September 22, 2011

get ready to lose

I have the bad habit of trying to read several books at the same time. I'll start one, get half-way through, set it on my bookshelf, get distracted by another book, then a couple chapters in, go back to the first, etc. Unfortunately that's been the case with Dirty Word: The Vulgar, Offensive Language of the Kingdom of God by Jim Walker; unfortunate, because while the whole book is good, the last couple chapters are exceptional.

Jim's words here, really spoke to me:
"In talking with the young adults who are part of our community, I have noticed that many of them are paralyzed by life. With so many choices and expectations, they freeze and don't do anything at all. I think part of the problem is that our culture demands that we do something 'big' with our lives. In the face of that expectation, we go into a coma. There is a strong undercurrent in our culture, which makes its want into the church, that pulls us into thinking that we have to change the world somehow. This expectation leaves many young people who want to follow Christ trying to figure out how they can be a disciple of Jesus, the sufferer, and a big rock star at the same time. The result is an epidemic of Christian rock stars. Instead of finding places to serve, these Christian rock stars will only serve when the work is cool or sexy, or they get to climb up on the roof and take their shirt off. Or when there's a camera around. Instead of being honest about their struggles, they push their dirty laundry under their beds and pretend that they have it all together. Instead of running toward the cross, they run away from the cross, all the while talking about their plans to change the world. We need less Christian rock stars and more heroes, people willing to surrender and sacrifice so that the kingdom of God will be near.
"I believe that we are at a critical point in church history. There is a conflict going on, and we need losers like Jeremiah to stand in the fray and be torn to shreds. The outcome of this conflict will affect the future of the church. The conflict within the church and between those who call themselves Christians. The conflict is between those who are surrendered and those who use fear as a weapon. It is between those who humble themselves and wash feet and those who use rejection to conquer and control. It is between those who share in compassion and those who guard their luxury. It is between those who pursue the truth, the Word of God, and those who abide behind fake veneer or superficialities and disillusion. It is obvious who will win and who will lose this conflict. The winners will take the spoils - the beautiful buildings, the large endowments, and the places of position and power. The losers will quietly go their own way, back into the catacombs from which they came. They will go back underground, to the tattoo-shop basements and dark, dirty holes of this world where they share little pieces of body and little drops of blood with one another, and they sing quiet hymns of praise. We need heroes who are ready to go and lose that battle for the sake of the kingdom of God, ready to be losers for Christ, and for the sake of those who do not yet know of the awesome love and grace of Jesus." (pgs. 244-246)