It is not in me to be satisfied with the status quo. It never has. You know, the whole sit down, be quiet, listen, be a good boy, etc. I will admit that some of my choices in the past have been quite rebellious and pretentious, but my current shifts in thinking are not derived in rebellion. Instead, they come from a deep, unsettled sense that following Jesus must look different than what we are used to.
I have come to understand the difficulty in figuring this out because all of us are prone to only see reality after filtering it through what we already know. It is hard to link our reality to the reality and culture Jesus faced 2000 years ago. Things are different. Technology, travel, money, clothing, the things we know and see, and the way we spend our time, all make our lives and thought processes different from those of people in the days of Jesus.
So what to make of this dichotomy? How can we effectively link today with then? What does following the Way of Jesus really look and feel like? Are we even close? These questions and others plague my mind. I can’t just accept that coming to church, giving a tithe, throwing up some prayers, and reading my Bible periodically is all there is to following this radical Rabbi from Nazareth. Just read the Gospels!
Is it enough to just believe the right set of facts? Is it enough to accept at face value all that “Evangelical Christianity” has to offer? Are we missing something? I don’t mean to imply that there is more than one way to heaven, or anything of the sort. What I am asking is, is there more to following Jesus than what we typically see in Christianity today? If so, what is it? Why are we not more concerned for the homeless? Why are we not more concerned for the prostitute, drug-addict, debt-laden, lonely, and forgotten? How can we sit in the comfort of our “Christianity” and not be blown out of our self-absorbed “services” while being thrust into some kind of real, making-a-difference action in the world at large?
I would love nothing more than to be able to ignore these gnawing questions in my mind, but I can’t. I would like to be able to gather with a group of people and sing happy songs while we pat each other on the back for making such an effort to “come out and worship”. This would be much easier for me to process. After all, it is what I am used to in the past. However, I can’t read the Bible and continue to stay the same. So with that, I am on a mission to find ways to connect in my community and make a difference. Instead of focusing on a “come and join us” mentality, I will try to reorient my thinking to a “go and join them” mentality. Oh, I’m sure that will get some raised eyebrows with that thought!
I need help with this. I need real and authentic answers. How can we really begin to get out there, without an agenda, and live out the life that Christ sacrificed for us? How can we really incarnate the life and message of Jesus in a way that makes a tangible difference in peoples lives today? After all, isn’t Jesus more than just a hope for a future destination? Isn’t He interested in our lives and world today?
I will let that dangle to see where a conversation may go…help me out there!!