So you think I need to dress differently. Can you tell me more about this Jesus you love?
Said no one ever. At least not that I know of. And I get that I’m only one small person, (literally 5′ 2″) but bear with my tongue-in-cheek.
I saw a quote that impressed me recently, and when it comes to topics that have been chewed, swallowed, hashed, and spit back up for another round, it takes quite a bit to impress me. (“Quite a bit” is code for: A LOT, as in, “talking donkey/ revelation from the Lord,” type of persuasion.)
Here is the quote:
It’s easy to show skin. It takes bravery to show humility, vulnerability, compassion, heart, kindness, self-respect. –Mandy Hale
Boom. I was so taken aback by that fresh perspective!
I believe in unshakable truth and valuable principles applied in the spirit of love and grace, but it’s just a fact that the aura surrounding evangelicalism has been so tainted by pride and personal perception and frankly, the spirit of religion, that the authenticity of God’s heart rather seemed to (generally speaking) get lost in translation in the western world. People don’t want to be offered that murky cup of principle one more time.
People need a fresh perspective of connection. It’s not that God changed; we changed from ANNOINTED to cultured- cultured in head knowledge instead of affirmative experience with Truth Himself.
Why? Because we’re prone to stupidity and get so easily transfixed by the misconception that we can perform our way to holiness or effectiveness or even closeness with our Father.
We say it’s about the heart, but it’s really not. If conflict goes away when people adjust to our belief system, we only achieve the goal of conformity, which gets us no closer to the heart of God than if we had intentionally walked away.
The assignment of love is c o n n e c t i o n. This is how broken people become anointed ones: by a personal touch. It’s not that the beauty and power of the pure gospel is dead, but people simply don’t see it in the loud clamor of biblical stances. People sense ulterior motives. They don’t want to be evangelized anymore.
I don’t want to know how your religion thinks I should change. What can it offer me? We’ve been conditioned to believe this mindset- this neediness is selfish, but I think Christians need to ressurect the art of humble receiving. There is no way to give from an empty cup.
What can your religion offer me? It sounds selfish, but like it or not, it is how faith starts. We can’t cheat people out of their first baby steps by demanding mature marathons. Maturity and character and “lay down your life” kind of love grows from Love exposure, but first we are little children. We love because He first loved us. In fact, Christ would have us remain as little children in this aspect: wide eyed baby birds with mouths wide open waiting for the next juicy meal, as if it’s the first one.
When it came to external modesty, I was raised ultra conservative in reference to mainstream cultural norms. In my short life of exploration through various races, cultures, denominations, religions, or lack thereof, I’ve realized that there is always a different standard of acceptable and normal based on all of the above influential objectives. The world is much bigger than how we have been conditioned to see it. It is absolutely futile to base my choices and core beliefs on the opinions and approval of other humans in process. (However bad or good the “results.”)
Christians have a bad habit of over testififying. WHAT? Is that even possible? Let me rephrase that: We over talk, and under testify. We aren’t selling a product; we’re hosting royalty. When we host introductions, it is rude to talk over that special guest; they can speak for themselves. It is unnecessary to explain and clarify and interject our humanity at every turn. Jesus is the first thing, the middle thing, and the final thing. He’s the living, breathing word of God. He’s the living, breathing spirit of love and truth. Let’s get that right. Let’s live this love in action.
Ah, fickle humanity loves the black and white. Just tell me what to wear! Why didn’t you ban bikinis in the book of Galations, Lord? Why didn’t you make it easy and spell out rules like in the O.T.? But Jesus, beautiful Jesus in his absolute identity, yet his multifaceted ways and manifestations can not be confined to mere platitudes and to do lists. The OT was only a template; it’s outside of his nature to force His ways apart from intimacy. So instead of seeking answers, maybe we should seek God’s presence so that understanding can come. And in everything, let’s hold fast to love and faith which covers what we don’t yet comprehend.
Bottom line: God loves us all, and the gospel applies to each human and tribe and culture, whether we like it or not. We do what we know personally, but in the mean time, it’s probably a good idea to love on someone outrageously out of our comfort zone. For you, that might be a prostitute who sells her sexuality for a living. For me, it might be a religious conservative who thinks I am bound for hell because of this post. 🙂 It’s the beautiful diversity of the gospel. Jesus is so awesome, and his love is wildly extravagant.
An ending quote by C. S. Lewis: “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”
Peace to all.
© Brenda Kanagy