Excellent insight here. This guy puts his finger right on the instinctive defensiveness and fear we often feel when we see an assault on our faith – and what we can do about it. Thanks to Haden Clark for turning me on to this post.
Sometimes the scary thing is to remove the mask, not to put it on.
I would watch as everyone donned costumes of fairies or vampires or Jedi (it seems to have been mostly Jedi the last two years) and pounded the rainy ground on October 31. They’d walk along the dark, gridded streets, collecting energy pills like a breezy outdoor Pac-Man game, and I thought those were their masks.
Before that, I’d come to church and sit amongst everything I am trying to become. Wise, selfless, surrendered believers. Countryside middle-classers. Leaders who understand how to influence people, how to get stuff done in a community. Couples in the glow of early parenthood who somehow show up to service perfectly coiffed and groomed despite the tribe hanging off their arms. Older families who have already raised their tribes into true-blue adult disciples (a more mammoth task every decade). Decent, hardworking folks who seem to be doing just fine.
And I’d think they…
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Life has a way of breaking down your categories. You leave home and discover that Christians aren’t always decent people, nor atheists villains. You get a job and find out that some of the people out there with the foulest mouths and quickest tempers also have the very biggest hearts. You go through an election cycle. I’ll say no more about that. Whatever the case, our black-and-white definitions of things and people are constantly being broken down by life. It’s really a huge favor, if you think about it.
Same thing with marriage.
I’ve longed to be married for quite a while. I have many friends who can say the same. The world around me, too, seems convinced that this is the answer. You can tell by what they say, what they post, what they pursue. They just don’t talk about anything else. “Find a man who looks at you like…” Continue reading
The Old Testament points to, foreshadows, and proves Christ. To ignore it in “favor” of Christ is the height of weirdness.
Just recently, I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about how Christians approach the Old Testament. He happened to pass this quote onto me by Richard B. Hays who says the following:
“Many “mainstream” Protestant churches today are in fact naively Marcionite in their theology and practice: in their worship services they have no OT reading, or if the OT is read it is rarely preached upon. Judaism is regarded as a legalistic foil from which [Jesus] has delivered us. (I once had a student say to me in class: “Judaism was a harsh religion that taught people to fear God’s judgment, but Jesus came to teach us to love God with all of our heart and soul and strength.”) This unconscious Marcionite bias has had a disastrous effect on the theological imagination of many Protestant churches, at least in the United States….” – Richard B…
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A friend of mine lost his father very suddenly this last week.
Another friend is struggling to stay afloat after a car accident last summer brought towering bills and dependence on a chiropractor.
Even sitting down in a chair that can’t support your weight can bring on sudden suffering like nothing you’ve ever known…debilitating pain to wake up to every morning, endless second opinion, flummoxed doctors.
Someone once said something to the effect of, “It’s not the old familiar fears that end up coming true…it’s the ones that come with a phone call at 2:00 on a Thursday morning, the ones you never saw coming.”
How do we live like this?
I certainly don’t want to live paranoid. I don’t want to live life looking over my shoulder.
Yet these stories remind me of the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of death. They remind me tomorrow is not guaranteed. They remind me that God’s ways – whether you believe he directly causes all things or whether he causes some and allows others – are rockier and more elusive than we’d care to admit.
So how do we live knowing that each and every day could bring about the end of our lives as we know them?