Waiting to be Discovered…

I have a real fondness for television shows that focus on discovering the diamond in the rough. Whether this is an item in your grandparents’ attic or an unassuming bloke with a voice of gold. These shows stir something in me in regards to redemption and restoration. Obviously it is not just me because these shows are packing our stations and our binging sessions.

  • Why are we so drawn to this?
  • What makes these shows compelling?

I think a major part of it is that each of us imagines that all that needs to happen for happiness, success, and ‘life to the fullest’ is to be discovered. If only we hit the reality show lottery, then we’d be an overnight sensation; a diamond in the rough! Is this truly reality? Will we ever be discovered?

  • What if we were to recognize that we were ‘discovered’ long ago?!?
  • How would our lives look if we lived as though the ‘discovery’ has already happened?

I’m convinced that each of us has, indeed, been discovered. Faith is built upon this assumption. Abraham Heschel wrote a wonderful book (one of many) titled: “G_d in Search of Man” — this book helps illuminate the idea of G_d’s pursuit and ultimately G_d’s ‘discovering’ us! Now what?

  • Once discovered…then what?
    • What’s our next step?
    • Where do we go now?
  • What’s the role of the one that discovered us?

I’d imagine if I were ‘discovered’ by a talent scout…I’d probably become their disciple and shape my decisions, actions, and words upon their recommendations and guidance. This would be obvious…a ‘no-brainer.’ Yet this is so far from where most of us go when it comes to our obedience and movements in G_d and faith.

  • Why?

Does it effect anything when we believe we ‘deserve’ to not just be ‘discovered’ but also that we are entitled to happiness, success, and life to the fullest. I also believe these things to be true but I believe they require our work & dedication and then we sit back and wait to reap the rewards of our pricelessness.

  • How have we gotten here?

In many ways the church has become the friend or family member that tells you you’re an amazing singer while closing the bathroom door to avoid hearing you perform. It’s not that the talent isn’t there but rather it needs to be honed, refined, disciplined. But we shy away from these hard truths in order not to hurt feelings and to maintain power.

  • Sometimes I wonder if we are holding out for a better scout!

The current ‘scout’ will require too much change, too much work, too much improvement. An internal, eternal, moral rollercoaster that shaping us into our ‘sensation’!

Sometimes it’s easier to just watch vicariously through the TV in comfort of our pajamas and ice-cream bowls.

We’ve been discovered – Now what are we going to do?

Discipleship — Dedication — Devotion

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#ThingsJesusNeverSaid

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Right now as I type, the inter-webs is still blowing up along the hashtag #ThingsJesusNeverSaid – This is a very clever thing. A place for progressive Christians, non-Christians, and conservative Christians to sling the proverbial spit and mud at their blind counterparts in 140 characters or less.

I have to admit many of the posts made me chuckle. Many made me angry. Many more made me quite sad. Again we’ve found a way to rob our ‘one anothers’ from civil discourse and meaningful dialogue. We continue to pursue biting memes and short-hand kvetching as opposed to sincere conversation.

We can stand around pointing fingers all day long but on this day (It is ‘Good Friday’ as I write) no fingers were being pointed by Jesus. In fact on this day Jesus said very few things…one of the more profound things that the New Testament declares he said is, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

It breaks my heart that the church that is to be known for its ‘love of one another’ is instead trotting around and showing its disdain for one another. This is always the danger of taking a religion that had a communal concept of life and salvation and allowing it to transition into a faith that is all about personal salvation and personal gain/growth. If we could only return to the time when the church was in it together…not to win rhetorical dance-offs but rather a time when the heart of the faithful was about lifting the oppressed, serving the marginalized, caring for the downtrodden.

Jesus, it is said, died for the entire world…not for those we like or agree with. Jesus exposes power structures that rob others of their fullness of life. Jesus served the oppressed in order that their hope might be restored.

The irony of #ThingsJesusNeverSaid is that most folks sincerely believe that Jesus is in full agreement with their quips. I find it hard to imagine that Jesus, who fought for the dignity of ALL people, would side specifically with any of us in our foray into Twitter fame.

Put down your hashtags…put aside your polemics…lift up your neighbor whether they are gay or straight, conservative or liberal, male or female, fundamentalist or progressive, religious or not, optimistic or pessimistic, friend or enemy.

Because the one thing we are assured of in the Gospels is that Jesus did say to “love our enemies” and on this particular Holiday we are even called to remember that Jesus not only loved them he also stood before G_d asking on their behalf for their forgiveness. May we learn something from this day of remembrance.

Peace to you and yours. Remember: Agreement should never be a prerequisite for loving others.

A Sojourner with Dominion?

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There is an interesting phenomenon that exists in our world. It is that we begin with the presupposition that it is “our world.” I grew up in the church and in many ways this view was reinforced, afterall Adam was given dominion over all the Creation.

There are so many ways we express this belief of ‘dominion’ whether it be in our insatiable appetite for resources or our feelings of entitlement to space or time. Maybe this is why Sabbath has become nearly impossible amonst us. To participate in Sabbath is to give up control and therefore dominion (we must concede to participate).

It is an intriguing thing when we look at ancient Israel. Their posture towards creation was much different than our own. We never read of them building a bridge, rather they cross through the water. Other than when G_d calls them ‘up’ they found themselves walking around the mountains. The landscape was not theirs to conquer but to partner withh. They had a posture of sojourner, wandering in a land not their own.

Then enters Rome with their famous roads that forced the landscape to submit to their whims – bridges over water and stairways up the sides of mountains. The first highways…progress…dominion! They did not view themselves as sojourners in a land not theirs, rather they were the lords of these lands. The land was theirs to do with as they pleased. Rome did not only enslave peoples they also enslaved nature.

Today we have carried on the tradition(s) and mindset(s) of the Romans. Constantly striving to find ways to make the world a slave to our desires and wants. We forget that the LORD made a covenant with all creatures and all of nature (Gen. 8) – not just man. We live as though the earth ‘owes’ us whatever we desire. We hollow out the earth so we can drive over it. We cut off the top of mountains so we can enjoy our four-wheel drive SUVs. We treat animals barbarically (though barbarians were probably more civil to their animals) in order that we can have meat on the cheap and with every single meal.

Though I understand that this stream of thought is slanted heavily towards an environmental bent…that is not really my point (at least not my main point). My main point is what does the way you live your life say about what you believe? What is our part in the covenants of Genesis 8? Do you live as though you are a guest in the home of the LORD or do you treat the earth and all that inhabits it as endentured servants?

What questions are we not asking when it comes to living a life that reflects what we believe?