Thursday, March 14, 2013

"We Need Boring Christians"

Recently one of my college pastors posted this on Facebook and, being a fan of Relevant Magazine, I decided to give it a read. It is an article titled "We Need Boring Christians" and struck me in ways I maybe didn't think possible through a simple online, rather short, article.

So often I struggle with what God has called me to and, for those that maybe follow, we have seen the change in my life over the past few months as I changed my area of focus at school to look at issues of child trafficking in Haiti and I got married. Lots of good changes, but I still struggled with where God calls me to be, what He calls me to do, and how Abbey and I can be open to God's calling for our lives. As the author states:

"Radical is in my resume. Radical is part of our calling. But radical can be dangerous."

 I too used to think I had to be radical to be the person Christ wants me to be. You read books such as Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and believe that the only way to be part of the Kingdom is to sell everything you own, move overseas, and live a complete life of poverty. Granted, there is nothing wrong with that and if God calls us to it, we are open to it. But there is so much more to living a radical faith in our own lives, in our own towns.

I currently live with my wife and beagle in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. I am right on the outskirts of Akron and only 1/2 hour south of Cleveland. You know what? This area needs Jesus and needs help just as bad as Africa, just as bad as Haiti, and just as bad as any other place you can name. Crime runs rampant, homeless people are all over the street (even more than in Pittsburgh, where I'm originally from), and there is so much hurt in the world around me. I, along with working on my Ph.D., am teaching a lecture of "Physical Geography" to 105 students and, not surprisingly, these students need Jesus as well. I had a revelation the other day as I was so mad grading papers. The students don't listen, they don't follow papers, and I found myself sinking into anger which was vastly affecting their grades. I was not being Jesus to these students. In a world of broken homes, taboo religious subjects, murders, famine, and many people just need someone to be Jesus for them. Be the eyes, the ears, and the heart of Christ here on Earth so that, through us, the Light of the Gospel can begin to shine through.

Being radical can be as simple as serving on the parking team at your church, serving with students, getting a cup of coffee with a hurting friend, or lending an open ear or a helping hand to someone in need (whether you know them or not). We see a car stranded on the side of the road and we talk ourselves out of stopping to help them until, eventually, you're too far away or already at your destination and can't rationalize that "Oh, someone must have stopped to help them by now." Being radical means being Jesus in a world that doesn't know Jesus. Sharing the Gospel at all time. A common quote used by pastors (whether some say he said it or didn't), comes from St. Francis of Assisi to "Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words." (I love this quote, especially in light of the fact that yesterday they chose the new Pope, Pope Francis I). There is this calling and this longing, regardless or whether you're Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, or consider yourself non-denominational, to be Jesus to people, to show Him in all we do, to be a living representation of the Gospel.

I can do it here in Ohio, I can do it in Pittsburgh, I can do it in Haiti, I can do it as I drive to school everyday and practice being a patient and courteous driver (which rarely happens, much to my sadness). Being radical doesn't take you to radical places, but puts you in a radical mind frame that everything you do it meant to further the Kingdom. To do anything other than that which God has called you to do, is a sin. I prayed for God to open up avenues and ways of knowing what I should be studying in school. He made it clear I am to look at child trafficking in Haiti. To do anything else, is a sin. 

We live in a mundane culture that normalizes us, controls us, and calls us to just be "part of the system." We are teachers, accountants, students, parents, siblings, friends....we get up and do our daily tasks forgetting that, first and foremost, we are the Bride of Christ, called to a life devoted to furthering the Gospel and loving the Lord. We are Christians, who happen to teach. Christians, who happen to be accountants. Christians, who are friends, siblings, students, and more. Being radical, in amongst the "mundane", can not only be eye-opening, but could also be our calling. 

Let me know your thoughts, friends.

1 comment:

  1. Back in 1997-98 (I don't remember the exact year) I prayed that God would let me do SOMETHING BIG for Him. I want my life to count for something and not just waste it away. So far, in my life, I haven't seen anything profound but I don't see life in the same dimension as God. He sees the "behind the scenes" and maybe, just maybe, when I get to heaven, I will get to see the BIG thing I did for Him that just seemed like a regular, old mundane life to me. In the meantime, I pray "Use me, Lord. I am willing to be used by You and for You!" (Love ya, Cory!) - Mom #2