Monday, December 14, 2015

Living Justice

I've had a lot of conversations recently over liberalism versus socialism versus capitalism versus anarchy and I realize that people who cling to economic ideologies with a passion do so because they believe it's their only hope for being treated fairly in life

This breaks my heart because that is the job of the church and I believe that history has taught us that choices of the privileged to impart dignity to and provide opportunities for the oppressed are the only ones that matter in the sphere of economics.

We live in a country where minorities have become desperate for legislative validation - for the government to be on their side - because the conservative majority is not. This is disgusting. God sees this and, I believe, is literally disgusted by the attitude of the privileged who become comfortable in their position and choose to make personal decisions that hurt the disadvantaged.

In your personal life, remember the world where you did not grow up - the world where kids get home from school and there is no food in the house, or they grew up on convenience store food because there's no grocery store near them; the world where education is the last thing on a kid's mind because they have to worry about their drug-addicted parents, the apartment they'll soon be evicted from, the siblings depending on them for protection or provision.

If you love God it is your responsibility to listen to the cries He hears. I don't want to say "we're all really bad at doing our Christian duty and we need to do better" because I don't want to ignite any legalistic emotions of self-shaming. But do what you can right now to help. Educate yourself about the situation of the poor and oppressed. Learn what is going on around you. Learn what really helps - I am not talking about donating to soup kitchens, although that isn't a bad thing. And if you are really tugged to this direction, enter a segment of the workforce or a nonprofit that is dedicated to taking care of God's hurting children.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Somewhat Meta Post

"Creative Blog Title Here!" blogger offered me, as I logged in to the wrong account again - the one I don't have any blogs on.

I remember slowly the desolation of my teenage years in which I desperately wanted to write something online that was significant. That would get readers. That would mean something to someone.

I couldn't think of anything.

"Creative Blog Title Here!" it said. Like it is just that easy.

I happened to see that just as I had finished writing this on my facebook posting an updated picture of my novel progress.

Creativity is anything but cheap. Everyone will not have the strength to do it.

If you want something, go for it. But don't imagine it will be easy. Or that progress will be clearcut. Or that hitting word goal for the day will mean satisfaction.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

"Don't Judge Me" - Whiny Excuse or Generational Subtext?

Generational differences and generational communication gaps intrigue me, especially as an obstruction of harmony between Christians and towards those outside the church. Often these misunderstandings result in blaming and complaining instead of cooperative progress.
One of familiar negative stereotypes about our generation is their propensity to scream "don't judge me!" in response to having their flaws pointed out (by anybody, in any context).
Although the phrase is sometimes used as an excuse not to engage in positive change, it is still worth listening to in such situations because it indicates a need for support and compassion. People who ask not to be judged clearly feel they are being rebuked coldly by someone who does not care for their wellbeing. 
I believe that what is often viewed as a secular attitude of moral ambiguity may actually be more of a crying-out for a true Christian response that overrides the legalism of much of the Christian population. People who use the phrase "don't judge me" may think they are asking for moral ambiguity, but actually they are just expressing a human need for compassion and understanding that they should be receiving from the church at large and on an individual level, but are not.
Often we look at the culture's moral downfall as a problem of the culture itself. We might imply or say outright, "Why can't you stop being so sinful? God will send you to hell for your rebellion." But not only will the suffering find such antagonism irritating and degrading, they will frame their own negative attitude as a result of our own failure to represent Christ properly - and who can blame them?
I believe it is God's job to convict people, while we recognize the turning of a culture to sin as an answer to questions and anxieties inside themselves as a problem that we as representatives of Christ's message should be addressing, but are not.
Moral ambiguity in the culture and manifestations of it like the "don't judge me" attitude are not, as they seem, a request for a lack of accountability. Nobody truly wants to be free from standards of good behavior, and if they think they do, they soon find out just how far their new "freedom" will take them. Rather the plea to avoid judgment is a recognition of common humanity and an expression of the need for a safe place in order to grow.

If we represent the joy and peace that God brings instead of the antagonism and angst that the actions of others provoke, I believe God will have space to work in the hearts of the "don't judge me" generation.

They will find the earthly image of Him attractive instead of repulsive. They will begin to see belief in God as an answer to their problems - of identity, of helplessness, of insecurity, of aloneness - all these feelings that contribute to the need to cry "Don't judge me, I'm still figuring it out" - instead of an aggravation of these issues.
When the voice of the church says "I will judge you because that is what God tells me to do so you can get over it," then individuals who feel they cannot define themselves and who are searching for answers will not come to the church.

They will go somewhere else. They will go to politicians, or doctors, or social movements. This is a tragedy, because these groups and individuals largely end up exploiting people and their ideals in order to accomplish their own agendas; little true healing occurs, and more bitterness grows in the hearts of those seeking meaning for their lives.
When the voice of the church says "We will live and learn with you. We love our community and we will love you" there will no longer be a need to snap "don't judge me." Because the fearful, closeted, insecure, confused will know they have a safe place in the church. They will not feel they have to leverage politically to attain a safe place. They will have one already and they will have it in the place where they really will find answers.