Monday, January 22, 2007

think about what this is saying...

Reading the scripture passages for this week, my mind jumped to thought of the Yes Men. These guys have made a little career out of posing as representatives from institutions they want to criticize, using a kind of mockery that goes beyond what I've seen before... Posing as World Trade Organization representatives, they've shown up at REAL conferences, after people who visited their mock website invited them. They give presentations on utterly shameful, taken-to-the-extreme, ethically bankrupt ideas.

The amazing thing is that people think they're real. They get away with it, because no one seems to be ready to question them.

All of which makes me think how far we've come from the sharpness of that crowd Jesus talked to in Nazareth. (Or, perhaps, how easy it is to trust someone with a good website and a nice suit?)

In Luke's gospel, when Jesus spoke in Nazareth, he proclaimed, plain and clear, in the words of the Hebrew prophet, Isaiah, what he was about: bringing good news to the poor. Setting the captive free.

Then, the people quickly turn on him. They're quick to see the implications of what he's saying. It's bold and it challenges.

Perhaps the didn't look like the prophet they imagined. Maybe they could sense that he really meant it.

So he has some tough words for them, suggesting that he's not coming for their comfort, but for the lost and marginalized people. This doesn't make them any happier.

But, then, when did Jesus promise a life of easy happiness?

Which brings us, naturally, to our second text, from First Corinthians. This text may sound familiar. We often read it at weddings.

(Which, by odd coincidence some people believe might just be the happiest moments in their lives...)

It's all about love. Not just the love between husband and wife, either: it's the love that's to be shared in the Christian community. And it's not all white doves and flower petals... It's patience and it insists on the truth. It requires that we avoid arrogance, boastfulness, rudeness. I'm still working on these things.

This love, when you read the fine print, is hard stuff. I wonder if we should react more at the boldness and craziness of it all?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Dylan said...

I'm actually surprised at how many people just accept religion at face value. I guess I would be one of those that would question Jesus or a prophet... and, boy, do I have a lot of questions. Faith and religion, at its very core, is purely individualistic. Yes, community is an important aspect, but at the end of the day it is the relationship you have with your God, whatever God that may be, that really matters. It's a relationship so why wouldn't you ask questions? Nobody would have a relationship with a friend, mother, father, spouse or even a boss and never question the dynamics of that relationship. Blindly accepting what's told to us by religious authorities (no offense to Molly/Karen) is not how a strong faith is built. Jesus questioned the authorities... the disciples questioned Jesus... why aren't we questioning? Questions lead to answers; answers lead to greater understanding; greater understanding leads to stronger convictions; stronger convictions lead to an unshakeable faith. Questions have led me down a rough emotional path because sometimes I didn't get my answers right away and other times I didn't like the answers I received... but my faith is stronger because I can intellectualize my faith. I have a pretty good idea where God and I stand because I actively walk my path with Him instead of taking a back seat and letting Him and my pastors pull me down the path. I can love myself for who I am because God has been there all the way, explaining why I am who I am. I can, as a result, love others as we were meant to love because I truly understand God's love.

I hope this made some sense to somebody... I feel like I rambled all over the place!

molly said...

Thanks for your wisdom, Dylan. (Even if your ideas encourage people to question ME...) ;)

This invitation to thoughtful dialogue (which, really, requires that we think and question critically!) with God and with our community of faith is a big part of what I love about church.

Well, thoughtful dialogue in a community of love. That's what gives me life.