Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beautiful. Outlaw

So you’re confused. Tired. Exhausted. Longing for more or something different but never really sure what that looks like. You’re done with trying, running, longing, serving, giving and making a new hundred-and-one resolutions to be better than who you are right now. Suffocating in religious legalism. Trying so hard to be average and yet constantly drowning in dreams to be larger-than-life. Stumbling along by experiencing Jesus only occasionally. Its like we’ve been going to school for a decade and yet remain illiterate. Or referring someone you love to a doctor and yet despite treatment they not only failed to recover from cancer but contracted HIV, hepatitis, and gangrene. A system of falsehood that disappoints frustrates and leaves you limping down a road of endless works. Consumed with a nonstop performance-orientated existence. Manipulated by preaches on faithfulness and commitment that has wound you into pleasing man for years by a good attendance schedule. Craving a genuine heart-altering life of impact. A life where people see Him and not you. A life where His life flows tangibly in and through you. You’re sick of the one stringed guitar, the note being banged out for years. The religious fog of a two-dimensional Jesus who is portrayed by a chorus of unanimous voices we no longer argue with. Our pet hamsters have more personality than the Christ we live for. Love and compassion are virtues that turn sickly sweet, soft and limp. We’ve created a vacuum in which we misunderstand him. Despite the vandalizing of Jesus Christ by religion and the world, he is still alive and very much himself. Jesus has a tone of voice, something deep in his eyes, the lift of an eyebrow, a suppressed smile, tilt of the head, an unflinching gaze. He is playful, cunning, fierce, impatient with all that is religious, kind, creative, truthful, blunt, emotional, nonmanipulative, sensitive, generous, compassionate, irreverent, intentional, funny, frequently embroiled in conflict – most of which he provokes himself (healing on the Sabbath). He’s found on the beach, catching his boys fishing, filling their empty nets and then having them to breakfast. The relief comes in like a sea breeze on a muggy summer day suffocating with the smell of mud and dead fish. Because it’s an answer to a question we didn’t dare ask – that God himself knows how and when to be playful. With us. He isn’t some religious, ethereal, ghost-like personality gazing off into realms unknown, the image of Christ conjured up by so many paintings and Sunday School art. He isn’t a bizarre interpretation. The Gospels are filled with beautiful and haunting descriptions of the humanity of Jesus. He is one mighty happy man. He is a man on a fire. He is a man on a mission. He is a man who needs to get away and have room to grieve. Life affected Jesus. He will always stop whatever he is doing to attend to someone in need. He never did anything halfheartedly. He is the man who conquered death, ransomed mankind, been restored to His father, his friends, and the world he made. He was the hunted who became the hunter, as Jesus was crucified and descended into hell personally to demand the keys from Satan. He faced a creature way more terrifying than anything you’ve met in your nightmares and makes him bend the knee. He is the afterglow of the greatest triumph of the greatest battle in the history of the cosmos. And he created laughter. Isaac means “laughter”. God gave that name to the son of the arthritic patriarch and his wrinkled wife.

We don’t need any more speculation and debate. 
We need the power of his indwelling life, shaping our personality, healing our brokenness, enabling us to live as he did.

We need Jesus himself.

And you can have him.


(Inspired by John Eldredge's book - "Beautiful Outlaw")