If I should slow my pace and
finally subject me to grace
And Love that shames the wise,
betrays the heart's deceit and lies
And breaks the back of foolish pride
- Excerpt from Jars of Clay's song "Jealous Kind"
Thank God too; I have entirely too much foolish pride.
You said to love
All I see is hate
Emotions swirling ‘round
On this sacred date
What must You think
When I choose to hate
When I turn from You
To pursue my fate
When I choose to hurt
Instead of heal
When I choose the fake
Instead of the real
When I choose to look
At myself instead
When I starve my Lord
To make sure I’m fed
I look beyond
To the crimson cross
And Your eyes still shine
With love spread across
On that cross so hard
In Your eyes the love
Yet I prefer the eagle
And pervert the dove
You said to love
All I see is hate
Lord give me your heart
On this sacred date
Copyright 2010 by Boyd Allen
Forty-seven years ago yesterday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most famous speeches in American history. I am ashamed to admit that--until tonight--I had never watched the speech in its entirety.
If you're like me and you've never seen it, or if you've watched it many times...take a few minutes and allow the words of an American prophet to move you.
Word, Dr. King. Word.
A great quote that I read this week...
"I know passions get enflamed and sometimes should around political issues. Let us remember that Jesus brought a zealot and a tax collector together and said, "Follow me." In our churches, He brings together democrats, republicans, green party members, libertarians, and independents and says the same thing, "Follow me."
Christ followers will always be politically diverse. Following Him alongside people who talk, think, and act differently than you is not optional. If you refuse to do so, then you refuse to pursue Christ. The moment at which you wish to see someone crash and burn because they think differently than you—you have stopped following Jesus. The moment at which hate begins to burn in your heart towards another person, for whom Jesus died, because they disagree with you on policy—you have stopped following Jesus. The moment you stop seeking justice, love, kindness, and a humble walk with God—you have stopped following Jesus. So, we repent when necessary and remember that policy and governance never change the human heart—the Gospel does. The breadth of Christʼs good news must fuel our passion and guide our actions in every sphere of life."
Now, if only I would let God help me LIVE this way. Then I'll be set.
So...since no one else will be blogging about this subject, I thought I'd step up and fill the gap.*
As I reflect on the passage of the historic healthcare reform bill, I wonder how America's Christians are reacting. Some thoughts...
To my brothers and sisters on the Left who are rejoicing at the passage of the healthcare reform bill, a gentle reminder: This bill does nothing to eliminate Christ's mandate for us to personally care for the poor. If history is any judge, the government will struggle to oversee the massive task they've just voted to put on their own plate. Bureaucracy, inefficiency, and corruption may well swallow up their good intentions. We Christians must stand in the gap that's left.
To my brothers and sisters on the Right who are lamenting the passage of this bill, may I gently suggest the possibility that we (I) have failed to live out Christ's directive to care for those less fortunate than us? Perhaps if we as the Church cared for the poor, marginalized, needy folks in the world as our founder did...then maybe, just maybe...Congress wouldn't have had to step up and do what we were capable of, but refused to do.
I recently read Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution (which I highly recommend) and I thought this excerpt was striking (and applicable to those on both ends of the political spectrum).
It is much more comfortable to depersonalize the poor so we don't feel responsible for the catastrophic human failure that results in someone sleeping on the street while people have spare bedrooms in their homes. We can volunteer in a social program or distribute excess food and clothing through organizations and never have to open up our homes, our beds, our dinner tables. When we get to heaven, we will be separated into those sheep and goats Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 based on how we cared for the least among us. I'm just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, "When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me," or, "When I was naked, you donated clothes to the Salvation Army and they clothed me." Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He seeks concrete acts of love: "you fed me...you visited me in prison...you welcomed me into your home...you clothed me."
My life has seldom lived up to Christ's words. May God have mercy on me and grant me strength to do better.
*That was sarcasm, just in case you didn't catch it.
Someone asked me the other day what my opinion is about Tim Tebow's upcoming Super Bowl ad. Here's my two cents worth:
1. I whole-heartedly support Tebow's right to say whatever he wants on national television. It's a free country last time I checked; live and let live. However, lest I be misunderstood on this issue, I should note that the necessary corollary to this position is that Mancrunch.com (the gay dating site that also applied) should've been allowed to purchase TV time as well. Fair is fair. Be careful what you ask for my conservative friends; you just might get it.
2. My personal preference is that "positions-based" advertising (from either side) not be aired during the Super Bowl. It's an American past-time for crying out loud. Must we use it as an opportunity to inflame those who disagree with us?
3. While I appreciate (and agree with) some Christians' desire to eliminate/minimize abortion, I'm not sure that this is/was the best way to accomplish that. I could be wrong, but I have a hard time believing that a highly controversial 30-second spot is going to suddenly cause 100's of women across America to call and cancel their appointments at their local abortion clinics. Why not take the obscenely large amount of money that's being spent on this, and put it towards something that we know reduces the chances of an abortion happening? May I suggest Option Ultrasound or your local crisis pregnancy care center instead?
4. Christians standing up for their "rights" in the public arena seems, to me, to be counter-intuitive to the message of Christ. Isn't that the whole point of Christianity, that we give up our rights? Why can't we Christians work on "changing America" one person and one heart at a time? It might just work better than the top-down approach that seems to be turning people away.
It is good to be tired and wearied by the futile search after the true good, that we may stretch out our arms to the Redeemer. - Blaise Pascal
A week ago today--at the suggestion of a book I am reading--I set aside about an hour of time to spend in solitude. No one else, no people, no distractions, no agenda other than to be alone with God.
I cried. In a good way. To say that it was "good" would be an understatement. Not necessarily easy, but definitely good. I HIGHLY recommend it.
Often I spend so much of my time chasing after so many things that I wear myself out. Don't get me wrong, I think the things I spend my time doing are good, worthwhile things. It's just that I try so hard to get everything done, everyone taken care of, every situation resolved....that I forget the most important role that I can fill is just being God's kid and hanging out with him.
Last Saturday I got to hang out with my Abba.
Today is my Sabbath (weekly day of rest) and for some reason I was reminded of this liturgy that my brother posted on his Facebook account about this time last year.
I thought of this poem because, this year, my goal is for the holidays to be sort of an annual Sabbath; a month or two of the year when (hopefully) life slows down and I get to rest, relax, and recharge with friends and family. I know that this may not be the reality for many (myself included), but it's my primary goal this Christmas.
it is a time of whispers
of rumors and echoes
angels are unfurling their wings
stars are dancing new steps
and the universe is drawing breath
for now we live in the waiting time
let the darkness gather
let the seasons change
let the nights draw in
to their darkest moment
the light is on it's way
so come now
be a blessing to the frantic and worried world
and find space
for God is slipping into skin
and restless in the womb
it is advent
P.S. I tried unsuccessfully to find out who the original author is so I could credit him/her. If anyone knows who wrote this, please let me know.
The random thoughts of a passionate moderate who is incurably addicted to music, practical philosophy, and learning new things.