It’s all about me . . .
Yeah. I’ll admit it. It’s all my fault. When I hear about the atrocities occurring all over the world – often at the hands of other men – it befuddles me. When I hear that Muslims are being slaughtered in Darfur, Sudan by the tens of thousands, I wonder “how could anyone DO that? “
It angers me. It confounds me. It frightens me.
And then, I go off on a prideful kick. As if these men committing such atrocities are any different than I am. They are fathers, and brothers, and sons. They are doctors and lawyers and waiters. They are big and tall and average-sized. They are humans. Just like me. They have the same needs as I do, and the same desires.
Every year at Cedar Ridge, they take a few notable movies made in the previous year and discuss the spiritual themes in them. This year’s “God in the movies” series started off on Sunday with “Hotel Rwanda” – the snapshot of an ordinary man (a hotel manager) and his quest to save innocent lives in a massacre that scarred the world – not not only because of the great loss of life (estimated at nearly 800,000 Tutsis) – but because the all-powerful West stood by and did nothing about it. Despite the fact that they knew it was happening, they still ignored the entire situation. More than ignored it – they suppressed information about it so that there would be no outcry and subsequent pressure TO do something about it. President Clinton stated that standing idly by was the biggest mistake of his Administration.
Brian gave a great sermon. I think what struck me most were his comments about the polarization of “sin” in churches. The more conservative churches like to focus on “personal sin” (i.e., lying, cheating, drinkin’ and lustin’, etc.), while the more liberal churches tend to focus on “social sins” (like injustice, inequality, etc.). Yet Christ never made such a dissection.
And then the Holy Spirit started doing some work, as it became painfully obvious to me that *I* am part of the equation – part of the system that results in genocides and poverty and all the rest. Certainly, I would never pick up a machete and start hacking away at my neighbors . . . or would I?
I’ve never committed murder . . . never really even thought about it. But I AM a selfish bastard! The world is really about me, me, me. What if I put together a fistful of selfish people, what would happen? Selfishness begins to be institutionalized – part of our everyday world. Our culture is built on a system that is sinful. One tiny, personal sin suddenly has profound effects when generalized.
Suddenly, the Hutus don’t seem like such horrible people. Suddenly my own sin seems just the same as theirs. Suddenly I see how much my actions help promulgate a system whose only result could be poverty, genocide, and destroying the earth.
And then Jesus Christ starts to make sense. For what hope could there possibly be about such evils? Perhaps a system that’s profoundly different. Asystem built upon principles of justice, and honor, and peace, and personal righteousness? Sounds a lot like what our Lord offered us long ago in what He called “the Kingdom of Heaven”.
I want to see a change in the world. Jesus came to redeem ALL of this mess! And I realize for that to happen, it takes a change in huge social/political structures AND it takes a change in me.
It’s not enough to just be “good”. It’s not enough to merely feed the poor. What’s needed is a Kingdom. If I want to see the Kingdom come, it must be in me, and it must go well beyond me.
Hmmm . . . have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE my church?? We’re going on 4 months now, and not a single dry-eyed Sunday yet Thanx for always making me cry, Brian. More than that, thanks for being a great example of humility and meekness, yet strength and honor.
Anywho . . . the weekend was super great! I got to go home and start a conversation with the ‘rents. A conversation that I hope to continue for many, many years to come. It’s the beginning of me being ME – not anyone else’s expecation of me. It’s the beginning of me showing the world who I am. I know that they may not agree with many of my decisions, nor with how I see the world. That is fine. For conversation isn’t about changing each other’s minds, it’s about expressing who we are. And I’d rather be me and disagreed with, than something fake in order to make sure everyone’s still smiling.
Church – as you could tell above – was awesome. It absolutely wrecked me! LOL. I hate being convicted of sin . . . it hurts I love being convicted of sin . . . it’s liberating
Afterwards, went out to lunch w/ Asians ‘R’ Us, and had some yummy dimsum. Then I went and did something really cool that I’ve been wanting to do for YEARS! (Thanks Jane and Diem for pushing me past my cowardice ). Then we went to see “The Fog”. If you’re wise, you won’t waste your time No plot, nominal special effects, no character development. I couldn’t even have a lot of great laughs (like in “The Ring”), b/c it was SO stupendously stupid! And Tom Welling wasn’t even that hot! LOL. For future reference, Tom, brush your hair and shave, my friend. It’s a much better look for you And for the record, Selma Blaire, you do NOT have a sexy radio voice! You’re still cool though, so I’ll forgive this one.