Monday, January 16, 2006

I've still got Jesus stuck in my craw. Donald Miller is helping me see Him in a new light. Seems to me that just one person really grabbing hold of what Jesus was all about could influence a lot. A bunch of them could change the world. Just like the disciples did.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I can do to make the world a better place, and I think I have my answer. But what a tall order. Who can understand the mystery that surrounds Him? Who can truly follow without fear?

I think you can spend your whole life being a christian and never really get to know Jesus. I think a lot of people do. I don't want to be one of them.

Today we had our first class in Canine Fun 101, and Abu did very well. Not all of the dogs in this class have been through the obedience classes, so Abu had a bit of an advantage. I'm looking forward to this class. It'll be a lot more fun than the tedious obedience exercises.

That's it. I want to lie down and drink some tea.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Something's bothering me. About Jesus, and christians. I don't know if I can explain it, so I'm just gonna try and see if I get to the end of this post.

What strikes me about Jesus' ministry was that it revolved around the desperate people who knew their sin. It was desperation that drove people to seek him out. It was sinful people who got down on their knees and acknowledged His Lordship. It was the sinful who needed Him.

Most of the christians I know seem to think they're doing pretty good in the sin department, and they probably are. They are influence by the culture they're in to follow the Law, mixing it in with relationship, and suddenly we have seemingly sinless, squeaky clean humans. They're quick to name the sin in others. Quick to say "that's wrong", or "that's a slut," or "that guy needs Jesus."

It reminds me of what I'm reading in Donald Miller's book, "Searching for God Knows What." He talks about a "lifeboat mentality" which essentially has each of us trying to establish our own worth to avoid being thrown out. It's important to establish that you're better, or more worthwhile, or more useful, than at least one person in that boat. It's like Survivor. We're each trying to associate ourselves with the winners and disociate from the losers in order to ensure our survival in a twisted social structure.

So, the christians say, "at least I'm not a slut" or "at least I'm not a gossip" or "at least I'm not like that guy....." so when we go to God it's to ask for provision of finances, or His presence in our church service, or for that meeting to go over well. We've already "asked Jesus into our hearts" so we don't go to God begging Him to save us from ourselves. We're already saved, and going to heaven, unlike those other people who are so very sinful.

I think sometimes we think that spirituality is rated on a bell curve. Someone has to go to hell so others can go to heaven. As long as we place above those others, we're okay, and we don't have to face the truth, that our sins are not the sins of commission, they're the sins of omission.

That is, not doing something good is just as much a sin as doing something bad, or so says James.

And really, who cares about labelling certain behaviour as sinful. That tendency comes from the need to validate ourselves. We forget that regardless of our ability to toe the line on a list of sins, we are born in a sinful condition. The cancer is rotting our souls even if don't actually sin. It's the human condition, it's a disease we're born with. So for me to think back and say "oh, I haven't committed any sins today" and use that as ammunition to whip out an attitude on someone else, it's ridiculous.

I mean, unless someone comes along and saves us, everyone on that lifeboat is doomed. Everyone. The lawyer will die of thirst alongside the prostitute, and the Christian beside the Muslim, and all that's gonna matter in the end is how much love did we show to our companions and did we know we needed saving when Jesus came along, and did we beg Him to save us, or did we beg Him to save our neighbors. Jesus doesn't live in a lifeboat mentality. He walks alongside waiting for someone who has the courage to step outside and walk with Him. If the gospels are any indication, I would expect the prostitute, or the leper, or the tax collector to be the first ones out of the boat. After all, they've got nothing to lose, and nothing to gain by staying. What about the "good" ones. They feel safe in the boat, because they're better than those others.

So. There it is, whatever it is, what I've been thinking about.

Something's missing. That is, missing from modern christianity, and missing from my worldview, or my theology. I'm trying to worry less about being right, or toeing the line, or fitting into some corrupt social system which thrives on separating the losers from the winners, the right from the wrong. The boundaries are imaginary. We're all in the same boat. Some of us are trying to follow Jesus, and stay in the boat at the same time. Actually, I think that's where modern christianity is right now. Sitting in the boat, bible in hand, curled up in the corner and looking over to where Jesus is walking on water.

Donald Miller asks a good question. If it was the sinners who most enjoyed Jesus' company, why don't the sinners love hanging out in the presence of Christians? Shouldn't christians be modelling themselves after Jesus?

That's it. I'm all out.
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