David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
March 12, 2007

I had hoped that this week’s article would be a reflection on the life and contributions of John Baugh. To be honest, though, I want some additional time to make sure that what I write about Mr. Baugh reflects exactly what I want to say about this incredible man.

He was one of the most amazing individuals I have ever met, and I didn’t meet him until he was 70 years old. He accomplished so many things in his long life, and what he did in just the last 20 years was more than I could hope to do in a lifetime.

So I will try to have my thoughts ready to post next week.

This week, I want to reflect a moment on the sermon that I heard preached Sunday, by my friend Dan Yeary, at North Phoenix Baptist Church. Dan is preaching a series of sermons focusing on how a true disciple of Christ focuses on Christ in every area of one’s life, putting Jesus at the very center.

On Sunday, he preached on how we are called to love like Christ loves us. He made several wonderful points and used some great illustrations. What stands out in my memory of the sermon, however, is how seeking to love like Christ “stretches” us. Dan said, “Love is stretching,” quoting Dr. McGorman, our old seminary professor.

Dan said that God does not give us any options on who we love. If we are obedient to His word, we will love everybody. There is no sin that puts anyone beyond the love of God.

I have long understood that Christ’s commandments that we love God and our neighbor do not leave any wiggle room for the Christian. I am called to love others who have different values than I have, including both secular and religious values. Thus, Fundamentalists are not outside my circle of those whom I should love. That stretches me!


I don’t like what the Fundamentalist movement has done in Baptist life. I don’t like seeing so many lives hurt by Fundamentalism. I don’t like knowing that many people—when they hear the word “Baptist” today—think of a group of mean and uncaring people who are determined to use the power of government to force others to live and think as prominent Baptists think they should.

Yet I am called to “stretch” myself by loving these Baptist leaders with whom I disagree so strongly.

For me, love is unconditional. It means that we accept others totally. Mind you, I’m not saying that love means approving unconditionally of others’ words and deeds. I know persons who love
me yet certainly don’t approve of everything I say and do.

Too, love doesn’t mean that we do not have disagreements—after all, Paul had disagreements with Peter and others, and Jesus had disagreements with the religious leaders of His day, yet we know that He still loved them.

Love doesn’t mean that we let others destroy things in the name of God without resisting those unloving deeds. It does mean that we resist them without seeking to make them our enemies.

Love stretches me, and I’m still trying to understand how to love others like God loves me and them. I hope that I will never stop learning and growing, and I thank Dan for stimulating me to think about how to obey God’s command to love unconditionally and how to live that out in a world where people do bad things and where bad things do happen. Finally, I hope that what I have written “stretches” you to think on these things as well.