My heart is breaking for the anger, fear, bickering, pride and hatred that is spewed every day. Many of my generation have lost their way (under 40’s too but it’s to my generation over 45’s I implore) If I was Peter Pan I would say, “You’ve forgotten how to fly.” The term “grumpy old man/ women” comes from somewhere, doesn’ it? We use the term “snarly” in our home when Dave gets that overworked, tired, face twitching tension and tone of voice. Me, well, that’s for another day…
There’s been a whole lot of snarly the last year. (Especially social media. So much so I can’t even go on anymore. )
Obviously, I know how this happened. I’ve lived it too. It looks like this: (And please remember, the following is not what I believe the Way to be but an example of what white, evangelicalism now is).
We have lived out the “truth” of our own gospel (within American culture) for so long we no longer remember what it was like to have a zealous love for questions. There’s no excitement about navigating the path spiritual growth. We don’t need a journey of Knowing. We know it all already and can spew scriptures to prove it. We’re unable to hold two opposing views in our two feeble hands and we can’t image a third option – a place in the middle – a balance, an equalizing place, a grace-filled place. A place for discussion, sacred listening, and meditation. It’s either or, right or wrong, black or white, republican or democrat, “believer or unbeliever,” legal or illegal, resident or alien, “Christian” or “other.”
… we have a GPS that’s infallible.
Culture does not impact our biblical interpretations. We are on the narrow path and our interpretations are correct, others are swinging way too wide and caving into the culture.
We are in a post-modern, post-Christian, ant-Christ, persecuted time and we need to be careful not to be led astray by doctrines of demons, dogmas of secularism, or the terrorism of the “other.” We need to fight for the solidly Western “Christian” heritage that was exemplified by our forefathers.
The ones who not only owned slaves but raped and bore children by them? We romanticize it by calling them “mistresses.” They were Theists, pluralists, and held to doctrines far broader than The Shack Movie which is now being criticized as heresy. But if it fits our ideologies of a Christian nation worth defending against at all costs then so be it.
Oh stop it, you’re just scaring everyone. The Good News is not about apocalypse but redemption. There are more than 12 people sitting next to Jesus and they aren’t conservatives or liberals or moderates. They aren’t even “Christians.” They are disciples of The Way. Titles aren’t the way in, Jesus is.
Why would anyone want to follow a message handed out in such angry, bitter, contention? They would rather fly without a compass then be led into the abyss.
Much of the next generation is too educated to buy into the lies they’ve been fed. I’m so thankful my children grew up and gently exemplified the Jesus who I read about in the Bible as a child. The one I actually knew before I was led astray by sin… and some bible teachers who claimed to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Amen.
I love the younger generation because they have taught me about…
The Jesus who cares more about the lives of others than Himself.
The One who brought the lowest members of society into the middle of his presence…
… children, women, Samaritans, lepers, and the infirm and gave them a place of prominence.
The Jesus who wasn’t preoccupied with politics and policy but justice and mercy.
The refugee Jesus, the outcast Jesus, the counselor Jesus, the friend Jesus, the guy who hung around tax collectors, prostitutes, and crooks, the vulnerable Jesus, who opened his arms wide to be shamefully crucified – modeling how we should live.
We posture as if we are more worried about protecting our lives than how we actually live – self-preservation, prosperity, safety, individualism is more important than the desire to stand before God and know he doesn’t only see the righteousness of Christ in us (the only righteousness we have – for by grace you are saved ) but also witnessed us live our lives out as followers of The Way – here, now, every minute of every day as living testimonies of great Love.
We hold a lot of fear. Fear of the future, fear of not measuring up, fear of inadequacy, fear of surrender, fear of being genuine, fear of aging, fear of losing out. For women, we hide behind hair color, make-up, lying about age, and (for some) facelifts, tucks, botox and enlargements. It’s all to look, act, and be the way we think we should before society. We conform to the culture.
But we are to live in the way Jesus did. That’s the way of love. The way of forgiving our enemies. The way of sacrifice. We are to live as examples of restorative, redemptive, liberating, communal peace for everything who breathes because all of humanity bears the image of God.
That’s a life lived without masks, pretenses, or safeguards. It’s a life of make-up or none, gray hair or green but it’s a life that doesn’t compel us to hide behind dangerous surgeries to protect our images or geographical border walls to protect our lives.
It’s youthfulness born out of reckless abandonment and lived out by risky faith; it’s trust forged in the power of imperfection which rests in an unknown future that is held by a very Known God.
It’s the faith of the young who lean into their future instead of grabbing for the past. It is the faith of the child. The faith we must possess.
There is more to following Jesus than believing, or trust, or even faith. To know God is to follow him even when the stakes are high.
It’s following Him to stakes in our wrists and ankles. I think a lof of the younger generation has figured this out.
I’m glad. I’ll just sit here in the middle for a while and listen. I happen to know an Essence of Three that provides a pretty good place to hang out.