Wednesday, July 4, 2012
To The Left Can Be Right
I don't know if you've noticed lately, but there is a bit of a revolution going on in the world of Believers who are not satisfied with what is being done today in the name of Christianity. It's a simmering stew of folks from all walks of life who are looking at this whole thing a little differently. And when I say simmering, I don't mean as about to boil into an angry mob, I mean simmering as in slow-cooking, great smells in the air all day, ready for a feast when it's ready-type simmering. It's a Love Stew and it's on the menu in cities big and small all over the country; a menu that does not say "we reserve the right to refuse service to everyone." Actually living the life of the Jesus we claim to follow is the main course and knowing we are walking His way is the dessert.
Way back in the late 60's, I was part of an amazing thing that moved across America. Hippies found Jesus and suddenly The Way of the Master was a cool thing and the Jesus Movement somehow made its way into even my little Southern Baptist church in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I was about 14-ish when I heard my first message by a groovy guy with hair long enough to give Moses a run for his manna...and being a girl who never in her life had the word cool attached to a sentence with her name in it...well I was hooked. Here was a way....One Way...as we groovy people called it...to love me some Jesus and be accepted all in one fell swoop.
But a revolution, as this surely was, by definition means turning the people around to a whole new way of life and leaving the old behind. The Jesus Movement didn't go over so well with the old guard who wanted things to stay the same. We had a new American Revolution on the march....one that took the words of Jesus seriously. ("The Red Letters are coming! The Red Letters are coming!") Some didn't like these young up-starts telling them how to love their neighbor. They knew perfectly well how to do that...as long as neighbor was defined as someone who looked like you, talked like you and didn't rock the boat you had built. They were not so big on melding a family out of just any old material. The Anointed Groovy Ones tried to show them a different way....a way of accepting all peoples and reaching out to the least of these...not just bringing things to the poor every Christmas, but asking the poor to join them every day of the year. The Elders (those Non-Melders) didn't want those words pointed out to them...at all. They stuck to their preferred passages and ignored the ones about loving your neighbor and giving your coat to the cold. I think they were just a little more comfy with a God who was angry and cast people out...their kind of guy.
I see it happening again....this 21st century version of the Jesus Movement...complete with Jesus Freaks and enough Love to sink an Ark...and enough anger coming back at us to remind us that this Walk is not an easy one. That the anger is coming from fellow Christians is not surprising...disappointing...but not surprising. Guess it's hard to accept folks whose sin looks different from your sin. I am old enough now to dig this new revolution in a way I couldn't at 14. This time I get the love-thing in a way that you can only get when you have spent your life looking out for you....selfish...self-absorbed...me with a capital M...like I have done. Suddenly there is an answer to the dreariness that long ago took over your interior weather patterns because YOU have been the only cloud in the sky. Love 'em like Jesus. Just set out everyday to be kind to those who cross your path. To help someone when you have the means to help them. You can join us in our work on the Pine Ridge Reservation or you can serve up the meal of love and and caring right in your own neighborhood. Do for one person what you wish you could do for everyone and we could put an end to what so many fear....taking care of the poor. That would be the war on poverty...and it would be won in the trenches of compassion.
When books like "Crazy Love", "Under the Overpass," Radical" and "Irresistible Revolution" are bestsellers...then I'm feelin' the winds of change and I'm praying for a big ol' storm. When you see it coming....don't run for the basement. Stand on the roof and say "Here! Over Here!" I for one am truly welcoming this revolution that is sick and tired of things being done in the name of Jesus that don't have anything to do with the life He gave us as an example. Love. He was all about the love. Mercy. Justice. Walk humbly with your God.
I won't get it right all the time...but I will be doing something that matters with the days I have left.