Monday, April 28, 2008
Jesus was not a pacifist. The scripture is starkly bold “do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles…” (Matthew 5:39-41) This is not pacifism, nor is it violence. It is what Shane Claiborne refers to as the third way of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus stands without backing down to a slap to reveal the weakness of the other person who would slap the other cheek. Jesus disrobes all his earthly possessions for the weakness of hatred to be revealed in the heart of the one who would sue you into poverty. Jesus goes an extra mile to reveal the corruptness of the heart that would break even his own law in order to have control or power over you. This is not passivity and cowardice, nor is this the unrestrained arrogance of power based in control. What Jesus teaches and models is far more difficult, bold and courageous: He takes all of the force of the punch of hatred and withstands it in order to reveal the impurity of heart of the one who throws the punch because he knows only when the individual realizes their state of their own heart can it begin to change. No amount of force can trample out evil.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Seventy-seven dollars at the pump! You begin to wonder how many billion dollars have we spent in the name of freedom to decimate a country with bombs when the same money could have provided a home and income for every one of them for the same fifteen-year period. Ghandi and MLK modeled passive resistance: how only the change in a man's heart can change a country. Jesus never picked up a sword, but he changed the world with love and sacrifice. We are a country whose hippies are now the wealthiest generation the world has known and their lost ideals have turned into heartless capitalism and the alienation of the world. This may seem anti-American but my concern is less about patriotism and more about Christ-likeness. I have erased these sentiments so as not to be divisive but I wrestle with the silence. We have lost our way and are trying to combat radical Islam with bombs-did we learn nothing from the crusades? We hide behind our freedoms and wealth but we have lost our ideals because we have marginalized our beliefs. Would not love provide the shock and awe we are in need of?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I was asked, “Why in the world would we consider sending some of our people out to help start a church plant?” The answer is pretty simple really: "they're not our people" and "it's how we got started.” We can get pretty possessive and we try to monitor all the health metrics on attendance, giving, baptism and exchanges but at the end of the day, we want God's Kingdom to advance. Mission Church is a church plant in the Helotes area and Ryan Frazier is a friend who is going to be leading this prevailing church plant at O'Connor High School. Grace Point is on the front edge of church planting and we trust that by giving or sending more people will come to know Christ. We don't care who gets the credit and we trust that Grace Point won't wither away if many are sent to help start a new work. That's the secret: if you give it away, it comes back. It’s an upside-down kingdom.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I was caught in traffic the other day and saw some window stickers on the back of a truck. Behind the passenger side was the picture of a little boy kneeling at a cross. Behind the driver side was the picture of a screaming boy with the caption that said, “Life is short, party naked.” I am no longer surprised that in our world both of these sentiments are expressed and lived by the same people. We seem to have a two-tiered view of our lives. We love Jesus and yet we see no disconnect in living ways that are contrary to Him and His way. I recognize this in my own life and yet I still see it as problematic—a clear dissonance—but to the emerging culture these are not seen as conflicting or problematic, only that’s just the way it is. Our view of following Jesus has been mixed into our cultural norms and we have adapted Christ to us rather than conforming to His image and shaping the world around us. We kneel at the cross on one side and “party naked” on the other and it’s all portrayed as a composite whole. The confusion of what it means to follow Christ gives way to a confused message and a confounding lifestyle.