Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beauty in the Mystery

I don't get poetry.

Really, I don't.

I have some friends who are quite good at it though. My friend Rachel is a crazy poet, I always call her a hippie, but it's all in good fun. She doesn't actually smoke weed...that I know of.

I read her blog often, and she is always spilling forth with some sort of short poem or flowing stanza, or whatever other words English majors may use to describe these sorts of things.

To me the difficulty with poetry, or anything that is defined as art really, is that there is structure, and yet you cannot define it. What I mean by that is that, there is often some form of rule or law that governs the form, and yet the form cannot be contained by the law.

It's the nature of creativity.

It drives me nuts because it's not predictable.

Or maybe, the real reason is that I have about as much poet within me as Michael Jackson had natural Caucasian. The result of trying to be something I'm not created to be is just comical...

Who knows?

However, I do love watching others who take a passion of theirs and make it purely their own, much like my friend Rachel the hippie does. :)

You may notice that I reference Donald Miller quite often in this blog, please get used to it; Don is pretty much one of my heroes, although he doesn't know it...

I feel that this truth he presents in his book, Blue Like Jazz, really captures the essence of why I don't get poetry, yet how I should approach matters of faith in God...

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Baghdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way."

Shouldn't this be the way of faith?

I have many friends who don't see life the way I see it. They can't grasp the concepts of God and Jesus, and the whole thing just seems to far fetched to them.

My friends aren't any less intelligent than I am, some of them are downright brilliant! They have helped me see life in many different ways, through many different paradigms. Knowing them has helped me in so many ways, it is virtually indescribable!

It occurred to me today that the story of Jesus isn't a story about proving something to people.

His mission contained purpose and, above all, love for all people. When he interacted with others he presented his message, but He wasn't consumed with pointing out other's faults. He wasn't concerned with demonstrating his elaborate knowledge.

Paul writes in Philippians that he instead took on the nature of a servant.

Humility, apparently, is a characteristic that even God gives reverence to.

Humility is not beneath God.

Jesus' teaching was most effective when the individual realized that they were missing something. When they realized they weren't completely whole. They asked Jesus. They came to Him seeking guidance, because they knew He was different.

Jesus didn't browbeat anyone (even the religious people whom he was harshest on) into His way of thinking...

It makes me wonder how church culture has missed the boat.

I mean, upon hearing the words: religious, evangelical, or even Christian, I find myself having a hard time not shuddering.

I don't believe Jesus came to be an evangelist.

Isn't that weird?

I think this is true though, Jesus didn't come to be "Mr. super pastor"; he didn't care whether the masses joined his congregation, said his prayer, drank his communion. It was about bringing life to the individual. Edifying them. Bringing them on a journey from death to life. From the grave to rebirth. Renewal.

Do you remember what he did feel about the masses?

Just before feeding the 5,000 the scripture says that Jesus looked out at the great crowd and felt compassion for them. They were like sheep without a shepherd.

Deep, full, loving.

I can almost see it...can you? A father, looking out of a skyscraper, and seeing his child wandering the street. Alone in a sea of hardened and uncaring faces.

Searching for him.

The father elects, not to stay aloof and wait for his child to find their way home alone (which they may never do), but instead he comes down and offers them the path home. He extends his hand and offers for the child to take it.

It's beautiful really.

A beauty that is lost in this thing that we call "church."

You see, the early church wasn't about an institution. The phrase "going to church" was non-existent, because church has never implied institution. Church is the "body" of Jesus, or the physical presence of those who believe in Jesus on earth, if you will.

Church isn't a building.

It's a presence.

It is the presence of God amongst humanity.

This is what it means to be a Christ follower.

To love, in physical, tangible ways others on this planet who need to know that God loves them and wants them to come home. To be with him again.

Which makes me wonder, if those who follow Jesus stopped focusing on doing and saying the "right" things, the things which would make others see Jesus as they do, and started focusing instead on loving Him deeply how would the world begin to look?

Would it be a worse place?
More authentic?
Would more people find the truth of Jesus' message?

Maybe, the world must first watch those who follow Jesus, love him first before they can love him too...

Maybe God would begin to resolve for others who see the love of God being reflected through his church, his body.

It's like jazz. Or poetry.

Everything won't always resolve in the human mind, but there is undeniable truth just waiting to be grasped. It is accessible to all and at it's heart is love.

Pure, reckless, crazy love.

1 comment:

rkaiser said...

hmmm...would I happen to be the hippie you speak of? poetry's been lacking lately, but my hope is that if i just write a bunch, at least some of it will be decent. and, like you allude to, it's part of my spirituality. :) thanks for writing my friend!