Totality Makes All the Difference!

Just so this doesn’t turn into a Jesus Juke-y post where you think it’s about something else, I’m just going to state from the beginning that this is about Him. Don’t come back at me for a snarky twist at the end that leaves you shaking your head and wondering if I thought it would be cute or funny or… whatever. There is no “Gotcha” moment. There is no snark intended.

A friend posted yesterday how underwhelming the eclipse was. After all the hype (which even the most ardent eclipser should admit got more than a little annoying), he felt let down. It was sort of a “Yeah, yeah… whatever. Now can I get back to my life already?” statement. I couldn’t believe he said it. I had to do a double take, because I saw the total eclipse and it was awesome! Did he really just say that? Yep. He did.

Then I realized something: He didn’t actually see the eclipse. He went outside and looked up at the sky, but he was so far out of the path of totality that what he was observing shouldn’t even have been called by the same name as what my family and I were seeing. He was criticizing something he hadn’t actually experienced! He was rolling his eyes at one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen!

Have you ever noticed how it’s so much easier to criticize something than to understand it? We do it all the time. Instead of getting to know the crazy neighbors down the road, we sit back and mock the mess in his yard. Instead of doing the hard work of creating something original, we stand at a distance and scoff at the artist who made the leap and held his heart out for everyone to see. Instead of walking in the way of totality with Jesus, we dip our toe into the church and step back and criticize all the perceived hypocrisy and short-comings we can find.

What if we could close the distance? What if we stopped observing from a distance and stepped into the path of totality that is a life fully given to the cause of Christ? What if we stepped out of the shadows at church and fully engaged every ability at our disposal in being the church? I think we’d see something incredible! When we “fix our eyes” on the perfecter of our faith, we’ll see things far greater than shiny rings in the sky and wavy shadows on the ground. (Those were crazy awesome though, right?!) We’ll see walls of division being torn down. We’ll see the gates of hell failing to separate people from God any longer. We’ll see the hearts of people who can’t stand each other begin to turn toward each other and soften and love again. We’ll see restoration and healing and hope.

Go ahead and take the leap to go all in with Jesus. Let me know if I can help you somehow.

You don’t even need to wear goofy glasses!

Responding to Charlottesville in Your Neighborhood

Evidence of our brokenness is not in short supply, but this past weekend we were viscerally reminded in so many ways that we have fallen far, far short of God’s hopes for humanity. Issues of race and economics and many other factors, complicated by political scheming and posturing are boiling over in our nation, separating and dividing us from each other. The events in Charlottesville painfully displayed the ugliness that has crept in to our world as people stop thinking of each other as people and lump the “others” into some category or another that they can then vilify without actually understanding who they’re hating.

Media figures continue to froth and feed the frenzy with hot takes and headlines that bear little resemblance to reality. The church gets blamed for it’s complicity and silence as those within it who do not take the Word of God seriously or actually follow His Son to freedom¬†continue to be allowed to operate on the fringes that media so loves to spotlight. And fear of what’s different takes the win.

It’s time to stop fearing. Don’t just sit back and watch this happen. White supremacist hate will not win out. Neither will antifa violence. Neither will anyone else who attempts to shove people as far right or left as possible in their attempts to divide and conquer. Don’t let fear motivate your response to the news and draw you right or left – move in faith where the wind of the Spirit is moving. Let love and compassion set the tone for your life BEFORE you hear reports of racial tension exploding into chaos. Then you’ll be set to step into the chaos with hope in in the name of Jesus.

Hope. Love. Faith.

These will win.

In thinking about the events of last weekend and reading an unrelated book about God’s intent for leadership in humanity and in the church, I came across this quote:

It’s easy to forget that the failure of Adam’s leadership in the garden was passivity, not aggression. Adam failed to cultivate the garden. Adam failed to keep the weeds out…

-Eric Geiger & Kevin Peck, Designed to Lead

Continue to call out racism and speak out against this evil as it creeps around you. Don’t give that weed any place to take root in your neighborhood. Cultivate rich and meaningful relationships with those who can share with you a perspective different from your own.