Aug 24, 2006

jaded hope

I'm hearing a common word in a lot of conversations I have with people these days about the church.

(Yes... this is another post about the church. Sue me, but I am passionate for it in all its flawed beauty.)

The word I hear a lot is "jaded."

It's a good word to describe a number of things, from hard experiences we may have been through to the cynicism we all can feel for very legitimate reasons. It's so odd how often I hear this language used when people are trying to articulate where they are now... and yet they don't really want to stay there..

Honestly, I can probably use this word, too.

So this post isn't a criticism in any way, but rather a small slice of perspective. One of my favorite authors/speakers/thinkers is the late Mike Yaconelli. Check out one of his thoughts on this matter:

"The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The Church is not made up of the whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us."
- Mike Yaconelli
Good call. We don't live in a perfect world.

At least, not yet. That's the thing we have to remember.

The wounds may seem real, but in the end God is "more Real" than the wounds. Most of the negative thinking that people have about Jesus is often never because of Jesus but because of those who claim to follow him. Heaven is when "church gets it right" and we get to enjoy our Creator and each other in a context we currently have to labor for. In the meantime we're constantly working our way to that moment and shouldn't expect a full on heavenly perspective to happen just yet.

Perhaps glimpses, but never perfection.

At least, not yet.
And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created
all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind thescenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels! (Ephesians 3:8-10, MSG)


Dakotaranger said...

I know that on my blog I come across as jaded at times, but in reality poorly healed would be the correct way of putting it.

Having lost a ton of things in life, I personally cannot grasp the idea of grace because it violates my hearts desire for justice. I see other Christians falsely extend grace when it violates everything God has stated and I'm looked down on.

The funniest thing I have ever seen was in bible study when we were reading about Annais and Saphira. The question I posed was "God gave Saphira a chance to back out of her sin, but struck dead Annais with out a chance of repentance." The one time I did extend grace and everyone thought it was the dumbest thing.

Part of the trouble with grace is the criminal justice education, the killing of my dad, and dealing with other hurt people.

Everyone cries for peace and barely anyone cares about justice. With the lack of justice, I guess I just get more jaded.

Tony Myles said...

Good call, bro. A lack of justice is what leads to feeling jaded, which would imply that things being justified would release all of that.

And yet I think grace does the same thing... only without the Hollywood ending (and I mean that in the most secular sense).

Both are biblical, for God taught "an eye for an eye" before he taught "love your enemies." Yet both are true in context, for "an eye for an eye" was to limit retribution (not demand it) so that we might one day "love our enemies."

That's the hard part of Christianity for me some days.

Love God? Sure.
Love my neighbor. Okee-dokee.
Love those who hurt me?

Um... let me get back to you on that one.

Yet that's exactly what Jesus does for us.

Perhaps that's why whenever I drift from reading the Bible regularly I start to drift emotionally, too. I forget what he's done for me and so I begin to stop extending that out from a genuine place.

It sounds like you have some very real wounds... for what it's worth, I'm so sorry to hear that. Perhaps one day God will personally extend justice and grace your way in the same breath.

bjk said...

love the direction of this blog.....

broken people tend to just mess things up you know....and yet He never gives up on us....

Jim and Jaena said...

I, too, struggle with justice...but one thing that keeps me from becoming jaded (I hope) is the parable of the unforgiving servant. I was reading it just the other day and was reminded that if God practiced complete just with me, I would never know grace or forgiveness, only shame and (eventually) death.

I'm not saying it's easy or issues don't resurface at times, but the story reminds me to forgive again...and again...and again.

Jim and Jaena said...

oops, I meant, "...if God practiced complete justice with me..." Should have proofed better before hitting "Login and Publish."

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

While we are concerned with the "Great Commission" we must remember that Christ gave us the "great commandment" first.

Our churches certainly need to remember that.

Garrick D. Conner said...

You know, it really is difficult to serve in the church without somehow becoming at least a little disillusioned. The power and politics gets really old. I guess when that dynamic goes away I'll know for sure I'm in heaven.

I really feel for people who are new to church and have to sort out some of the mixed messages for themselves.

Tony Myles said...

And yet those are the people who keep us alive... their baby skin allows the bruised hearts under our rough shells to become tender again.