Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Jesus is my homeboy


I spent last night talking with my friend Josh about the need we all have to feel like we are doing something of value. Whether it be work for the kingdom, work in a career setting, or odd jobs around the house. There is this overwhelming feeling that we must always be productive. But month I have had off from school has taught me much about rest, a true sabbath. For the last few months, I have been changed by my reading of John 15. This is the "vine and branches" chapter in which Jesus talks to his disciples about abiding in him. The verse that has remained and resonated with me is this,

"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I call you friends, for everything I have learned from the Father, I have made known to you." John 15:15

The understanding of the magnitude of this verse brings together the entire Gospel for me. This is what grace looks like. Befriending the undesireable. Jesus desires a friendship with us so deep that where he begins and we end is a seemless connection. It isn't a "Jesus is my boyfriend" or "I take Jesus to the mall with me" or like the irreverant but popular t-shirt "Jesus is my homeboy" relationship. It is abiding and remaining in him; experiencing true atonement. This is what the relentless grace of the friedship of Christ is, that we could be considered more than simply servants of the king, but his friends and heirs to the kingdom.

All this pursuit of "doing" seems frivolous in light of this reality.

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Thought Continued...

I posted previously about "learning to think" but a fellow blogger suggested that I also look at it from the point of view of "learning to see." This reminded me of a poignent scene from one of my favorite movies, The Matrix.

From The Matrix:

Neo: Why do my eyes hurt?

Morpeus: Because you have never used them before.

This conversation occurs with Neo, lying on his back on a recovery table with Morpheus and Dozer observing his vital signs and nursing him to full health. Neo has just been released from the growing fields where humans are harvested for their energy.

For those that aren't into the sci-fi movie genre, Neo has been given freedom in life through learning the truth about reality. It is the truth he was after that compelled him to take the red pill, and follow Morpheus down the rabbit hole.

Neo's eyes hurt because he was really seeing for the first time in his life. This is what I was getting at in my previous post about having our senses shocked. Maybe it is simpler than that; Maybe, just maybe, we need to open our eyes. Is the church living a life with her eyes closed, or does she see? When we behold Christ, what is it that we see?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Learning to think

I have have made the observation that since beginning seminary about a year and a half ago, the way I think has been transformed. My mind doesn't necessarily work better, faster, or more intuitively. No, its just different. It is as if I have learned all over again how to think. It is the way in which I process information, as if filters that were once in place before have now been removed. Again, I don't feel any smarter, in fact I feel quite the opposite at times. Perhaps simply stated, I feel more atuned to my surroundings. All this got me thinking about the church and how she interacts with the enviornment that surrounds her, that she is living in the midst of. (see my links www.farmstrong.blogspot.com and see post titled StarWars or StarPeace?)

In a book I recently recently read by Richard Bauckham, Bauckham discusses the author of the book of Revelation and his intent to use imagery in such a way as to teach the seven churches to learn to think again. John uses certain imagery to shock the senses of the churches, bringing them into a fantastical world of multiple headed creatures, beasts, and harlots, weaving an apocalyptic and prophetic book into a form that would bring these people into an understanding of the great evil that was all around them. They had been so de-sensitized by their oppression and began to assimilate so deeply into Roman culture, they had begun to forget who they were, the church. They needed to be taught to think again. They needed the blinders they were wearing to be removed.

This is also what Christ was doing when he taught in parables and with the Beatitudes. "You have heard it said of old...but I say to you..." He turned tradition and modern values upside down. Perhaps, in our culture, we too have been de-sensitized. Like the seven churches addressed by John, do we too need to re-learn how to think? Have we forgotten our story? Are we truly atuned to our enviornment, or are there things happening (good and bad) around us that we aren't even aware of?