a grief perturbed
for the past three days ive been at home with my sick son as he attempts to fight off a feverish infection. the medicine has him pretty lethargic so as he sleeps and lounges around ive been doing a lot of reading. some online articles. some blogs. some books. some facebook profiles.
the usual stuff.
the more i read the more i realize how this world is disengaged from god. and not just this world in the secular sense. i mean the church as well. and tho ive known this for a while i dont think i realized the growing effect it was having on me until yesterday evening when i left a message on friends voicemail admitting that i am depressed.
before any of you go trying to cheer me up take a moment to consider what im depressed about. lets go back to before i met christ…
having been raised in a southern baptist church that at one point ostracized me and my family in their zeal to purge the church of my sins i had cursed god and christianity. i ended up as some sort of weird halfbreed cross between deist and agnostic. i was pretty sure there was a god who had made everything but i was just as sure that he had burned off long ago and at best looked on our affairs from afar. i also wasnt sure at all who he was and had given up trying to figure it out.
i was a study in contrasts. i was honest with friends but i stole money and merchandise from employers. i was loyal and even clannish with those closest to me but i was prone to philander. i never touched drugs but i smoked cloves and cherished vodka. i was well mannered in certain social situations and foul-mouthed and rebellious otherwise.
and i went to church on and off the entire time tho i didnt like christians or their god. they had hurt me and he had let them so if god wanted something from me he would have to come and apologize for the pain id been thru. i wanted him to make restitution for being an absent father. i wanted to believe in something that was real but i didnt see it and i used christians as an excuse for not being one. i despised hypocrisy while thinking i was somehow free from it by dismissing the very concept of faith in my own life.
i was in complete turmoil.
i confess all this to say that when i met jesus my life was radically changed forever. but the most radical change wasnt centered on my bahavior. it was centered on my relationship with god. by his grace he invaded my brokenness and altered me completely. all of who i was before became obsolete and as the change took root it began to spread and what began as a declaration from god of my adoption into his kingdom became and is still becoming a reality in my life.
a passion exploded within me to know god. to know jesus and everything i could find out about him. i wanted to spend time in his presence and read about everything he did while he was here and what he taught and what it meant when i woke up and worked and related and played and went to bed.
i wanted to follow him.
and to this day this is what ive committed myself to. even tho i suck at it. even tho i have to admit that i am incapable of good and rely completely on him to be good for me and to change my mind and heart – bringing them into unity with who god says i am – his beloved son. this means so much to me that i have dedicated my life to being a mentor to others – leading them thru the places i have been and toward a relationship with jesus that changes them in the same way as it has and is me.
so why am i grieving?
bc instead of following christ the overwhelming majority of people i know are more devoted to therapeutic moralistic deism masquerading as christianity. and tho the common cry goes up not to be judgmental we are commanded to judge rightly those who make claims concerning jesus christ and if someone claims to be his follower they open their life up to scrutiny.
as i look at the lives of those i know who claim to follow jesus the troubling thing is that they dont in fact follow him very far. maybe to the front of the aisle in their sanctuary and possibly even into the water behind the podium but certainly no further.
they dont follow him out into the community. they dont follow him into their homes. they dont follow him into their workplace. worse still they dont follow him into their social attitudes political views or pocketbooks. and they especially dont follow him into their hopes and dreams and goals for life. in fact they pretty much leave him at his house and come by to visit once in a while. and as i stop and think about this…
my chest hurts and my mind is numb.
i have been given the responibility of leading people to jesus and instead i have accepted the role of maintenance man for an insular decaying corpse of a faith that apparently died without being notified quite a few years ago.
i recognize that this very statement may jeopardize my position in that role and im okay with that bc over the past month or so what ive come to understand is that i have been sent as a missionary to the church. my calling while i am here is to proclaim the gospel without shame regardless of what fury that brings from both the sinful and the moral people of this town.
and so we return to why i am depressed.
i havent been living out my calling.
i have allowed some circumstances to cloud the way. ive let some peoples comments and attitudes disrupt my devotion. i havent endured this test faithfully.
so im confessing.
right here and right now i confess that i have not been who i need to be and that i am incapable of fulfilling my role. and so i turn my eyes to you who have called me and i ask that you make me the man you want me to be. for the glory of your name.