The Comfortability of Christ

Many years ago I was really struggling when in the religious scene, feeling that by and large, people were not aware, or truly believing that Jesus was actually in their midst.  I mean if He was REALLY sitting (or standing) among us, then why were we talking about Him as if He wasn’t there?  Why were we singing and praying in such a religiously goofy way?  It didn’t make sense to me that we weren’t more quiet and listening.  Seriously, why all the weirdness?  In fact, I’ve felt this same feeling about many of the “house church” meetings I’ve attended as well.

The other day I ran across a picture that I drew when I was just 20 years old.  It was a “church in a box,” with Jesus standing outside the glass walls, and everyone inside completely unaware that He was out in the streets with the common unreligious folk.

Fast forward to now.  As many of you know, my husband and I run a campground.  It has a wide variety of people.  Many of whom hang with us in our cabin, or around the bonfire.  I think about this often – that despite the fact that there is a lot of drinking, swearing, and rock music going on around here – that I am now comfortable with all types of people in the world, and can sense Jesus is in our midst having fun with them, and loving on them.

Does this sound heretical?

Let me be even more provocative.  It used to be that for people to know Jesus, I invited them to our meetings.  Later I just encouraged people to go to Him directly.  But now I am now increasingly filled with this truth …  “If you want to get to know Jesus, get to know me.”

In other words, the mystery of “Christ in me – and you” is a total game-changer for what religion calls “evangelism,” even since Jesus walked the earth.  The fact is, Christ dwells in us, and we are the light of the world.  So knowing Jesus has to be something totally dependent on relationship now, wouldn’t you say?  I’m thinking that it even boils down to the necessity for our very words, touch, etc. to transfer divine life and freedom to others.

Now with that being said, I wish big miracles were happening all around me, so that it always “felt” like Jesus was living in me.  It’s just not that way, to my sadness at times.  But I enjoy the daily opportunities to love people, and see their guilt, shame, and fear melt away – albiet slowly most the time.  It’s hard to see what others see, and I don’t want to presume I know this — but never in my life have I ever been so comfortable to bring up the living Jesus in conversation then ever before in my life, and with such “ungodly” people, too (as the religious might call them).  No more is the “gospel” (as I’m growing to know it more accurately) something weird and awkward to share with others like it used to be.  It’s truly become something – or more intimately, Someone – I live and breathe every day, because it’s something/Someone that has become a very part of me.

Maybe too, because I’m not really different from anybody else.  Definitely not any “better.”

 

The Angst of Against 

angrychild2
Someone posted a simple question on Facebook.  It was… “Who are You Voting Against?”   I thought it was brilliant.

Following that, I drove by a political sign in front of someone’s house.  It read, “VOTE.  Anyone But Trump”.

All this made me think.  I have an ex-Muslim friend that once explained to me the nature of religion, using Islam as an example, that is based on a negative principle.  I am not going to do this justice at all, but basically he said that Islam has a foundational aspect to it that is by nature “against” the teachings of Christianity.  After I put this post out I am going to ask my friend to clarify this in a comment if I have this fact wrong.  But I think he said the principle is inscribed on mosques, etc., and is starts with a negative, such as, “Allah is NOT…

We might add:
“The President should NOT be…”
“God is NOT…”
“Church is NOT…”, “Christians are NOT….”
“That person should NOT say that or do that….”

I have noticed something in the last couple years.  There is a huge – even major – segment of society, and Christians too, that is reacting.  Reacting in anger.  Reacting in disappointment.  And reacting in hurt.  Deep hurts.  It’s like a war going on, even an Apocalypse, and it’s perhaps destroying more people’s souls and emotional well-being than all the physical wars put together.

It is evident everywhere in today’s society.  Have you noticed?  It’s not only in certain minority and other people groups, but also in some of your family members and people that you meet every day.

No wait.  It’s likely much closer than that.

A sad observation I have made.  People with a heart wound, going on a head trip.” – Jay Ferris

How subtle this is, and how tragic when it begins in the heart of a child.  People getting hurt and disappointed by authority figures who were respected and looked up to, or people who they were close to, who then failed them.  A seed quietly grows inside, forming a root that no one knows is bitter at the start.  Some say little, retreating into a world of relational or spiritual isolation,  Some say more, taking on a more proud advance into attention-grabbing soapboxes or causes, including “bible thumping” people from a distance, in a way that protects themselves.

Enter the expression of Facebook posts.  Blogs.  Voting Booths.  Pulpits.  Religious (or non-religious) denominations and practices.  Whatever it is, there is an outlet for the bitterness of the human soul to express itself, and what it is against.

I remember being a part of a bible study where for many weeks, even some months, all we did was talk about what was wrong with churches and other Christian’s doctrines.  Finally someone visited who broke the negative spirit we were under.  She asked, “So I know what you believe about that.  But WHY do you believe it?”  That set us in a different and better direction after that, than just being “against” stuff.

The disciples were against some people once, too.  There were people who were healing the sick, etc., who weren’t a part of the Twelve.  Of their attitude, Jesus said something very interesting.

Whoever is not against us, is for us.” Mark 9:40

When it comes down to it, God IS love. He is not Hate.  This doesn’t mean he doesn’t hate things (the bible says He does), but it doesn’t encapsulate Him into a negative, but a positive.

I think this is a good thing to keep in mind, not only during this political season, but in all our dealings.

Most importantly, in the deepest part of our hearts.