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Monthly Archives: May 2012

To the CSC (the Christian Sub-culture)- A note from me

I wrote this a while ago, but it feels just as true- and as needed- today.  So here it is:

Here’s my (largely) unedited response to the election, the economy, the all-around “Oh no! What are we gonna do?” feeling I get from the CSC (Christian Sub Culture) these days.  I’d like to take out an ad, send a text, buy air time, whatever and say:

As a follower of Jesus, a brother in His family, I’d like to make a simple request.  Please, please, please…

KNOCK IT OFF!  Stop it with the hand-wringing and the doom-pronouncing and the maybe-we-should-run-for-cover mentality.  Stop it with the “our country is going straight to hell on a greased slide” theatrics.  Stop it with the “I guess we’re gonna have to wait to get another one of our own in there” silliness.

Last I checked, these realities had not changed:  God is still on His throne and Jesus is still calling the shots- being sovereign and all, He’s still in charge.  He’s still the King, and He’s our King, isn’t He?  No matter who’s in the state house, the White House, or any house.

God is still seeking after and saving people who are far from Him.  God is still advancing His plans and purposes for our world, our church, and your life, whether we can fully see and comprehend them or not.

And these truths are pretty big too:

Our hope as followers of Jesus is not- let me repeat – NOT- in who is elected, what laws get passed, or what the “balance of power” (what a silly term) is in Congress or any other legislative body.

I thought our hope was in Jesus Christ, the Savior, the present and coming King.  Was I wrong on that?

And historically, hasn’t Christianity grown and expanded far more when it wasn’t in a position of political power?  I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t vote or hold office- of course we should.  But I think we (evangelicals, specifically) have gotten pretty lazy.  I think we’ve come to believe that our culture will be rescued or at least held in check based on holding positions of political power and influence.  I think we’ve taken for granted cultural norms that lined up with a Judeo-Christian ethic and expected the lawmakers to support that stance.  We’ve expected the government to do our job for us.

But have we forgotten that no heart was ever changed by a law?  That no life was ever transformed from the inside out by a political process or by virtue of living in a democracy?

Don’t get me wrong, I love this country deeply.  I love standing in line to vote.  I love participating in dialogue about the democratic process.  I think Christians should be involved in the government, most certainly.  But I’m not expecting Washington to fix America.  Are you?

Isn’t Jesus what people need, not simply lower taxes, better national security and more affordable health care?  And aren’t we as followers of Jesus meant to be agents of change? In the gospels we find Jesus enlisting us as divine co-conspirators in a masterful plan to bring hope and peace and change… yes, I said it, change.  But in the most unlikely ways.  By loving and serving the least of these.  By incarnating the sacrificial love of Jesus as we speak out for those without a voice, advocate for those who most everyone else ignores, loving those our world would rather keep out of view.  By cultivating communities of such inclusive, sacrificial love that prove to be irresistible and ultimately redemptive.  By looking more like Jesus than by trying to be nice and hoping someone asks us for directions to heaven.

When we as Christians have been in positions of power and influence, did we really make our world a better place for others, or were we really just trying to make the world a more comfortable place for ourselves?

Were we advocating and working hard for justice and Jesus’ brand of righteousness, or were we instead trying to protect our own turf and expand our institutions? Were we more interested in growing our churches that in truly engaging and transforming the culture?  Did we become the biggest building in our neighborhood only to forget our neighbors?

So here’s what I’m thinking.  Maybe we need to remember to act like what Jesus described so vividly- salt and light.  It’s time for the salt to make contact again.  It’s time for the light to start shining in dark places, not just hang out with the other light, complaining that it’s so dark “out there”.  Maybe we need to reclaim our birthright- those crazy people who followed Jesus so much that they turned the whole world upside down.  That’s what I’m thinking.  And you know what?  I’m pretty excited about it.

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Where we need to be

Just read this quote from George McCloud, who was a Scottish soldier and clergyman, and a bit of a maverick in his day.  It’s so good I’m posting it:

“The cross must be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church.  I am claiming that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap, as a crossroads so cosmopolitan they had to write his title in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.  At the kind of place where cynics talk smut and thieves curse and soldiers gamble, because that is where he died and that is what he died about that is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen should be about.”

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

I talk too much

This is quite painful to admit, but a friend let me know about this recently.  He was subtle at first- “Wow, you’re really verbal!”  I didn’t get the hint- kind of saw it as a compliment, actually.  Finally he came out and said it, “I think you talk too much.” He was referring to meetings that we’re in together, but it’s not just meetings.  I talk a lot- especially for a guy.  I haven’t always been this way- I was a pretty quiet kid.  But in recent years, I have- apparently- become “very verbal”.  Receiving this has been painful- mostly I’ve felt defensive, until truth started sinking in.  Like the Bible.
As in James 1:20- “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”.  I’ve been practicing the quick to speak, slower to listen strategy.  Hmmm.

I’ve asked myself why I talk so much. Part of it is from a deep desire to connect- I really do want to know and to be known.  Talking a lot reveals that I’ve been working really hard to be known- kind of a “here’s who I am- please understand and accept me.”  I may not come across as insecure (or do I?) but it’s in there.  I talk to convince- to share my perspective and ideas and hope that others will agree.  I talk to get out what’s been rolling around in my head and heart- because of course it must be shared, right?  Maybe not. Or at least as much.

So the first step is awareness.  Check.  Next- to hold my tongue. That habit that will require serious retraining- and God’s help.  But I want to do more- to actually listen better.  To ask better questions and draw out others.  Not just less words on my part, but better ones- hopefully from a place of hearing, not just speaking.  Going public with this is one way to make this more real- even to me.  So here goes- ready, set, LISTEN.

 

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Uncategorized