Loving the Unlovely: Christian Conflicts With Israel

There ought to be things that still break our hearts. IF we consider ourselves to be in some relationship or acquaintanceship with God, then there definitely out to be things that still break our hearts in very tender ways.

I struggle to find the words of what I saw.

There are a people within Christianity who claim to love the Jews people, but they believe that something just like the last Holocaust is possible or even likely to happen again. These said people wish to do their part to protect God’s Chosen People. They believe a redeemed Israel will come out of the calamity, albeit a drastically reduced number.
Some times these people speak so factually it scares me to here their casualness.

But it got worse. …

I once heard a vehement Jew…maybe rabbi, I don’t remember right now…say something along the lines of, “Christians just want to use Jews to bring back their Christ! They don’t care about us!“. As if one religious culture could use or manipulate or sacrifice another. I hate how right he may have been. I could only imagine what he’s seen and heard. I know what I’ve seen and heard makes me sick to think about it, even as I search for the words.

These select group of Christians (fore mentioned) had a portion of them give a message/sermon which I heard about after the fact, although I was at the same camp…I skipped this particular “teacher”.  He spoke from Ezekiel 39:9-16, and he spoke words of mockery.

One of the other seminar attendee’s gladly recount the summary for me. The theory went something like this: after the Jews survive (barely) another world war, then they’ll see Christ and be humbled, then they’ll have to be on cleanup duty for seven months from all the Armageddon that just occurred, and they’ll become even more humbled. Then after that, maybe they’ll be truly reconciled with God.
My heart broke.

These are the Christians who claim to love Israel and love the Jew? What love is this, that delights in their being kept out of their own Holy City and having to do humiliating unclean work of peasants? While what..? The “Christians” get to hang out with the Messiah, partying because they’re so much more fit to be in the Holy City?
No. I do not hear the heart of God in this. No. I will not be with that crowd.

If that was the only way such scriptures could be read, then let me just say, I would set aside “party time” or “ruling and reigning with Christ” and I would go help the Jews with the disgusting, unclean work of picking up corpses and bones left rotting months after the most horrific battle of history.

These things should not be taken so light-heartedly.
Did this teacher even stop for two minutes to consider God’s heart on these things? Or how Christ works over and over again? How is that Christians can take verses like, “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” or “And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses“, but they are only for Christians?
How is it that there is still this idea that one must clean themselves up before God will accept them? How does one clean themselves up with God’s help?

In case you should become curious what is in Ezekiel 39:9-16 and what does it say… may I just offer another point of view? It’s not about Israel going through more disgrace and humbling. By this point in the eschatological story (end of times story), the remaining People of God have already beheld and meet their God in fullness. They are already a priestly people. Now God has put a new love in their hearts where they can’t stand the idea that something -even something defiling- would stand in the way of anyone coming up the Mount of God and meeting with the true God. Therefore, they’re so fervent, that they willing go out, work as hard as they can, for as long as they can, and they will clear the Traveler’s Valley, so anyone…absolutely anyone can come and meet with God.
They are not doing this to earn merit, but out of Love…the Love of God, which we only gain when we experience a personal encounter with God.

I don’t understand the words “I love you” or “love” itself when people hook with circumstantial requirements. Although maybe we all do. Maybe we’re a people who forgotten how to love other just because …just because there is some unmistakable beauty in the depths of another person’s soul, which our soul notices even before we see it or understand it ourselves.
Even if we fail at this… can we just, please, not put God’s name on it?

Can we just have enough respect for a being that would qualify as God to not try to make him into a tyrant or monster at every other turn? Can we just admit we want points for our deeds? Can we just stop putting other people down even though we find disappointment all around us? Can we have a little respect? Can we hope in beauty? Can we stop being mean to those who brought us here?

If we’re going to were the title Christian, could we just believe in the way Christ Jesus lived, and they things he taught? Could we just look at the scriptures without trying to find our own treasures, and just search for God’s heart instead?

Could we stop saying “I love you” just to make it easier to use people? Please… Please stop feeding your hate.

Can we wash one another’s feet just because Jesus called us to servanthood? Can we just act like the thing by which we identify ourselves as?

Something changes when you know God’s heart beyond the best doctrinal choices. When God doesn’t fit into our given options, we have a chance at expanding our world, our minds, and our hearts.

When Jesus had his infamous “angry moment” in the Temple, flipping tables and driving out the money changers… you need to understand the unspoken things that happened there. The context, if you will.  In those days, people sold potential sacrifices just outside the inner temple area, in an area known as the court of Gentiles. It was all the closer Gentiles were allowed to get towards the Holy God of Israel. Whether out of spite, commerce greed, or necessity of the day this area (the court of the Gentiles) had become so packed that barely anyone could walk around in it -because of the buying, selling, and trading taking place- let alone have a quiet moment to worship a still distant God.
So Jesus comes in see all this taking place and quotes the scripture, “My house will be called a house of prayer” …and the rest of the sentence is “for all nations”.

Hebraically, this is how you quote scriptures, in part. Because ever elementary age child learned the scriptures by heart. …or nearly. It’s iron sharping iron to quote part and have those around you quote the rest to you and still understand the greater picture of what’s being said. Kind of like we do with movie quotes nowadays.

So in this famous “angry moment” of Jesus at the Temple, we see God’s heart is broken in that Israel (and their religious system) isn’t taking seriously being the People of God and priestly to all nations. So I can only imagine if there comes a time when the Messiah shows up, and restores the fullness of all things, then these people too will see the truth about even this detail in the covenant.

When God shows up everything changes.

It would be absolutely impractical to have a half love for the Jew now, merely waiting for Jesus to come and rub their faces in it, and to think that will be enough to be a catalyst for their “full salvation”. It’s absurd!
If we want to make a difference in the darkest times, we must know God’s heart. We must know God’s heart beyond doctrinal correctness. We must not despise one we call our brother. We must see the beauty of what God is doing beyond our own selves and our reward.

Love is nothing if it is not lavish and strong to those who are weak and far off. And if our love is nothing, than so are we.

Advertisements

Not Superheroes, Just Friends

About a month and half ago, a friend of ours confessed he need to turn himself in for DUI. We prayed with him and have prayed for him since then.  A few weeks after that, another friend told us about his agonizing relapse, we listened, and he asked us to pray he’d get into detox. Maybe a month later, a different friend of ours found out his wife was cheating on him and planning to leave him. We were able to be with him that day, and spent the night keeping him company and being available.

We’re not miracle workers. We don’t change the world with our prayers. But we believe this is who we are meant to be. We believe this is what resurrection life looks like. We are thankful for those who will let us know when their life isn’t perfect and they need some support. Not everyone will tell us, not everyone will let us help or pray or sit with them and listen. Not everyone can trust, hope, or call out for help. We are thankful that God has made these friends strong enough to include us.

Somehow, I don’t think people imagine this as the good Christian life. We don’t evangelize (as its known to be), we don’t seal them with cliches, we don’t tell them everything will be okay. We just try to be available, try to pray, try to believe with them.
…and personally I can’t imagine much else to be the “Christian thing to do”.

We’ve never once stopped to think or accuse the devil. We’ve not yet become overwhelmed. Instead we thank God that these fine people have entrusted us with their tough situations. We thank God that we’ve been able to look into their faces, and hear it from them. We’ve thanked God that we are able to pray with/for them, and fully believe God will strength the weak hands and feeble knees. We know they need the prayers. We all do.

My husband and I are searching for a new place to live, and it’s frustrating. We haven’t found an open door, and we start to get a little put out with God. What does he want from us anyway? We’re trying! Then something happens… not to us but to whom we love …and we get quiet. We remember to be thankful. Although our current residence is limiting, and we’re ready to move forward, we are still a part of life. Life is not out there, somewhere, someday, instead…it is today. With all the bad and good and waiting, it still counts as life.

If I have to take a moment to remember this, to think about it, and to let the gratitude sink in, then I’m sure I’m not the only one.

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, addictions and cheaters, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

And this is why we believe that we are already part of the resurrection life. In life we feel pain, we share heartbreak, we hope in unseen circumstances, we fall and get up again, we sorrow, we rejoice, we try. WE do this together. We include one another in these adventures -which at times seem to lead nowhere- and we pray. We include God.

When saints pray for a common hope, I believe it’s like going to a concert with a beloved band on stage. It feels like everyone is singing along, the crowd is pressing forward, strangers become friends, there is strength in numbers. There’s also that one weird person who has to yell something like “marry me” or “I love you” to one of the band members…but that’s easily ignore or laughed away.
In a concert like this, people are sweaty, smelly, sometimes pushy, close and pressing closer. Some yell the whole song, some sing, yet we all seem to lose our voice by the end of the night. And we love it! It’s like a sign of hardwork well accomplished. Not only did the band get on stage and perform, but we were all a part of the concert tonight…and it was beautiful.

If you’ve never been to a concert like that, you’re missing out. If you’ve never lived a faith like that, then you’re missing it…missing everything.

One or two of these friends (from the previously stated stories), said to us something along the lines of, “I don’t deserve friends like you” to which my husband perfectly replied, “Everyone deserves friends like us.”

We’re not superheroes. But in real life, we are friends to real people. We love our friends. We are proud of our friends.Our prayers for them pour out more regularly than prayers for ourselves. We are thankful for those who have allowed us to journey with them. We know these aren’t just bad times, but these are times where God is working.  We press on, carrying the burdens of our friends. Hoping. Rising…one more time. We will try. Together we will walk through today.

If this isn’t what faith is suppose to look like, then God help us. It’s the best we’ve got thus far.

Form vs Function

If we were people who we really interested in living like Jesus, what would that look like?

“Blessed is he who takes no offense on account of me.”

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’  But wisdom is proved right by all her children.

Luke 7:33-35

Our piety does not surrender us to the humbleness of allowing ourselves to look like “a glutton and a drunkard”  instead we tend to be people who find our Godliness in fasting and prayer. But it’s amazing who Jesus often identifies himself with.

Many of us like a religion which permits us to be individuals who can learn, perceive, and enjoy God in a way of “personal experience”.  We like to conquer our ideals of God, moral, and doctrine without taking into account those around us. We find the nicest Jesus jeans in our preferred style, and we slip them on. We look good, and we feel confident. What could be better?

Form vs Function.

Jesus seems to have this crazy idea that the Laws of God are about helping people come into fullness. We perceive the Laws of God as borders. Instead of growing into fullness, we grow into the Laws of God. …or in modern day Christianity we grow into the acceptable practices of our local congregation or denomination.

In fitness, there’s a debate about form vs function. Many people workout to achieve a specific form and to look a certain way….but other than looks, it holds no purpose, and often holds no commitment.
Other people have hobbies or jobs that are physically demanding, and therefore they workout to stay at the top of their game: function.
Idealistically, it’s better to take up a new hobby which is going to keep you moving and preforming and working towards a specific function. …But realistically, most of us just want the looks aspect.

Jesus seems to believe the Laws of God are for function…not a form.
Jesus seems to believe that there is freedom in living according to the heart of God.

…Yet…we look for our “spiritual growth” in things that appear pious. We look for spiritual fervor in outward dedications and declarations. We believe that the “straight and narrow” is a toll road. We do not think of setting our sight on the things of God to be a widening view. But why?

Who told us what spirituality and maturity look like? Have we based these examples on the examples of Christ? Do we base our character on the words of Christ? Or do we find it more permissible to follow the example of the religious people next to us? Afterall…who can be like Christ…right?

Maybe the truth is, you simply can’t master the things of God by way of “OR”. Maybe we weren’t meant to complete our spiritual based on our own individual experience of God. Maybe God created us to be woven together; those who fast & pray along with those who drink and eat well.

Maybe God created the quiet to interweave with the chatty and those who laugh nervously at silent moments. Maybe God created those with clean hands to embrace those who struggle with addictions. Maybe… maybe we learn from one another, and the stories that each of us have to tell. Maybe we find God when we listen to the stories of the brethren and allow our hearts to beat a little faster, a little more achingly, a little harder when we hear these stories.

Maybe we were meant to meet with God face to face, instead of just having one representative tell us how it’s all suppose to be. But maybe we didn’t understand this God is different. But maybe there’s time…

Words We Use

There is something beyond words, that we use to express ourselves. Perhaps in the most extreme situations this is the truest. To be whittled down into mere words, is an insult, a handicap, a lost, a silencing.

 “All I have is words, to which I’m a slave
I scribble them down, hoping they’ll save me…but I’m lost
…I am so lost”

– Mae
“You leave me with nothing but words
So I’ll put them together, and hope that I’m heard”

– Listener

It’s said that after World War II was over and when we had discovered the unfathomable reality of the Nazi death camps, one of the first things that happened was (I believe the president at the time) had it recorded with film (photography and video) so that the evidence would always remain with us, and people wouldn’t be able to out-right deny it. Unfortunately, so shortly after these tragedies there has arisen people who have tried to deny it.
Those who recorded the horrors on film,  knew such evil would lie to say it never existed. How sad that it’d be so soon (let alone ever). Beyond words, testimonies, and books, we now also have film (photography and video), to remember & record these horrific truths at the very least, and hopefully remind us not to bow to evil. I am thankful for those who choose to remind us of truth.

We are a people who love deeply, who hurt deeply, who feel deep callings that are unexplainable and yet are every bit as real as the hunger for food. In life we come to times where words are a poor means of capturing a moment or explaining the severity or portraying a need.

So we draw. We strum. We build. We dig. We walk. We look…we find…we capture a moment. We write. We hold on….just a little longer.

We move from a place where we use words to define the depths of our current circumstances, and into a place where we define the words as the essence of this moment, this feeling, this point in history. Whether love, wounds, wonderment, hope, …the place where hope once was, or even the search thereof.

We create to explain this is how we have lived. It’s not only to record ourselves, but to connect…knowing we do not face things in this life alone. We are one; one of many. We need to connect our hearts together, and if all we’re given is words, then we’ll find a way to transform words into heartbeats, rhythms you know. Rhythms I’ve felt. This is the beauty of creating. This is the beauty of allowing words to come into fullness. When our word describe reality and life, not just mere promises or flirts, then we’ve connected to the deep things.

We each have a rhythm that is attuned to our hearts. We may each hear a different calling, but different callings can align in a singular direction, a singular connecting point, a common ground.

We get lost in our own heads, thoughts, singularities, anxieties, busyness, feebleness. But being lost is never too out of the way to connect to one another. To hope for someone else, that which they no longer have the strength to hope for themselves. We are meant to work together, to encourage one another, to balance and to shake one another. To remind each other we are not alone, and we not be the only ones who feel alone.

In our lives we create markers for those who might pass through this way. Warnings of what roads not to take, and directions to the places of hope and restoring. With our lives we build monuments of what can happen. We must share our lives and stories together. We must listen to the stories, lives, and footsteps of others. We must pray for good, even if we expect the worse.

Our listening must be an observance beyond words.

If we always wait for words to tell us, how a journey is going and fullness of that life’s experiences, then we will miss many things. We may even miss very important things. Instead we need to listen through loving observations as well. We need to participate in the lives of those whom we love, and the loves of those who God has entrusted to us. We must find the bold humbleness that allows us to draw together, strum together, build together, dig together, walk together, look together…find together…capture a moment together. Write together. Hold on …just little longer to one another. Because these are the things that Love unfolds in our lives: intertwined paths.

Beyond words, life exist. Beyond description, beauty unfolds. Beyond myself, many lives have fought the same battles I fight. A few won. Others, like me, still fight. I am not alone. I am not an untold story. I am not unnoticed.

I am one. A one who is part of many. I hope one day, my life will be much more than words on page. I hope my heart will be heard…and loved for its irregular beat. But today…I use words.

Dispelling Man Myths

Once upon time, I was told you can’t change modern Christiantiy if you’re not part of it. You can’t change church if you don’t attend the buildings. Luckily, I’m a skeptical person. I didn’t believe that then and I don’t believe it now. I very much live on the fringe, the outside, or the you’re-going-to-hell lane. I don’t mind, the air is good out here, and I can have all the truth I can forage for. It’s awesome!
Yet once in while I peek in to see how hints are things going. And of course, it’s always the same. No progress. No clue. No identity. Yet my most recent glance in this modern Christian culture still has me all twisted up inside. My spirit mourns like a death of loved one. My mind reels to imagine healing for this ridiculous offense.
Men. My dear men, are so lied to.

#1.  A man is a man. Period.

Dear men, you don’t need a woman or partner or a fling or a bed-warmer to be a man. A man is a man, and this has nothing to do with anyone else. No one can become a man by traits, looks, sexual identity, tendencies, strength, surgery, ect. Life is in the blood. XY makes you a man, and that will always be in your blood. And if it’s in your blood it’s in your spirit. Learning how to be you as another ambitious task, but this is a task everyone faces.

However if your identity is dependent on your interaction with others, there will come a time when that will bring you into question. There will come a time when you have to live with yourself, by yourself, and still be acceptable to yourself. I always find these are ugly, trying times, and they’re worth the refining which they are.

I read some big mouth Christian authors who want to say a man is suppose to  get married and have children, anyone else is abnormal. In case you don’t know, these authors are liars (If they weren’t previously, they are now.). There are good men who are single, happy, and Godly. There are good men who are divorced, childless, and still Godly. There are a hundred other combinations I’d rather not go through. These aren’t abnormal, outside the will of God, incomplete, nor are they “gifted” with singleness. They’re just good people who are living their lives, letting their stories unfold, and dealing with changes of life as they come. …and that’s freakin awesome!  The world needs good men.

#2. (Similar to one). Being a father, husband, leader, dictator, shepherd, teacher, ect. does not make you more of a man than before, it only makes you more responsible for the lives and outcome of others.  So it maybe wise to “man up” but other than that… The Bible tells us not to rush into becoming a teacher or a leader, because they will be judged twice as harshly as their “students”. (Did your church tell you that?)

Honestly, this is normal problem that does not require woman or children to be under you. As a matter of fact, in Christianity it is abnormal to be a leader according to top down strategies. Jesus was a big promoters of “the least of these” the “servant of all” and general servanthood. Take notes from Jesus, because this stuff is not only manly, it’s severely attractive.

You know those old myths about a gentleman holding a door for lady? Standing when a lady enters a room? Or offering your coat when a lady is cold? These were simple old school practices of treating a lady better than a servant, or making yourself to be the servant to elevate a woman’s good reputation. I.E. being a servant of all.

Luckily, nowadays we don’t really stand for anyone entering a room like dukes, lords, ladies, ect… It’s just not necessary, so it wouldn’t mean anything to repeat it for women. Actually, it’d probably be weird. Yet, there still the concept of doormen or greeters, and poorer people not having enough clothing, so there still meaning within these two old school practices.

Yet what we face is practices without meaning quickly become existent, therein that what they once stood for also becomes obsolete. Then we say things like, “chivalry is dead” “gentlemen don’t exist” “that’s old fashion”, and therefore further driving the point that to practices such things now would only be peculiar not debonair.

The way we interact shows our character, but it does not install character within us. You do not become more manly by takin on a higher role.

In reading the opinions of Christian authors, I cannot understand why being a man depends so vastly on woman being in your life and generally under your thumb. That’s not manly. That’s aggressive, abrasive, and avoidance of the real issues. If one cannot live with themselves, why should others be subjected to living under them?

A man is a man with or without a woman in his life. His choices make him into the person he choices to be. Manly, boyish, aggressive, subtle, playful, ect.

As people we work together to become a better version of ourselves. Yet at the end of the day, each of us must choose for ourselves who we have become up to this point and who we will become next. Choice. Decision. Intentions. These guides our paths.

#3. It is not your job to be the “bread winner” “bring home the bacon” or be “the provider” of your family, whether that be one person (yourself) or twenty. It is your job to use your resources (including talents and time) in the most effective means of stewardship and hospitality. I know, I’m stepping on toes here, but this is too off centered for me to leave alone. Here’s the problem with that…

Being a steward means knowing what you have is entrusted to you, but it will also be required of you to give an account for what you have done with it. We don’t hold too tightly and we don’t take the responsibility too lightly either. A good steward is gracious.

Hospitality means knowing your life, your circumstances, your choices do not effect only you, and therefore you intentionally engage others, usually through kindness and collaboration.  Somehow, there’s a modern belief that thinks hospitality means paying for someone’s meal, and I suppose it’s a start. But it’s hardly the whole definition, it’s hardly a skim of the meaning.

What I’m trying to say is money isn’t the point, and it never was. It disgust me how much the modern church system is into and obsessed with money. It’s so very Babylon. So un-Christ-like. So far removed from the things of God. …And then Christian authors are going to stand up and say this is what God requires of you!? Liars.

Many of us haven’t figured out what we would be willing to trade for money. What path to take. How to keep our souls and keep afloat at the same time. Many of us don’t want to be our parents. Many of see a problem with how greatness and wealth are currently obtained. Many of us have this pull, like there something more important than how you make money, how much, and for how long. There’s a reason why this has occurred in our generation. There’s something about it we can’t deny. It must be answered. I hope we can. I hope we do.

It maybe odd for me to write to men or about men and use the pronoun “we” but as far as I can read, half or more of being a man simply requires the knowledge of how to be a reasonable human, thus the “we”.  It’s amazing that when we hit some root issues, like being willing to be servant of all, like being willing to see ourselves as stewards, like realizing God has made us to be a certain somebody now, then it changes what we are capable of. Some things correct themselves when root issues are dealt with, but certainly all things have a better chance of making adequate progress.

Part of our problem is that we tend to add to the problem. Jesus argued with those who knew the word of God and were entrusted with it, because they “laid heavy burdens on the people” and did nothing to lift those burdens. But Jesus spoke of God providing a way that is straight (and narrow) and a burden that is light. Jesus regularly spoke on heart issues, root issues, original intent of God issues. Knowing this, I do not think I can be persuaded that many of the modern Christian authors are helping the people.

Treating the symptom is a sure-fire way to die from medication, that has created new symptoms and diseases. It’s a ridiculous cycle that needs to be broken. One cannot break it by repeating the same words as the last author. One must start with the heart and root issues. Because that’s what Jesus did.

To be a man is not something too glamorous for the commoner. It is obtainable. However, if I were you, I wouldn’t buy a book about it, unless that book is the Bible and you have a few good friends to discuss with. It’s crazy how far off-centered things have gotten.  It’s really not as bad as all that. Yet it’s bad enough for me to be a reminder.

God made man. Not the system, not the clothes, not the money… Just God and dirt. And you know what? It turned out okay. Let’s not get too glammed up. The original is beautiful.

Love: What Does It Do?

I’m losing my grip on the things everyone around me seems to believe is reality, and falling into a devasting black hole of desiring love to be true.

Living a life based upon an occupation, that merely pays the bills and then defining yourself by your job, holds no interest for me. Getting a big beautiful house with latest technology and comforts so that I can live in comfort, does not appeal to me. Moving to a place for better pay, better “opportunities”, or comfortable living, is losing its appeal quickly.

It’s crazy, I know.

One of my favorite quotes is: “The call of God is like the call of the sea; no one hears it, but the one who has the nature of the sea in him.”

Comforts of the world don’t call to me. At least not like they once did. Not like I might have imaged as brand new adult. Yes I’d like nicer place to live, I wouldn’t mind having more convent appliances in my house, and generally I have a list of things that could be great to have (or do) one day. But my thoughts and heart have been captured by the stories of people who think their life vain, their existence forgotten, their souls unseen, and yet in hearing the stories I hear Jesus. I see Jesus. I love them. But “how can I help?” is the ever begging question.

As I consider their plight, our hope, and perhaps our difficulties, I think of the words of Jesus. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor, then you will have treasure in heaven.” And it occurs to me, this verse is preached totally wrong. It isn’t about giving money to the poor, because you sold your possessions. It’s about getting rid of the things that are keeping you from giving yourself to those you consider “poor”. Your treasure in heaven is the brethren. It is the love of God you’ve taught your soul to wrap yourself in and identify yourself as. It’s being meek -that’s the treasure! Your treasure is beholding God.

If we don’t see God now, will we see him as God in heaven?

It always mystifies me how Jesus identifies himself, and who he identifies himself with. “The least of these my brethren”, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?”, “whoever welcomes one of these little ones, welcomes me”, “I am the Good shepherd, my sheep hear my voice”

And yet, in the church buildings they teach about Jesus riding the white horse, Jesus the prince of peace, Jesus the king of glory, Jesus the conquer. …But it isn’t how Jesus describes himself, and I’m worried that we’ll miss him, if we don’t know who we’re looking for.

Sure, God can essential wear many hats or be known by many names, but there is something quintessentially important about how God describes himself.   And that important for me to know. I think there is a key to living the Christian life that is found in understanding who God describes himself to be, and as Christians that should go doubly for who Christ Jesus identifies himself as or identifies himself with.

I worry that to miss this is to miss being a Christian, or maybe it’s just to miss out on sainthood. I don’t know. But is seems so pivitiol, so compelling, so counter-culture that I feel sure God has left this evidence on purpose.  That call to “love one another, even as I have loved you”, the call of “no greater love has any man, than this, that he should lay down his life for his friend” these things compel me beyond the surety of how I’ve seen my own forefathers live. It calls me to move beyond modern Chrisitiandom.

It calls me to question love. Not if love is safe, but is it real? Is it worth risking ones own welling being to change the lives of others? Because if it’s not worth that, what exactly is it worth?  I’m afraid I don’t understand.

How can the comforts of a couch and cable outweigh the strong call of love? Even at the price of tears, it still seems like a bargain to choose love. To risk love. To find out if what God has created us to be is enough when we come together. My reality says its sufficient to start, and that’s how the kingdom of God is built.

Does anyone else in Christianity believe this stuff anymore? Does anyone hear and reply to the call of God? Or has Jesus become or moral sprinkles on our happy life? I fear a people who don’t want to know the God they say they serve. Who don’t want to look into his face and love him. Who don’t want to come together to help. Who think the government will legislate morality, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, befriend the lonely.  I fear a people who don’t desire to do, because they so lavish themselves in “grace”.

The parable of the sheep and goats, scares the hell out of me, because the difference is so subtle that the people themselves didn’t know it. But it comes from the same man who said, “if you were children of Abraham (the father of faith) then you would act like it.”  It seems so easy. It seems so obvious. But are we paying attention? Are we willing? Or are we already so invested in the proper things, that we do not have time for extracurricular Jesus activities? But it’s not extracurricular, it’s essential core to life …a life of love. But are we a people who believe in the power of Love? …In our dark world?  Or do we only believe in love in our safe confines, and according to our modern day systems?

Can the love of God really change the world, just because Jesus believed in would? Does modern Christanity really believe in Jesus anymore? …Do we?

A Reply to the Living

To Write Love On Her Arms recently put up a controversial statement from a controversial man. It was not the statement itself that caused me to stop and mourn, it was the comments thereafter which I saw utter fruitlessness in.

Statements about those who “want” to die (sucide) will figure out a way to die regardless of access to a gun. Statements like modern “health care” includes “mental health” care.

When did needing new to be loved and cared for, needing to feel worth, fall under “mental health”? Are we now a people who believe so little in the spiritual matters that we don’t even consider ones soul? One’s fighting spirit? One’s natural need to be included in healthy community?  Are we so willing to hide ourselves from the concept of God that we sacrifice our children to prosperity?

Caring should never fall second place to any “solution” nor should one’s agenda be a guise for caring.  This is the most humiliating disgrace of believing that a system (whether government, church, non-profit, ect.) are the ones to “fix” things or to care for people everywhere as a whole. A system, a law, a program cannot replace a living being, a person, a caring friend.

What stops sucides are people. Not laws. Not difficult access to possibly deadly scenarios. Not cliches. Not a time-out rehab.

When we stop being people, death has already won. When we stop loving one another, isolation has already killed us. But we are not people who are dead; we are alive. We have opportunity to care, and therein we have opportunity to live as well.

I don’t want to save 2 out of 3 people. I want to love those who haven’t known the security of love. I want to befriend those who haven’t been established in the embrace of a tender home. It’s not about numbers. I don’t serve a God who looks for better statistics. I serve a God who knows each person by name.

I am not a number. I am not a satistic. And I will not treat others like they are.  This is real life not a number of a page in a story book. Reconsider responsibility.