Here’s a quote that has really made me think about how I am to people who haven't embraced Jesus...
Behind the prescriptions and prognostications, behind the doubts and defeatism, beyond the debates about emerging churches and postmodern contexts is something that I think pleases Jesus: hunger. Hunger for deeper, wider and higher community that genuinely and organically transforms the communities we belong to and the ones that surround us. I see hunger for something beyond the individualized, self-absorbed, bloated faith that is common fair for most churches.
I have come to realize, especially as I lie down to sleep at night under warm blankets on a cold night and pray a prayer of thanks to God, that I am part of a church that is often part of the problem for why people feel less than compelled to embrace a relationship with Jesus. Please don’t get me wrong. I love the Church and believe that it is loved by Jesus with all its failings and shortcomings. And I believe that the church exists as a sign of Jesus’ kingdom (don’t have time to explain that one completely right now – even if I could). But sometimes I think – and I understand this to be truth for me – that we are a little too comfortable and settled. And let me put that back in the first person – I’m too comfortable and settled. And that’s why I think I am part of the problem.
If you want to know what is growing inside of me, as a person and a follower of Jesus, let me say it this way: Hunger. For me the growing hunger that is growing inside of me is for the shape of my life to take on more the same shape of the life of Jesus. Now that scares the “be-Jesus” out of me more than a little bit. It actually freaks me out! Because that means some things have to change in me – and some of that I can see and some of that, I’m sure, I cannot yet see. But if I were to put it into a humongous nutshell, I’d say that the large thing that needs to change in me is to become a person who can take on what Jesus did – a cross. (The fatalism that suddenly creeps in for me right now as I write that statement is that I fail miserably trying to take on the shape of the cross for my closest relationships.)
If I were to put the growing hunger growing inside of me more specifically, then I would say that it is a hunger to let nothing of my present life stand in the way of connecting more people to the Jesus I am learning more about. If you are a non-believer reading this piece, I want you to hear that I’m really striving to create a space for genuine searching. Part of the reason for that is, even though I have chosen to be a follower of Jesus and signed on the proverbial dotted line, I’m still genuinely searching, too.
I think what that quote has gotten me to thinking about is that I hear a kindred spirit. I, too, am hungering for “deeper, wider and higher community that genuinely and organically transforms the communities we belong to and the ones that surround us.” I'm blessed to be a part of a church, that may not get it all right all the time, but has a growing hunger for the same thing. I'm blessed.
And so, I’m willing – and praying as I lie down to sleep at night under warm blankets on a cold night and pray a prayer of thanks, to take some risks to make that happen. If you’re hungry, I invite you to join me.