Tuesday, November 8, 2011


We’ve managed to put our lives into boxes. We live in boxes – we put fences in our yard, roll our windows up in our cars, and wish for a corner office with a view of the people that we don’t want to interact with. We box ourselves in with our “safe group” of friends, and we start to box in the way we think and feel about the world and the way it works. Heaven forbid we ever have to get out of our boxes, or worse, have someone come in and try to rip it open a bit.
So let’s rip open some boxes.
We live in boxes because it feels secure, safe, comfortable, familiar. And maybe it is. But is that really how you want to live? Who has ever loved that didn’t take a risk? And who has ever found what they’re passionate for without leaving comfort and failing a few (or ton of) times? Spoiler alert: the answer to these seemingly rhetorical questions is “nobody”. Comfort is perhaps the most misunderstood concept for my generation, and maybe even this culture. Because comfort is not sitting on a couch all day doing nothing. There’s a reason you feel crummy after spending all day lounging around (been there, done that). Now I think comfort can still be found on that same couch, but maybe after a long day’s work or a well-deserved break from it all. And hopefully you’re sharing that couch with someone you love or even someone you’re just meeting.
You see, I don’t want to overcorrect and somehow say that being comfortable is evil or something. Sometimes in the thick of it all, the best thing to do is seek solitude and quiet – to crawl into a box (maybe even sometimes literally). It’s necessary and natural in a world that is pulling us in a million different directions to the point that a few of us start to tear at the seams because that’s not good for anything either.
But the fact remains that too many of us have crawled into some kind of comfort box a long time ago, and we haven’t come out. We haven’t changed the way we think, we’ve closed ourselves off, and we doubt the workings of a world that we’re not really a part of anymore.
To box ourselves in is to box in our potential. To box in our potential is doubt ourselves and therefore what God can do with our lives. And to doubt what God can do in our lives is to doubt that God can empower us to do “anything through He that strengthens us” [Philippians 4:13], and to doubt that is to put God in a box.
But there’s nothing convenient about putting God in a box; He doesn’t ever fit, and if He did we can’t seem to get Him to stay there. So perhaps if our lives are indeed as boxed in as they seem, we should start unpacking from the top. We should start to unpack God from the boxes we’ve shoved Him into and allow Him to reveal Himself as the INFINITE being that He is. Because Paul said it pretty well when he stated in Ephesians 3 that we cannot know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge – in other words, we’ll try, but we can’t even imagine how big, how good, or how perfect our God is. That’s something you can’t box up. And if that God is in your life, your life isn’t exactly something to keep to yourself, either.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blue Like Jeans (see what I did there?)

They call Nashville the "buckle of the Bible Belt" har har, a nickname that is well-deserved as evidenced by an excessive amount of churches throughout the city limits and even into its suburbs. So, it would seem that in a place like this, finding the "best church for me" would seem like an easy task. It's funny that we do that though, isn't it? That church should conform to us, like trying on jeans or something. We say that "the church is the people," but come on; I've heard that my whole life in countless churches where they say its "the people" when they really care about the music style, the charisma of the pastor/speaker, and countless other semantic factors that in reality, give no evidence that the church is truly found in the people. Christians don't choose a church based on the people, at least it can seem like that where I come from. You find the one in the pile that best fits you for those countless aforementioned reasons and get a membership and tithe your 10%. Easy peasy.
If you've read this far, I'm sorry for the obnoxious cynicism of the above paragraph. Dramatic effect. I know there are, and should be, many factors that help us decide (/be led) what church is best for us. Yet I find that sometimes dramatic sarcasm can shed some light on at least a little truth. For me, that truth is that for a long time I had lost my faith in the Church; NEVER Christ, but the Church. Because you see, I feel that I've gone to churches my whole life where the people are more absorbed in the politics of it all (whether its worship wars, grilling the pastor, or debating who should be in office or who had the audacity to mow their lawn last Sunday) than the MISSION that Jesus Christ Himself asked us to carry out. Some of these disagreements are the results of passions and convictions that each side understands to be in some shape or form prophetic, and in history, such disagreements have caused division on a macro as well as micro scale. I'm not saying denominations (which essentially are Christians saying to other Christians "agree to disagree") are wrong; we're human so they're probably necessary. But we can't cling to such cultural semantic differences and call it faith. Jesus never claimed that He was starting a new world religion (although I'm quite certain he was aware)  -- He said that He was the WAY. A "way" indicates that we need to follow Him, laying our burdens down, dying unto ourselves to receive life from the Creator of it. And then live that life He gave for Him. He didn't say He was the rut, and He didn't say He was the moving-sidewalk-at-the-airport-thingy; He didn't say it would be easy, and He definitely didn't say it would be COMFORTABLE: He said that He was THE way. Just ask any of the martyrs.
So then, why have we gotten to a point where we try on church like we try on jeans to find the most comfortable pair? Because if this is our outlook on Church, then what is the point of the Church? Please don't get me wrong; we need to find a Church family, and in this broken world, in this broken nation, there are broken churches. In fact, I dare say all of them are. But that's what makes them BEAUTIFUL. That the Church is broken, that its people are broken; yet God still wins. So don't look at Church like you look for jeans. But if you insist, find the church with the most obvious patch jobs and stains -- because I guarantee it's the most real, the most honest, and I dare say the most Christ-like. Because the Church is the people, the people are the Church, and when we follow His WAY, that is to walk in rhythm and step with His steps, we will truly rock this world and move mountains.