I think I have what might be called HRD, or hyperactivereader disorder. I am not exaggerating when I say I just went on a trip with no fewer than 5 books packed…this in addition to my journal, which remained closed the entire week. (As it has for the past 5 years. But failed attempts at returning to a healthy journaling habit is not the issue at hand.) And the thing with the 5 books is that I am (or was) in them middle of every one. I’m so eager to own whatever is in the pages and can’t seem to focus on one at a time (hmm, there might be a common thread running through my approach to both reading and house projects-argh). I’ve been so thrilled and challenged by what I’ve found in written word lately that—you’re going to think I’m crazy--my heartrate has actually been accelerated…I’m serious. I’ve actually felt…well, a bit manic? In a glad way. Now I’m going to get some concerned phone calls, aren’t I?
“Christa, here’s the name and number of a great doctor friend of mine.”
Ha. Well, I’ll tell you that I recognize this is a bit extreme and I have committed myself to taking a week off of non-fiction, starting yesterday. It’s helping.
However. That doesn’t mean I can’t write about it! What I’m seeing and hearing that thrills me is a movement away from compartmentalized lives that revolve around each of us meeting our own personal needs and desires, and toward authenticity and community and service to others.
Now, I am a follower of Jesus and perhaps you are not. Maybe we are from different faiths but you also share a desire to see our neighborhoods, cities, country, and planet transformed into a culture where people interact on a much broader and deeper level than we currently do, where the unique gifts, ethnicities and experiences of each one is truly valued, where we live for something greater than ourselves. If that’s the case, beautiful—we have this in common! However, I have to say honestly that I find it an impossible task without the grace of God through Jesus.
Without getting over my head here in a big theological discussion, let me just say that I believe that without Christ being the center of our corporate universe, we will continually fall back into individualism and self-absorption. That is NOT to say non-Christ-followers are incapable of being altruistic and loving and community-oriented. Obviously, this is not true. I know plenty of people who do not believe in Christ but who exhibit great compassion and care for the world around them. And in fact, there are quite a lot of people who claim to be Christ-followers who are highly self-centered. This is a discouraging truth, but it does not discredit Christ, only further proves how badly we need help.
Jesus, from all accounts including the Bible, was the picture, the essence, of self-sacrifice and humility. If we were to be transformed by the knowledge of God through Christ—and I will be bold here and say that I believe many Christians are not living transformed lives despite their sincere profession of faith--we’re going to engage in life a lot differently. It has nothing at all to do with being a part of “church culture” or with checking the “Christian” box next to “religious preference” on Facebook. I’m talking about radically following this man called Jesus. Making it ALL about Him—which does NOT mean becoming a separatist, political, caricature of a Christian, but DOES mean being an authentic human being who wants to know where Love started and makes that desire a priority over entertainment and self-gratification and escapism. When this happens we’re going to stop seeing each part of life as a separate space with its own priorities and relationships and rules. We will become integrated beings within integrated communities, part of a magnificent story that began long before us and will continue on long after this earth has burned up from global warming or whatever else.
As participants in the Story, we have real responsibility…responsibility to contribute to the telling of it in all our unique ways—for me songwriting is a part of that. But so is making time to have coffee with my neighbor. There are infinite ways we help tell the Story. We are making footprints in the plotline and that’s a privilege! It matters how we love—our neighbors both locally and around the globe, our families, our Church, our employers, our leaders, the earth itself. This is a message I’m seeing and hearing a LOT lately, and if you are not a believer and have found yourself exasperated with Christians, let me encourage you. I think the Christian Church is being called out on the floor for some very wrong attitudes and priorities. Not all will heed the call. But I anticipate some amazing spiritual growth which will bring healing and reconciliation in many torn communities around the world. And THAT is exciting.
That was a lot. Like I said…a little manic. I have sooo much to learn, and believe me when I say most of my excitement is there because I myself am being convicted and changed in big ways. If ever you sense self-righteousness in my soapboxes, please don’t read it that way…my desire is only to share my encounters with truth, one seeker to another, just as I enjoy learning from the encounters of others.
Peace to you. And on the way out, here’s something to lighten the mood. We were eating at Rudino’s recently, and some poor guy sits down behind us with his newspaper…clearly, he doesn’t get that you don’t get to enjoy a quiet read and meal when you are seated next to five children and two frazzled adults. Well, Sam (2yo) finishes his pizza and climbs down to create some mayhem (big brother Zach was already initiating a precarious climb of stacked booster seats by the wall) and positions himself behind my back in front of this gentleman. He then proceeds to say in a loud voice: THAT GUY POOOOOOPED.
I won’t go into how I felt in that moment or what words were hissed in an effort to force an audible Statement of Retraction from the toddler.
Sigh. What fun.