Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
For starters, I am just amazed at why anyone would want to be involved with Jesus unless you were convinced that what Jesus said, Jesus taught and Jesus did was the truth. I cannot understand why someone wants to be involved with Jesus if they don’t either intend to believe and emulate Jesus or at least encourage, assist and applaud those who do. Taking the Christian label and then acting like Jesus was someone from whom we should never take advice or example is incomprehensible.
Now I’m not talking about who to vote for in November. I’m basically talking about the fact that if a person follows Jesus at all there is going to be some sacrifice involved. Economic sacrifice. Sacrifice of security. Sacrifice of certainty. If someone wants Jesus without the call to discipleship that means they either a) give up making a lot of money or b) give away your money? Fine, but that’s another Jesus.
Don’t look at me and say that the responsible thing for me to do is follow Jesus, but get in a situation where I can make lots of money. Don’t talk to me about ministry as the big church with the big salary and the big house and the big retirement. I don’t have it. I don’t have anything bad to say about those who do. They stand or fall before God on their own. I just know that Jesus took me out of that career track and put me out here in poverty where he could demonstrate his faithfulness, because I’m going to have to put all my bets on that faithfulness.
Jesus didn’t give me any choices about some things. He simply said “There’s your place, and I’ll take care of you.” I’m not a person who takes that to mean I can’t save money or have a retirement plan, but I do take it to mean that following Jesus dominates the decision of where I am, what I do, and what kind of resources I have.
What I don’t have to do in my ministry is constantly delete sections of the teaching of Jesus and of the New Testament from my Bible. I may not fulfill it, but I can read it and know it’s the real deal in my life. However it’s going to work out, I can say that as much as one can do in America, I’ve come a couple of miles down the long road of following Jesus in the area of money, security and possessions. Not anywhere close to as far as millions of other Christians around the world go every day, but far enough that it scares me, and far enough that when Jesus says he’ll take care of me, I don’t really have a plan B.
I say all this because a recent sojourn into suburbia has reminded me that if one wants to come face to face with the demands and the promises of Jesus, there are just some places you can’t go. Jesus is still the “sponsor,” but the economics, politics, and security of the Kingdom of God are taking a beating over there. Stay very long, and it gets into your head and starts pulling alarms that you’ve actually wasted your life by not having the American Dream.
I’m not in anyone’s face over this, but I don’t get Jesus AND the American Dream. Some people do. Great. I don’t.
The test for me isn’t what the average Christian is doing. It’s what the average Christian has to say about the person who is trying to do it.
I used to get paid by large churches to tell their kids all about Jesus, get them into Bible studies and take them on mission trips- which I choose to be in the inner cities of Chicago and Boston, not the beach. The basic assignment was actually to keep these kids out of drugs, jail and pregnancy so they could go to college, make lots of money and pursue the lifestyles of rich Americans while attending large prosperous mega churches.
I figured this out early on, but I kept telling myself it wasn’t the case. I thought that if one of those kids becomes a serious Jesus revolutionary, going among the poor, giving up the suburban lifestyle, my churches would have applauded.
Then, a few years ago, a church kid from Minnesota came to talk to me. She’d been out of college for a few years, had come to Appalachia to teach English, then taught and coached at our school for a while, after which she took off for Africa for a couple of years. She brought me a letter from her parents where they told her what they thought about her life.
Note: These parents were card carrying suburban American Christians in church. “Nice sermon, pastor.” “Oh the music was lovely today.” “We so enjoyed the youth leading worship today.” All that.
In this letter, the parents honestly said what they thought of this girl. They thought she was nuts. The called all the ministries she worked for abusive, slave labor operations. They begged her to come home, take her college degree into the city and make some money, get a house in the suburbs and find a husband with wealth and security.
And there were good churches up there, too. Churches where she could do whatever it was she was doing.
Hey, I understand what parents go through. I feel their pain. I really do. But that letter told me, once and for all, that I had been right all those years ago, and I’m still on target today when I feel this way. Suburban Christianity is frequently not about an honest following of Jesus. It’s about an edited, reworked Jesus who blesses the American way of life and our definition of normal and happy.
It’s Jesus the sponsor of our beautiful church. It’s Jesus the bus driver of the ticket to heaven. It’s Jesus the guy who wants us to be nice to children. It’s Jesus who presides over all kinds of niceness.
Hey….I can get that from Tony Robbins or Oprah. I don’t need to dilute the demanding, revolutionary promises of Jesus into the suburban American Dream. I can get that life from someone who makes no more demands on me than buying a book.
Churches in suburbia can do so much good for the Kingdom, but when I have to come face to face with a version of Christianity that puts Christ in his place and baptizes all the values of the empire, it makes me angry. It discourages me about what all those nice people are thinking in those beautiful buildings. I know a lot of them send a lot of money to ministries like ours, but if we don’t really believe Jesus is the one for whom we sell it all to buy the pearl of great price, what’s the point?
I also know my own answer. Learn to know the virtues of relative poverty. Learn to see poverty as Jesus and the saints saw it. Keep real poor people in view. Keep real poor churches in mind. Don’t listen to the broadcasted, published propaganda of the suburban Jesus. Read the sermon on the mount. Remember that Jesus is a true revolutionary, and those who want Jesus but reject the revolution always have a nice slide show and plenty of facts and figures.
Remember that to those who are ignoring the game, or eating in the parking lot, or dozing in the sky boxes, the game on the field is just a game. To the players on the field, it’s blood, desperation, hope and perseverance.
So if you’re within earshot of the suburban Jesus and his invitation to have your cake and eat it to, walk away. Walk away with humility, but be decisive and walk away.
Jesus never gave his disciples a lesson on how to explain it all to their families, friends and communities. He just told them that the reaction wouldn’t be positive. And he was right. His own family came to take him home when things got tough (Mark 3) and they tried to kill him in his own home town.
Christian had to leave the City of Destruction with his fingers in his ears, you know.
So yes. Whatcha think?
I like him.
Surprising I know.
I don't know this isn't a popular way of thinking though...
Aren't you boys out there glad I'm not your girlfriend? lol
Seriously though--you have to admit...he has a point.
Maybe Jesus had a point too....
Monday, February 23, 2009
The churning in stomach, the aching in your heart, the longing in your soul?
When the deepest parts of you are crying out for something more?
I need words
As wide as sky
I guess that's how I've felt lately. On and off--things of fleeting value will for a moment catch my attention and distract me for a second--but then it's back again gnawing and gnawing...
I need language wide as
This longing inside
It's a rather obnoxious thing--let me tell you.
Unless you do what the voice in your head is telling you to do--it won't stop.
Unless you say what it whispers in your ear to say--for lack of a better term it won't shut up.
And I need a voice
Bigger than mine
I don't care how much you fight it, I don't care how much you squirm and fight it.
It's completely pointless.
It's late and I'm tired but sleep won't come to me--and so I'm writing again.
And I need a song to sing you
That I've yet to find
I'm just tired. Weary more like.
I'm tired of having passions and dreams. I'm tired of the knowledge that I'm made for big things.
Normally I like it, mind you. Normally I do. Honestly.
Something Naeem said a couple Sundays ago keeps buzzing in my ear--it's very obnoxious.
He said something along the lines that--the church needs you because you have a unique passions and dreams, you have had a conversation with God that none of us has. ect. He went on for a while--and it was really good. Stephen kind of threw me a look and a smirk because unfortunately for him, he's often on the receiving end of my tangents and tirades.
Honestly it's kind of funny--pastors son and idealistic girl thrown into a relationship that already has more than it's share of *cough* yes. Anyways, but it always leads to interesting conversation and discussion, and I think we help to balance each other out. He helps balance my passion and idealism and I help him see that the institutionalized church isn't the end all be all. =P Or at least that's what I think happens....
God's given me a some what unique view of the world, of people, and of the Church. Can I be to forward about it? Sure. I'm not perfect. *gasps from the audience* [that was sarcasm, just fyi]
Does that mean I shouldn't say anything though? Does that mean I should sit back and wait until apparently things like age and life temper out my passion and leave me a shell of myself? Saying less controversial things and all together just keeping everyone happy and making one feel good about how we live life here?
See kids I don't know if this is going to work--I don't know if I'll get in.
Honestly if you know me I hate going out on limbs where I could very well get rejected and fail.
I didn't want to apply, I mean I did--but then I didn't.
But I did errr am--and I could very well not get in.
But I'm doing this because of faith.
If this is what God wants, if this is where he wants me to be--then you know what I'm going to be there. If not then I'm not.
But I can't sit here and do nothing. As much as I might like to.
Anyways some massive post is coming up soon on an article I re-read just recently.
You don't have to read it unless you want to though
Monday, February 16, 2009
Ok so Passion Twenty Ten launched *shouts and applause// I watched all of it except the last song because I had to do the dishes--but it was amazing. I watch it "with" Lauren and we both were way to excited and happy about it--but that's ok, it's allowed. =P
I think we got in too...I think.
1000 people registered in 3 minutes. Dangggg, oh snap. But yeah. Craziness.
Francis is amazing.
Even Francis Has a Bad Day. --most recent sermon is amazing.
Want to come to Simi with me?
Alsooooo tonight? I'm soooo excited. =D
[I decided to act really inmature above just so you know it was a conscious decision.]
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
"This is why by the way I think for so many of us--the only emotions that we actually believe are authentic are the ones that come out of our brokenness--because...Real despair is a more genuine profound human emotion than false hope. See real loneliness and isolation; the authenticity of that human experience is more profoundly authentic than superficial love."
"Joy has no hope--because as a human emotion, despair, our sense of being overwhelmed, depression, angst, nihilism; it is a more profound and more significant and more experienced human emotion than...joy. And what happens is this language of love and hope and joy and hope and pleasure and enjoyment and forgiveness and peace--it feels as if it is the language of the superficial. But let me tell you something--hate is not a more profound emotion than love. It is just that hate is easy to get to than love. Love, is deeper more profound. Joy is not a superficial emotion, it's just that despair is an easier emotion for us to get to. Joy is a deeper more profound emotion--but you can't get there alone. Bitterness is not a more profound human experience than forgiveness. Forgiveness is a deeper more profound emotion than bitterness--but you can't really get there alone.
See these deepest most beautiful emotions--you can't get there without God. So when we try to go to an authentic place without God we find ourselves trapped in our darkest places. And when we compare those experiences to with the superficial of course it seems to be mundane and meaningless. But is it be possible that there is a life you are created to live with--joy and hope and forgiveness and mercy and compassion and love and yeah maybe even pleasure and enjoyment are the most authentic experiences."
And that's all I'm going to say right now.
Monday, February 9, 2009
....After I go out and do it that is. Most of the time it's just a matter of "doing" it for me. Much of the time *coughmostcough* I lack the motivation to actually get out there and do it.
Also I hate my throat and lungs burning--so that doesn't really help encouraging me to get out there either.
But anyways I did go and do it tonight. It was in essence--incredible out.
I put my computer on standby-- put on athletic shorts, a tank top, socks, shoes, and slipped out the front door. As I stepped out the front door, cool clean beautiful fresh air wrapped itself around me in a inviting embrace. And I just ran
Until my lungs burned and my throat was dry [which sadly didn't take long at all]. I'm rediculously out of shape. But it felt good regardless.
After that I walked for another twenty minutes listening to music and periodically acting like a crazy person because I love God so much and he and I were in conversation.
While we were talking it occured to me.
The more we know and understand the more responsible we are, right? The more we learn about what God wants--the more responsible we are to live that right?
Have you ever thought of this? [I never had in this way]...
The more we understand and grasp God's love for us--the more He reveals it to us--the more responsible we are to show off His love to others.
Novel idea isn't it?
It was for me--the more I talk about love, the more I understand it; just means all the more responsible I am to love others.
It's so easy to talk--rhetoric is fairly easy to learn. Living...slightly more difficult.
Yesterday I went to CW for the first time in like...along time. Alise asked me to so yeah-- I missed the girls from the fours...although...they aren't four anymore. They are my buddies though. =) And I love hanging out with the J's. =)
And I played Frisbee--and there were masses of people.
It was like a complete old school day, except for a few...minor differences. Actually major ones--but whatever.
I missed Mosaic though--alot more than I thought I would.
If I were to say I'm not a reading person--but then I talk about books all the time and rave about how amazing they are--I wonder what that means. =P I'm sorry it's just my overactive head.
Just don't say say you're not something it's painfully obvious that you are. lol //sigh//
In other newssss
I took my first lecture test today -_-...
We'll see how that goes...
It's beautifulness. I'm going to go take a walk =)
and it will just be like old times
when I was like...young. =P
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
My mom took my brother sledding at night. She's awesome like that. =P
I'm rediculously tireddddd.
I love snow.
I have nothing of substance to say I don't think though...
Sunday was amazingggg
Loved the message, seriously.
But I'm to tired to write, and it's late.
Also--I missed the easiest stupid question on my bio lab quiz today. I was very ticked off at myself. bleh.