Especially since school started, “caffeine and me” has been a long standing joke among the people I love (more on that in a later post). As a bit of a gag-gift, my dear neighbors gave me, “Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian” by John Fischer. I’ve been going through it sporadically (he has some really honest insights into the Christian community), but nothing has perked my ears like what I read today.
You may recall, a few weeks ago I asked, “Why does there seem to be such a disconnect between the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment among evangelicals?”. Mr. Fischer makes the same observation but offers an explanation. Warning: It’s not a flattering one.
There are two principles that have traditionally been labeled in Christianity as “greats.” One is the great commission about sharing the goodness of Christ’s triumph over sin and death with every creature; the other is the great commandment, in which Jesus summoned up all the law and the prophets by telling us to love God and our neighbor as we love ourselves. Of these two, the commandment far outweighs the commission. I know what it is to carry out the commission without bothering with the command. We preached to strangers we didn’t love and walked away feeling like martyrs, when all along we were just being obnoxious. To love someone, regardless of that person’s religious affiliation, is to be vulnerable and open to the possibility that together we can come to know Christ’s love and forgiveness in spite of ourselves. This is when both of these mandates get carried out in spite of us. Or think of it this way: one can carry out the commission without a thought for the commandment and end up losing an opportunity for both. But to carry out the commandment all but assures the commission will be carried out as well, since telling people about the love and forgiveness of God is a big part of loving them as we love ourselves.
Fischer, John. Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian P. 76-77.