Living in the Tension will Help us Influence

I am blogging from Atlanta, Georgia at the Catalyst 2014 Conference. I have been asked to serve as a part of the Blogger Team at Catalyst!

Reggie Joiner is sharing in the opening session of the LABS day.

If we only have so many years left, what do I want to invest my time in? Reggie shared about having two of his daughters get married in last few months which caused him to reflect on what is important.

What he wants his kids to know:
– You can know God
– Understand what it means to become a Christian in a moment
– Bible is all true
– Trust leads to stronger faith
– You should enjoy going to church
– Your beliefs matter
– God has an ideal for your life. The closer you move towards this the sweeter your life will be.
– God is Good

It is these things he desires his daughters to take with them.

Just because these are true ,does not mean they will be embraced. How we handle these truths can determine if our kids or people we work with will own them.


Reggie went on to tell stories of how each one of these truths have been misused. Often it is when well-meaning church members mis-handle these truths and end up driving people away from the church, not towards it.

We’ve been told things like “Just believe”, “Trust”, or “Don’t ask too many questions” These people who are told this walk away.

5 years ago 17% of 18-30 yr olds doubted God exists, today it is up to 32%.
8 out of 10 believe going to church is not important.

65% say they are not religious.

We can dilute these truths by the way we present it.

Sometimes in our zeal to fight for what is true, we don’t fight for the tensions that actually connect those truths to what is real.

Does the mercy of God water down justice or amplify it?

A truth can lose clarity when it’s divorced from the reality of the other truths which keep it in tension.

Tension does not make a truth less true, it makes it more real.

The challenge is to live in the tension. We must hold on to two things at once sometimes. If we don’t embrace this, those who follow will start to doubt.

Reggie added the following corresponding tension to each of his opening statements.

Knowing God.  He is a mystery. We must not marginalize people because they do not believe exactly the way we do. We do not know everything about God.

You can be a Christian in a moment. It will take you forever to figure out what that means.

Bible is all true. Everything that is True about life is not in the Bible. This is why we learn from those outside the church as well as within it. We should draw a distinction between “non-Biblical” and “anti-Biblical”.

You should enjoy going to church. You should also enjoy living in the world. Life on the planet is meant to be enjoyed. The message of Ecclesiastes trumpets this.

Your beliefs matter. People matter more.

God has an ideal for your life. God uses broken people. Our failures are not fatal.

God is Good. This should drive us to do good. 

If you don’t say yes to the tension, our kids could grow up to be “that Christian”.

We cannot emphasize one side of the tension or the other. We must embrace both. We are called to live in the tension to influence.


Reggie’s opening session was great. In talking about grace at NoSuperHeroes, we have to deal with the tension between grace and works, mercy and justice, and God’s part and Our Part. This session is one which needs to be meditated on. The implications are far-reaching. This is a needed message in the church.

To read more from Reggie, be sure to pick up his book: [amazon_link id=”0985411694″ target=”_blank” ]Playing for Keeps/Losing Your Marbles[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”1434764818″ target=”_blank” ]Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community (The Orange Series)[/amazon_link]



For more about the Catalyst Conference go to