I must confess this election season, and then the outcome, have shaken me up a bit. The thing I think that has caused me the most concern is the church as a wholes response to politics and the culture. I've heard comments and conversations from Christians , whom I thought should know better, that have been so relativistic. I'm embarrassed to say I was surprised. I suppose I should have been paying better attention to the signs. Regardless, I am grieved. I know few Christians who truly look different than the rest of the world. Why is it that when God saved us and called us out from this world so many of us have stayed. He set us apart as holy to himself. I think we forgot. Sadly the power he offered us when he called us out of the kingdom of darkness (this world ruled by Satan) and into his Son's kingdom of light, in many of our lives has gone unused. I have heard Christians talking about how they prefer the Democratic party because it offers relief to poor and acceptance to everyone. Since when has that been our objective, we've settled for a counterfeit. If our Christianity was really worth anything to us we would never stoop to offering something so paltry. If we ourselves had experienced the power of God to transform, the refreshing forgiveness and cleansing of Jesus, the mercy of redeemed circumstances, we would never offer flimsy alternatives. I hear "well, someone shouldn't be punished or burdened with a child they didn't want or cause." Or it isn't fair for some to be rich and others poor. Excuse me?! If we really believe in the power of God to redeem all things and satisfy his people how dare we offer up such a lie. God makes all things beautiful. There will always be sin and suffering in this world. Our job as Christians isn't to remove it, it's to point to the one who can redeem, comfort, discipline, heal, sooth, teach, love us through it. So, sadly I don't see Christians helping to transform the culture, we've lost our saltiness. Instead I see a desensitization happening in the church. We are changing to be more like the world instead of drawing the world to be more like Jesus. I'm also seeing people use scripture in a shocking manner, as if God didn't really mean what he said when he said it. Horrifying. If we have no true compass we are lost.
Anyway, these have been some of my musings over the last week. I've earnestly asked the Holy Spirit to guide and prepare me in these days. He led me to a book by the 17th century mystic Jeanne Guyon and to Revelations. This little book has been amazing. She advocated cultivating a quietness and use of scripture to commune with Jesus. I've begun practicing this quieting of the mind and heart and seeking to meet with Him in the stillness. I have to confess it has been very difficult. With two small children, in an apartment, busy and sleep deprived it's hard to make the time (and stay awake). But I've been trying and learning through it. One thing I've realized is how very noisy our lives are. It's not easy to listen to the Holy Spirit or commune with Jesus with all the distractions and noise we have in our lives. The other thing I've learned is how essential it is. The more I spend specific times of focusing and reflecting on Jesus through his word the more in tune with him I am through out the day. He is not far from my thoughts and I hope that will affect my choices and behavior, I believe it already has. It's also made me hungry for the Word. Another thing I've noticed is, though I thought this discipline would bring more peace in my life, to an extent it has not. It has actually made me feel more out of sync with the world and christian community as a whole. I find though I am committed to loving others, believers and unbelievers alike, I cannot share fellowship with believers not of like mind. I don't know that that's bad though. The truth is a sword and at times it will divide. Perhaps that sounds harsh but the words and concept didn't originate with me. One thing I've learned also is that some things are grey and some things are black and white. It's important to know which is which and not be afraid to say so. To stand for the truth is not self important or prideful if we remember we are not the source of truth. In humility we can align our selves with the word and unflinchingly and unapologetically refuse to compromise. It's not an easy balance but essential. Otherwise we have nothing to offer people but a watered down, useless shadow of what was once the gospel that can no longer save and is no longer good news.
So, enough of my ramblings. Ultimately it's not about us, it's all about Jesus. Easy to say hard to live! To do it I must take my eyes off of the world and fix them firmly on him. Help me Jesus!