Do they need admonishment? May I give it humbly, lovingly and boldly. Do they need encouragement? May I give it faithfully, fervently and fearlessly. Do they need help? May I give it gently, helpfully and empathetically
Like most of you (I presume) I sat aghast yesterday as I saw the scenes unfolding in Washington DC, and in particular, the scenes of rioters overtaking the US Capitol. As someone who is strangely as steeped in decades of US exceptionalism as the rest of you even though I didn’t grow up here, it was stark and troubling. We expect to see scenes like this on our screens from far flung places that don’t have the experience and “sophistication" of generations of democratic experience. It felt like a movie, a far-fetched one with really bad acting. And yet, it wasn’t a movie. It was a mirror.
Maybe Halloween gives us a true a glimpse of the spiritual death that lingers behind immaculate lawns and electric door min-vans? It isn’t just in October that my neighborhood is filled with skeletons. It’s year round. Oh God, please breathe. What I need, and what my neighbors need is the breath of the Spirit.
It is ridiculous when you see it so starkly portrayed. Imagine if Paul had let his confidence in who he was in Christ wax and wane with the public opinion about him? And yet, that is exactly what I am tempted to do, and what many of us struggle with as well. In our hyperconnected but very casually related world of relationships, many of us give permission to people who don’t know us well, don’t love us well, and don’t have insight into who we really are, determine so much of how we feel about ourselves. It is insane.
I have found it true, in my thirty years of walking with Jesus, that God and I have a different sense of time and urgency. When I want something to move quickly and with urgency, then that seems to be the exact season that God seems to slow things down and make me wait. When I want things to go slow, then that is when everything seems to come at me all once. The fact that God and I don’t have the same sense of time and urgency shouldn’t be surprising as God and I have very different perspectives and very different priorities.
College football is a cultural phenomenon in the US. What if we applied some of the principles of what it means to gather together with other fans to what it looks like for us to gather together with other believers?
Some Christians have extended the idea of total depravity morphing it into a form of utter depravity, staining even some good things in the world, things that can be celebrated and enjoyed, with sin’s brush of joylessness and brokenness. I have certainly been guilty of this, and it shows all too often in my countenance and approach to some of life’s simple pleasures and enjoyments.
We really can be guilty of a DIY christianity, not stopping to ask others for help and not admitting at any point that we need it, and the results we end up with are not unlike my unfinished fan. Our Christian lives might look good enough from the outside but they fail to deliver on the actual results that this journey with Jesus was designed to deliver on, that we would be more like Him.