Back in the saddle again

I think I have finally kicked the bug that I had last week. People at church yesterday were asking me if it was a cold or the flu or what . . . I told them that I think it was the Black Plague or something. It was horrible. But, enough complaining, I am feeling better and better, so hopefully I’ll stay well for a long time now.

Happy belated Easter to everyone. Resurrection Day. It is so interesting to me how a celebration so rooted in Christianity has become so secular. What would Easter be without an Easter basket, or chocolate Easter bunnies to bite the ears off of, or jelly beans to constipate you, or little yellow peeps to make stale and eat? But what would Easter be without the Resurrection? Funny, the latter just seems to lack the luster of the others . . . how sad.

It is disappointing to me to have grown up in a Christian sect that has for so long dissassociated themselves with the Easter celebration. I guess because Catholics celebrate it, we are destined to ignore it. It is such a paradox that good folks in Churches of Christ will buy Easter baskets for their kids, not to mention Christmas presents, but not celebrate the Resurrection the Sunday that it has been celebrated for over a millenium. I can smell the irony like a dirty sock. Easter is meant to be celebrated by God’s people. God is a God of celebration. Think of the Old Testament. The Jews were instructed to celebrate just about every few weeks. Passover, Jubilee, Yom Kippur . . . these were special days. God forbid we Christians have a special day.

Yesterday just epitomized for me the growing distaste I have for contemporary churches. Traditional, conservative churches are stuck in their ways, and they aren’t going to change even if God himself comes to change them. This is the kind of church that I grew up in. This is the kind of church that frustrates me to no end. But, this is not the church that I often find myself today. Now I see the contemporary/progressive churches causing other problems. They earnestly seek to be “modern” but I think they don’t often seek to be relevant and connecting. Contemporary churches like ours try to hard to fit in with the culture around us, that we can easily forget that we are called to look, speak, and act differently than those around us, and that is causing a great disillusionment for me.

I hunger and thirst to be part of a faith community that strives to be different from the world around itself. Mary Beth and I strive to be a family that looks differently from our neighbors and counterparts. We seek to embody the call of the Gospel in our livlihood. However, I seldom find support from our co-church members. There I see people who are extremely worldly, materialistic, and content with the “good life.” Dietrich Boenhoffer’s words often ring loudly in my mind, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Few Christians have heard the call to death. Instead they have heard the call to a life of wealth, comfort, and ease. The Christian eschatological vision has been comprimised by the American dream. Transformation and renewal have taken a backseat to progress and capitalistic drive.

Where are the people of God who are ready to give up their lives for the sake of the call? Where are those people who love God so much that even their families take second place? Where is the community of believers who take Christ’s commands to feed the hungry and care for the forsaken seriously? Where is the place where I can find people emboldened by the Spirit of God to come before Him boldly seeking his transforming presence?

This is the community I long for. These are the people I seek. That is the relationship I want. Christians . . . look at your faith. Are you serious about it? Is it something you are a part of . . . or is it something that has transformed the very heart of your being and has become your identity?

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