Exploring the interplay between ortho-doxy (right belief) and ortho-praxy (right action)...

...and encouraging a life where these intertwined thoughts and deeds simply happen... by default.

29 April 2006

wanted: 'messy' relationships

I have a friend who has all but left the church...

The agenda of the churches has has been associated with has left him wanting...

Please read his cry for help written months ago...

life never stops...even if you do. People change, I change....the cycle of death and life doesn't just pertain to the physical....but also to relationships and friendship and even your own personal being...It's just strange I guess......I feel as though I'm outside of it all.....I just watch it all go by like telephone poles outside a car window...... gone as quickly as they come.... I've met some amazing people lately.... real genuine people that I'd love to get to know.... but somehow I am unable to cross the barrrier that seperates my life from theirs.....to break into their circles, their worlds....I live in a glass box.....people come and watch for a moment, for I am a novelty a new thing to enjoy, but the excitement soon fades and they walk away with those they love and I, I am unable to follow, bound by invisible contrainsts.... I'm sure all of you who are reading this think I'm crazy or could use some help, and perhaps I do....I admit that my life is a mess, and I know that I have made that mess myself.... I admit that I am not living up to my potential, that i could be so much more than I let myself be... But there is something invisible that holds me, something I cannot see...... I need help, perhaps that is the whole reason i write this... I need to know what true Christian love is again.... to know that there are people who won't just leave a comment that says "I know how you feel, I'm praying for you" which is a well and good....but the help I need is messy help, the kind of help that frodo gave to sam, and sam gave to frodo.... a single person or a group of people who realize the broken state that they are in....that do not sugar coat life and pretend to be better than they are.... I need real people.... I need to look behind the mask and not be repulsed by the ugliness within because I know that they see the ugliness in me since my mask lies shattered on the ground. I need to hold someone as they cry, and be held as my world collapses around me.... Please don't tell me, "well that's what Jesus is for..." Because all of you have the potential to be His arms....to be His voice....to be His eyes that weep along with me as we all walk through this thing called life. The answer does not lay within myself....trust me I've looked.... the answer lies in people.... all giving, all taking... all needing eachother... all knowing that we are all the same.... This is a bearing of my heart to all of you.... It is not me asking for answers.... It is just me wanting to see the real you.... and knowing that we'll all make it....broken, weary, worn down, crying and laughing at the same time at the sheer ridiculousness of the pain that we all have felt, but always knowing that there is someone there to pick us up when we fall, or to lay down in the mud right next to us willingly and just crying with us....... I suppose there is more....but this is enough for now....

from a naked heart,
(name removed to protect identity)

Before you try to prescribe the magic cure for my friend, please hear the honesty in his plea.

We certainly do need each other.

Do you know that? Let it sink in. Let it go deeper than just intellectually agreeing with the statement. Dare to think of things you participate in that actually hurt the nature of your relationships. Be honest with yourself. Take some time to do that now...

(really... stop what you're doing... think about it...)

Loving each other is not systematic. It is not regular, controllable or convenient (or as Derek Webb says, it is not efficient.) It is hopelessly random, uncomfortably personal, terribly schedule-wrecking and more importantly, it must be REAL. There are people in your life that need you. The opposite is also true. There are people in your life that don't need 'not' you.

Be real for someone.


3 April 2006

getting intimate in the garden

There's more to the Garden of Eden story than just apples, trees and snakes.

Adam and Eve had the most precious thing in existence: unhindered, unbroken and fully realised intimacy and union with God! What more could a human ask for? On top of that, they had a complete and totally healthy relationship between them!

Think of it. The First and Greatest Commandment AND the 'second' one. Done. But they wanted more. They bought the lie that they could be like God. This brought many consequences, but the one I'd like to highlight here has to do with the loss of intimacy.

Remember what Adam and Eve did right after sinning? Well, not only did they gain an ever-increased concern for their nakedness (resulting in the birth of the clothing industry), but they also did something that (at first) seems rediculous...

They hid from God. Isn't that just hilarious? I mean, why would you ever think that you could hide from God? And by the way, didn't they know they were naked all along? What's with the random fig-leaf fashion statement? What in the Garden of Eden is going on?

Question. What is the opposite of unbridled intimacy and joy in relationship with God and each other? Hiding. Adam and Eve 'hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.' (Gen. 3:8) Why did they do this? Adam explains for us a few verses later: he was afraid. Sin had put a barrier of fear between him and God. The secure bond of love and intimacy was shattered into the fearful isolation of guilt and shame.

We still experience these shattering effects today. Sin continues to make intimacy unbearable. Some of the hardest things to produce in humans are honesty, vulnerability and transparency. Recently I admitted to some friends that I like to keep people at arms length, so they don't see my faults. I prefer having a lot of acquantences rather than having a few really close, honest friends. After all, if I let someone get too close to me, they might love me enough to challenge, correct or sharpen me.

I must not allow this to happen.
I must protect myself from this every happening in my life.
I must keep my relationships shallow.
I must hide.
I must make myself a suit of fig-leaves.

Allow me to assert that in Christ we have no reason whatsoever to hide! The shattering effect of sin has been undone by the Cross of Christ! No guilt! No shame! No fear!

If only we would dare to believe that we are really, totally, wonderfully, perfectly and completely cleansed of our sins (past, present AND future) by the blood of Christ! If only we would dare to be intimate with each other! If only we would be real, honest, vulnerable and transparent!

Intimacy is not neat, organised or systematic. It's relational.
It's not expedient, efficient or entertaining. It's rough ground.
But most of all, intimacy means not hiding.

In Christ, we can have the confidence to know just a little of the freedom that Adam and Eve knew before they sinned;

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." - Genesis 2:25