December 17, 2004

Passionate about Nothing

I would like to submit something from my reading that I found extraordinarily poignient. I'll let the text explain itself. It's from Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller.

"The thing I have to work on in myself is this issue of belief. Gandhi believed Jesus whne He said to turn the other cheek. Gandhi brought down the British empire, deeply injured the caste system, and changed the world. ... Peter finally believed the gospel after he got yelled at by Paul. Peter and Paul changed the world by starting churches in godless towns.

Eminem believes he is a better rapper than other rappers. Profound. Let's all follow Eminem.

Here is the trick, and here is my point. Satan ... wants us to believe meaningless things for meaningless reasons. Can you imagine if Christians actually believed that God was trying to rescue us from the pit of our own self-addiction? ... The trouble with deep belief is that it costs something. And there is something inside of me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn't like the truth at all because it carries responsibility, and if I actually believe these things I have to do something about them.... The problem with Christian belief [for seekers] ... is that it is not a fashionable thing to believe.

A friend of mine, a young pastor who recently started a church, talks to me from time to time about the new face of church in America - about the postmodern church. He says the new church will be different from the old one, that we will be relevant to culture and to human struggle. I don't think any church has ever been relevant to culture, to the human struggle, unless it believed in Jesus and the power of His gospel. If the supposed new church believes in trendy music and cool web pages, then it is not relevant to culture either. It's just another tool of satan to get people to be passionate about nothing."

It's a bit harsh in some aspects, but in others, he's right on. I think he's saying the same thing (to some extent) as Brian McLaren, who says that "maybe we should concentrate on removing the plank from our own eyes before we try to remove the speck of dust from somebody else's."

This doesn't mean that we don't tell others about the gospel - it means that we not only tell them about it but actually show it. We show them how Christ was accepting of everyone, regardless of their walk in life, their race, their profession ... their orientation, their sin. He calls ALL to Him. Yes, you have to believe in Jesus to get to heaven. But do you have to be a Christian? Like, a religious Christian? I'm starting to wonder ... I've never liked the idea of religion that much, but that's only insofar as the definition of religion is something along the lines of the the rules and regulations that are associated with your belief. Belief is cool. Rules and stuff ... it never seemed to me that Jesus obeyed that many rules. He definitely broke lots of Jewish rules, and He was Jewish. And He definitely disobeyed the whole "once dead, stay dead" rule. Have we been thinking about Him all wrong?

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