“Jesus loved the outcasts. He loved the ones the world just loves to hate, and as long as there’s a heaven, there’ll be a failure to excommunicate.” – Relient K
I’ve been convicted. The jury said I’m not guilty – in fact they think I’m a pretty decent guy. The judge didn’t agree. He said that I’m very guilty – guilty of hate crimes, extortion, fraud, misrepresentation, and other things. He overruled the jury and convicted me. He didn’t sentence me to jail though. Actually, he went way out of his way to make sure I didn’t have to go. However, he did ask me to do some community service.
You ask what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what most churches have forgotten. I’m talking about God. I’m talking about the self-proclaimed body of Christ. This thing I’ve claimed to be part of for virtually all of my life. According to a lot of what I’ve seen, many “believers” think Jesus Christ is a cripple – partially paralyzed. He could endure the cross sure; he could even come back from the grave – alive and well! But now? No, not now. Nobody could live through what the American church has to go through – who could ever bear potluck dinners, well-cushioned pews, heating and air conditioning, and fancy glass windows. Yes, this body has become a typical, lazy, overweight, and well-to-do individual. Sure, there are a few individuals serving as hands and fingers – perhaps an ear or two. There’s a handful working, but the legs aren’t moving. There’s not much muscle in those arms. This body has become a couch potato and is at serious risk of heart disease. What can one expect when most of what is fed to us is nothing but junk food and fast food podcast sermons?
What’s got me ranting? Why the conviction? I’m upset because this is not the Jesus Christ I claim to serve. I know this man. He’s a radical and a fanatic. He’s impassioned. He lived as a man on fire. He died for the greatest cause ever. He rose again, victorious – more alive than ever. This Jesus Christ reached out to people that others wouldn’t. He used methods that the religious right wing didn’t like. He was a stereotype breaker. He stepped on the toes of leftists too. He wasn’t out to make friends with people who thought they had things figured out. He was out to show the way to those who knew they knew nothing.
Is there evidence of this Jesus Christ today? Oh, there is, but you might have trouble finding it in most of your run-of-the-mill roadside churches. You might not find it in Joel Osteen territory either. You certainly won’t find too much of it on TBN. You will find it where people are hurting. You will find it where people have issues and needs. He is in outreach centers, coffee shops, and even concerts. He is online talking to a cutter. He is in a rehab center with a cocaine addict. He is holding an orphan in his hands. He is feeding children in Africa. Jesus Christ is alive and well, but it seems that too many of us would rather not let him in our churches. He smells from spending so much time with worldly people. He hasn’t had time to wash his hands, so no one wants to shake it. His hair is matted and his eyes bloodshot because he just spent the night talking a young man out of suicide.
I’m convicted, because I’m as guilty as everyone else.
There’s a movement, and I want to be a part, a movement of love – Christ’s love. It’s a sacrificial love. I’ve seen a lot of pretenders, but I have met some people who really know how to love.
I want to see more men like Bono (of U2) – using their status to help others. I want to see people do more than sing redundant worship songs. I want to see God lifted up in actions. I want to see the church on the move.
My heart was convicted and lifted at the same time last night as I read the transcript of Bono’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. The same is true for when I read of a new movement. That movement is called “To Write Love on Her Arms.” I would like to share the opportunity to be informed about these. Below are links to each:
People, the Gospel is not dead. Jesus is not dead. God is not dead. Why live like it?
Are you willing to stand alongside me and make a difference? Am I? I’m ready to try.