This week I stumbled into this series quite unintentionally. Sometimes it's just good to scratch some stuff out and see what happens, I think. Today, the lovely and talented Sara Sophia pens her own thoughts on Pride, Love, and Judgment and links a great video to it to-boot. Check out her thoughts over at Deeper Story this morning and join in the conversation.
In essence, Jesus was saying, 'Do not worry about being of use to others; simply believe on Me.' In other words, pay attention to the Source, and out of you 'will flow rivers of living water.'--Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest.
'I determine to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified' just sounds so cliché. [But] when the point was done being made [Paul] made sure it got back to Jesus. --John Ray.
Transformative words if I could sit still long enough to listen.
We have been raised on a steady diet of op-ed commentary on reality religion.* We have been told that our opinions can "change the world," that we should contribute our voices to the elevated issue of the day. We've been taught that success is evidenced by documentary rights, book deals, or at least the ability to apologetically dominate a debate. But all my talking is making me hoarse, and the clamouring chatter of the "believers" is making me deaf. Too often, I miss the Christ in my "Christian Service."
"Pay attention to the source," says Ozzie.
Jesus was a radical, I'm pretty sure of that. But I don't remember him burning flags, bras, or abortion clinics. His message wasn't all gentle, but it was focused. He was love and mercy to those who needed it, a well-timed rebuke to the walking crypts of the religious establishment. He was a seeming contradiction, speaking both truth and mercy to the prostitute but standing silent before accusers.
"Know nothing among you but Christ," he says.
In these spaces where we have been so programmed to walk, how do we emulate Christ more fully? How does his life affect our grace, mercy, and love (and rebuke). How does it affect our work, our projects, our family life? How does it affect the way we "do" church, our social justice works, our missions movements?
It's about time for me to stop writing on this subject for a bit. To sit and listen. Again, irony runs thick here.
*As an aside, I think The Real Housewives of the Southern Baptist Convention would be a killer show.
Sometimes I fear infection from small cancers, the creeping kind. I read the tolerant Christians espouse tolerance. Cynically, they mock the abortion picketers, the Baptist preachers, and the Christian Coalition. But once the layers are peeled back none of that seems very peaceful or loving--two key virtues of the tolerant Christian I am told. I admit that I identify with this point of view all too often.
I read the orthodox espouse orthodoxy. Rigidly, they read mandates where there are none, create doctrinal constructs around singular verses, and equate Godliness with personal perfection (and perhaps political ideologies). I confess; I find myself here too.
It's these covert cares of the world that confound me, these camouflaged thorns that look so much like good religious thought or action. We may mean well when we tell our hippie friend that Jesus doesn't look like a Christian Coalition member, or when we claim that he certainly wouldn't be associated with a post-modern "emergent" movement, or when we inform those around us that they have spoken "curses" over themselves. But are meaning well and doing good the same thing?
Pride is a chameleon and kissing cousins with anger, I think.