Been thinking about what all this thing is about...
What is church about? What is Christianity about? Is Christianity about the same stuff Christ is? Yeah, you might think I should have some of these answers, and I thought I did, but I am feeling a bit insecure right now, a bit challenged. I thought I knew more answers, the boundaries gave me a nice, safe yard in which to run and play, but now I am wondering if there is something beyond the wire gate that I need to see...
This is a pluralistic society. I work, live, and shop with people who worship a higher being as Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindi, and Buddhist. I cry, laugh and love with people who desire to create their own style of relating to God and those who do not believe in God. My friends are straight, gay, Christians, pagans, God fearers, and sometimes God jeerers. Most are just waiting to get some high pressure, arm twisting, 10 commandment interrogating, conversion speech. Is that how we really witness, tho?
Do we witness or share what we have witnessed?
You know, when it all comes down to it, I believe in God and follow the teachings of Jesus because something crazy and amazing changed in me. Where I was once full of despair, I am now bubbling over with joy (think it was Uncle Don that always said that) and my laughter flows easily and frequently. Where once my marriage was dead, it has been reborn into a clumsy, but growing, partnership of love and grace. Where I had no direction, I have a path to follow. Where my life was tiny, it is now full to bursting.
Sure, I know eternal life is in there somewhere, but my life has started here, now.
God had been pursuing me for years, like when you find a starved and hurt animal who is so terrified it takes persistence to gain trust. He was there when I knew but would not own. He nudged my imagination with Joseph Campbell. He let me experiment with belief and adhering to a system of beliefs with Buddhism. He began to creep closer in steps 2, 3, and said He loved me in step 5. And finally, one afternoon, He whispered to me that I needed to choose...that I simply couldn't stay where I was.
In this journey where so many beliefs collide, might God not use them sometimes to find us? Need we frantically hold a cross to our Jewish friend's head until he says a 5 second prayer?
Please don't light the fire yet... I do believe the Bible contains Truth. I do believe God desired to bring us back to His intention, His shalom. I do believe sin separates us, and I do believe Jesus made the restoration possible thru a perfect sacrifice, his horrific death and glorious resurrection.
I believe those concepts, but I cannot say I was outside the empty tomb. I cannot confirm that Eve blew it while Adam was snoozing.
I can confirm I blew it. I can attest to the mess I make of my life when I use only thru my willpower and my schemes. I can gratefully credit my God with resurrecting my mangled, dead spirit and breathing life into it. All that I have, all that I am, I am because of Him. This is what I witnessed...of which I "witness" to others.
That is good news...that we don't have to stumble around lost, starved and full of despair. We can have hope in our today and a promise for the future.
Please don't beat on people to bring them to Jesus. Let's not repeat the Spanish Inquisition. Let's pray for people knowing the Spirit works on the insides. Let's love them with the wasteful love our Father has lavished on us. Let them witness the change the Gospel has done in our own hearts. Let it challenge them, confuse them, intrigue them. Let us pray for wisdom to answer them honestly, graciously, about the Source of our life. Let us live like Jesus did, knowing our Dad is in control of it all.