My brother responded to a post I wrote and, on his blog, shared that he believed that a doctrine or teaching that is seen as irrelevant within the life of the church is love. You can read his blog here.
I have reflected at various times on what I also perceive to be a real lack of love within the life of the church. I have said before that because of consumerism and materialism we are in danger of treating our relationships the same way we treat our possessions. We get bored and move onto the next thing, the better version.
Church has also become a place of 'targets' and 'resources'. The target is to convert people and then turn them into resources to convert more targets. Rather than love being the greatest, our desire for success or results becomes the goal. So Tom's blog post really hit home when I read it and has continued to make me reflect and be challenged.
I then read, via Church Mouse, a post by Tall Skinny Kiwi about the emerging church and how some within the 'conservative evangelical' wing are keen to slate and mock it. Some preachers would rather spend their time telling everyone else how wrong they are rather than looking for ways to be a sign and signal of the love of God. An old post by iMonk also picks up on this a little when he is talking about the Bible and how your understanding of it, rather than your relationship with Jesus can be how some Christians define you and reject you. Rather than love being the greatest, it is knowledge to some.
Rev Sam picks up on this too in that some can see the Bible as divine, much in the same way the Koran is viewed.
And I think herein lies some of the problem at times. It is the knowledge and understanding of Scripture that becomes the most important thing to some Christians. The Bible is seen as the centre and focus of everything and how it is interpreted. We then have 'Bibliolatry', a worship of the Bible rather than the God of the Bible whereby to even ask questions of Scripture is seen as heresy and unforgivable. Love goes out of the window, although I'm not sure it was there to begin with. Yet all Scripture is there to point us to Jesus. That is what it is there for. And Jesus calls us to wash each others feet and love as He has loved us.
However, rather than looking for radical ways to love others, a war of words and knowledge ensues within the church. Yet I'm sure Paul warned about endless arguments...
Surely in church we are called first to love God and love each other. Everything hangs on this. When we seek to hang on knowledge or fear or words then we will fall and drag our communities down with us. Yet if we seek to love then these dry bones really can walk again.