulas. Growth projections and demographic studies and focus groups and business models. "Be a window and a mirror" is not a mission statement, it is not a tag line to print on t-shirts or a step-by-step guide to creating a more "effective" ministry. It is an idea, a calling, a purpose. A way of living one's life as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Because, when you think about it, that's what Jesus did. Not only did Jesus point the way to the Everlasting God (as he was God), he showed people God's presence and love within them. He made prophets out of prostitutes and to a mangy band of out-matched, out-gunned outcasts, God-through Jesus Christ the Son and Holy Spirit-transformed the world.

Live as a window and mirror-A window through which people know God's love and a mirror in which they see it in themselves.

A little more conversation, please.

Peace, B


  1. I actually talked about this last night in a worship service at my church. I believe that this is exactly the way that we should strive to live our lives, and those times when we do "stare daggers" at the young people, then we need someone else to show us that window function. We as a community need each other to do just this in whatever imperfect way we can. We can't do this intentionally, but we can live a life that is centered on God; then we can live an iconic life with each other.

  2. "it is not a tag line to print on t-shirts or a step-by-step guide to creating a more "effective" ministry. It is an idea, a calling, a purpose."

    That's some powerful stuff, and hits the nail right on the head. We spend too much time worrying about meeting some standard set for us, and not enough being authentic to our calling as Christians.

  3. How the "world views modern, mainline Christianity." I really don't care that much how the rest of the world views us Christians. What motivates me to be a mirror is to let them know that God loves them, no matter what. cb