Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Sea Change

Today at band practice I worked on a rewrite of the song, "I have decided to follow Jesus." The band I play in at my church had a fun rendition with a blue grass feel, but it was not working. It was too cute. Anytime you need to take the balls off of something, make it adorable. Adorable is non-threatening, safe, pliable, plush. Adorable can be handled.
We modernized the song--it's decent (I'm probably better than average as a song writer but only if you count that guy over there who really sucks). The beauty of working on the song is that you have to face the lyrics, and they'll knock you on your ass.
I have decided Jesus to follow turning back.
The road behind me, the cross before turning back.
Though none go with me still I will turning back.
The Jesus you see in that song is less cute than the one I go to church with. That Jesus wouldn't take us on terrifying adventure and soul thrilling struggle under the burden of which strong men would turn back. Our Jesus is plush, not steel.
This is true for most guys I know...and I know good guys.
The problem is this: men are made to fight for Kingdom things. Three bad things have happened, either we a) Don't fight at all; b) Fight for stupid crap like pride, sex, and money, or c) Define the wrong stuff as working for the Kingdom.

C is the most important. We battle wrongly because we think wrongly of God. God is personal, but not private. Our theology of the Kingdom of God sucks right now. We talk about the Kingdom as a purely spiritual place (fundamentalist theology) or a purely physical place (liberation theology). Jesus Christ was sacramental. The eternal became flesh to transform the physical and in so doing the world was eternally changed.

Right now a popular book (That I own) is called "Every Man's Battle." What is every man's battle? Is it...I don't know...radically transforming this broken world so that widows and orphans are cared for, different kinds of people love each other, people are free, people have hope and joy and promise and are able to give their lives vocationally to causes they believe in and for all of this God gets the glory? Or maybe every man's battle is the internal struggle to find purpose in an increasingly disconnected world void of larger narrative. Or perhaps every man's battle is to live with honor. No's sex.

If generations are defined by the battles we fight I think we'll be on the B Team in eternity.

An impersonal God is a theory. A private God is self help. The God of the Bible is a hero.
When our theology embraces a purely private God we castrate faith.


Blogger Justin said...

Good god...there is more apparent wisdom in these last two posts then in everything I've written since high school. I really really hope you're right...

Thank you.


11:25 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Ryan, good sentiments. And now you have 2 unique commenters. God is transformational. Seeking to create man and woman as God intended them to be. I think I am less than a month away from starting my own blog. We'll see where Lent takes me. (oh, apparently i must join to post or I am too lazy to figure it out otherwise)

By the way, I saw herno the other day. He is doing well. I also saw justin's brother. It was at Mulligan's. I tried to call you.

10:34 PM  

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