awakenings (part 1)…

we are about to hit a number milestone on Outside the Walls.  not that it is a huge deal…but certainly something of which we would like to thank YOU for.  as soon as this blog is posted…we will hit the 10,000 views mark.  so…thanks for being a part of the conversation and the larger Kingdom movement that we find ourselves in.  in celebration…i thought that it may be a good idea to ring in 10,000 with a zinger…so here goes.

i brought out the big, decorated board with a variety of colors and designs.  our volunteer had her eyes closed so as to not see what was on the board.  we put our volunteer into place…with her nose firmly planted against the board and then i asked her to open her eyes. 

“what do you see?”, I asked.

the volunteer replied after a few moments of silence, “uh, scribbles, colors…i don’t know.”

it was apparent to everyone else in the room, who had a much better vantage point, that the volunteer was so close to the board that she could not see the most obvious characteristic of it…the three foot tall word “HOPE” that encompassed the entire board.

as we asked the volunteer to take a step backward and get a better view…she was very quick to see what she was unable to see before…even though everyone else could see it the entire time.

the point of this exercise was to show how…too many times…in our suffering we get so lost in it that we can’t see that there is still hope in the middle of it.  further…it takes people who have been through similar suffering before, and who have a much broader perspective than we do, to help us see the hope that we cannot see ourselves.

while this particular entry isn’t about suffering…i believe the same principle holds true in most aspects of our lives.  sometimes we get so locked into a particular persepective that we have a hard time stepping back from it to see things differently.  many times…we are just like our volunteer…we see squiggle lines and colors…and we either miss the bigger picture or our perspective is limited.  that doesn’t make anyone a bad person…it just means that there may be things we have grown up believing or taking for granted that may not be the most complete picture of reality.

the really tough thing is that most of us really do not like to change our view or perspective.  we have come to like the squiggles and colors…because we don’t know any other view exists.  when someone who has taken a few steps back from the picture offers up a different perspective…our defenses go up and we fight to protect our perspective.

my hope and prayer with this particular blog is that you will see me as someone who had my nose against board…only seeing the squiggle lines and colors…but also as someone who has taken a step back to see a much bigger and more beautiful picture than i ever knew existed.  i hope that i can help you take a step back too… 

about ten years ago a friend and i believed that we should start an organization called Taking Back America.  we believed that the very best thing for America would be for Christians to mobilize politically by making a stronger united effort to influence our governments, schools, and other institutions “for the cause of Christ.”  we were very excited about this endeavor and were planning to have a huge kick-off event with some national political speakers who were Christians and some major label Christian musical acts.

as the planning was underway and a few speakers had already committed…i began to contact a particular artist management company to line-up a musician.  i spoke to several different people at this company and told them all about what we were doing and why we were doing it.  i sent them all of our information and they told me that they would get back with me.  but…they never did.

frustrated…as this was the last piece of the puzzle we needed to begin promoting the event…i called the agency back to find out what was taking so long.  the lady whom i had been contacting over the previous weeks finally passed the call over to the head of the agency.  the conversation we had frustrated and confused me.

the director started by saying that he did not believe that the musician we were trying to book necessarily agreed with what we were doing.  perplexed…i asked him to be more specific.  he said that neither he…nor the musician…believed that it was a good thing for Christianity to advance politically by the means we were suggesting OR that America necessarily had to be “taken back for Christ.”  i continued to press him because i did not understand what he was saying…it was not computing.  i could not imagine that there would be such a person who did not believe that Christians ought not take America back and “restore it to the Christian values and ideals that we once had.”

even more frustrated…i asked how exactly we ought to move forward as Christians in America if we are not to do it politically.  he told me something i will never forget.  he said, “the Kingdom of God is not dependant upon any political or governmental institution to move forward.”

that was the first time that anyone who had a very different perspective of the way and life of Jesus had confronted me on my limited perspective of how a Christian should think, act, and behave in our country.  i was ANGRY that day.  i would have socked that guy in the mouth if i had been in the same state as him!  how dare him challenge my perspective that is SO obvious and such a good thing for our country!  how dare him challenge a viewpoint that is shared by SO MANY Christians i know!  how dare him think he knows something that i don’t already know!  even in my anger…i had to at least admit that my view may be limited because i had never known or heard anything else.  i very well may have been standing too close to see the full picture.  i later found out that i was indeed standing too close…

the questions kept bothering me… what is this Kingdom of God that this guy kept referring to?  how might it give me a different view or perspective on how i view who Jesus was and what he was doing?  how might this information actually change how i view my life and life in general?  am i brave enough to seek, ask, and knock…even if it turns my entire world upside-down?

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One thought on “awakenings (part 1)…

  1. When you mentioned people being defensive of their perspective I thought of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave; “Wouldn’t he remember his first home, what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow prisoners, and consider himself happy and them pitiable? And wouldn’t he disdain whatever honors, praises, and prizes were awarded there to the ones who guessed best which shadows followed which? Moreover, were he to return there, wouldn’t he be rather bad at their game, no longer being accustomed to the darkness? “Wouldn’t it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it’s not even worth trying to go up? And if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead up, wouldn’t they kill him?” I feel like this illustrates why the Kingdom message is more effective anywhere but a good ole church.

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