The censorship of Christian community

lion-predator-big-cat-cat-162093There is so much I want to say.

So many comments I’d like to make.

More questions I’d like to ask than anything else…

But the Christian community is extremely sensitive. We–I include me in the we–are so sensitive! [don’t use an exclamation point unless you mean it!] What are we so scared of?

It’s like anything we disagree with or anyone who disagrees with us is immediately blacklisted and deemed a heretic or apostate or, dare I say, liberal!!!????!

Scott Sauls, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church Nashville, tweeted on February 12

“I am too conservative for liberals, and too liberal for conservatives.” – Everyone who follows the whole Jesus

2,400 people retweeted. I can only assume it’s because more persons don’t know who Scott is.

Point being, yes. This is an amen deep in my soul. One  of the hardest aspects of doing ministry of any kind in the South is being pigeon-holed by others, feeling like there’s a mold one has to fit into, and then fearing the backlash of not fitting in.

I get diplomacy, I do. But what if the prophets of the Old Testament had been diplomatic? Would they have been prophets? No. They wouldn’t have been thrown into cisterns or killed. They probably would’ve been…wait for it…promoted.

Prophets speak.

         They are a voice.

                      They ask.

                                They tell.

                                           They prod.

Subsequently…

They are isolated. Lonely. Blacklisted, ignored, imprisoned, fired, demonized, etc.

I guess what I’m saying is, can we Christians–bought with the blood of Christ and freed from the strictures of this political world–be truly free? Can we refuse the titles and categorizations that the world requires in order to make enemies?

Why the titles, the categories, the sides? Because we have to know who’s wrong, right?

Following the whole of Jesus really leaves us as misfits. We can’t be contorted to fit into any one corner or box. Too liberal. Too conservative. Can’t be nailed down. Enemies on every side. Sounds like Jesus.

Here’s the thing. If nobody is upset with you. If nobody is frustrated by what you say. If nobody is really bothered by you. You’ve picked a box.  And turns out it’s a perfect fit.

 

Advertisements

Good Will Hunting and God

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is in Good Will Hunting (set in Boston, starring Bostonians Damon and Affleck–#GetBeard–#GoSox!!) when Sean, played by Robin Williams, is assuring Will Hunting, played by young Matt Damon, that all the events of his past are not his fault. Sean begins: “It’s not your fault.” Yeah, I know. “It’s not your fault.” I know. “No, no you don’t. It’s not your fault.” I know. “It’s not your fault…” Good.Will.Hunting.1997.XviD.DTS.CD3-WAF.avi_001529070

The scene goes on until Will breaks down and his otherwise tough facade crumbles.

What if someone approached you and repeatedly said, “You’re not God.” I know. “You’re not God.” Yeah, I know. “No, no you don’t. You’re not God.” I know!

I feel like that’s what God does to me when I respond in a less than stellar way to the unexpected.

So much of life is unexpected.

Unexpected circumstances, be they tragic or triumphant. Unexpected people, be they pleasant or petty. Consider how much of your life is spent encountering the unexpected.

I like routines, schedules, plans, and honestly, predictability. But God is constantly messing up my plan and schedule and the predictability of life. And how do I usually respond? Anger. Anxiety. Aggravation. A litany of alliterative A-words.

But what if, in all the  unexpected, God’s doing something better than my plan? What if he’s growing me through the unexpected in a way that just wouldn’t have happened if I got my way? Can I possibly bring this back around to Good Will Hunting? You bet I can.

Will didn’t expected anyone to ‘help’ him because he didn’t think he had a problem. Eventually the barriers were broken down, as I so passionately illustrated above. But even more unexpected was the change in Sean–the bearded Boston Red Sox fan therapist.

See, Sean hadn’t taken any chances or really lived life since his wife died a few years before. But his unexpected relationship with Will changed him. He tried to resist the impact Will was having on him, but after a while he embraced it and stepped out with a renewed sense of hope.

The next time your plans are interrupted or someone slows you down, take a breath and consider whether the God of the unexpected is trying to do something unexpected in your life.