I'm a little hesitant to even try and camp on such huge grounds with my tiny vocabulary, but the wrestling in my heart won't give my fingers peace until I try. So darn it all, here I go.
Outsourcing. Tiny pet peeve of mine. When I call a customer service number and end up speaking with a very nice (albeit hard to understand) person in Pakistan; I usually end up getting off the phone because:
A. I feel rude after asking them to repeat themselves and I don't want to hurt feelings
B. My kids are punching each other in the eyeballs with crayons
C. I just want to talk to the source. Just please. Put me on the phone with whoever
created this cell-phone, this credit card, or this dishwasher.
You guys. The abiding life in Christ Jesus is being outsourced. We are exchanging His words for blogs (oh the irony), sermons, podcasts and relevant Christian magazines. We are devouring books on Christian living, fist pounding at the Toby Mac concerts, and aligning ourselves with politicians who believe as we do. We chase after whatever is trending. I hear this year it's riding Schwinn bicycles and composting. So there's that.
We are creating a sub-culture where the middle man becomes more important than the Man. We flock to our spiritual heroes in times of crisis, despair, and political brouhaha. We beg them: tell us your thoughts! How should we feel about Boston? Where should we align ourselves on marriage equality? We chase down our Pastors and Christian radio-talk hosts to help us crawl out of spiritual valleys, relational mire, and financial bogs. We scream for steps, diagrams, and plans.
Someone just give us a freaking plan.
One of my dear friends likened it to a sugar addiction. We need our fix. Our spirits have become accustomed to tidbits of holiness, packaged and presented in other peoples words and revelations. We want to Cliff's notes version on Christianity, thank you very much. Trudging through the Word of God on our own and sitting in a dark closet waiting for Him to speak is just far too laborious.
If someone could just chew up my food and spit it into my mouth, that'd be cool too.
For, if we substitute these good things for the Best Thing, then no wonder the world is confused by us. If, when people come to us, asking about our Jesus and Who He is, and we bring them to church, point them towards a Francis Chan book, or tell them to listen to K-Love...aren't we just like those difficult to understand Pakistani phone calls? Are we always ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us, or are we ready for Shane Claiborne to do it for us?
People are asking US for a reason.
Are we daily searching the Word of God, hiding it in our heart? Do we even realize that is is living and active? That it will cut some of the holy tension and confusion we feel while wandering this planet? That, even the stories we swear that we could recite from memory or Mrs. Andersons 2nd grade Sunday school class can still breath God's promises to us in new ways? And prayer. Oh, the power of hitting our knees, crying out to the Source of everything. Lifting up our voices on the behalf of the week, needy, and lonely ones. Waiting in silence, allowing God the space to do as He may.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 peter 2:2-3
We need to grow up into our salvation. We have tasted that the Lord is good. Now it's time. Time to hit it hard. He has given us his Holy Words, you guys. No middle man needed. Let's take full advantage of our royal priesthood status, and enter the holiest space of all...a life in community with God. A life lived to know Him and make Him known.
Please understand. This is coming from an area of personal conviction. I love reading others stories and how God has inspired them. But those stories are not my own. And the Author of my story is waiting, patiently and long-sufferingly (it's a word now) for me to live out my own. I am ever learning.