Changing The Conversation
We're on the home stretch friends. 2020 will soon be a memory and largely a pretty bad one at that.
I wish that everything would be suddenly different after the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, but I'm pretty sure that it won't be. There are more bright days ahead of us than behind us at this point, which is comforting... but we need to be realistic.
There are still so very many people who have become so twisted up in unreality, disinformation, and outright lies that it's nigh to impossible that we're ever going to see anything that resembles unity for a while.
Lest you think I am wallowing in misery over this--I'm not exactly.
It bothers me, don't get me wrong. But I believe that there is a way forward beyond the false dichotomies we've created, the gross demonizations of one another we perpetuate, and all of the destructive ways we seem so invested in winning at all costs.
I'm currently reading Richard Rohr's latest book The Wisdom Pattern, which is a reworking of a book he wrote in 2001---updated in 2020 for our current context.
This quote from the book really spoke to me this morning:
It's true that lots of folks are angry and alienated and have something to say about it, but we've got to listen to some greater minds, some greater hearts, some greater would who are not just caught up in self-expression (this is me) but are also addressing the greater issues (this is us) and, especially the Great Patterns that are always true.
The problem is, far too many of the folks who are "angry and alienated" are also self-professed Christians. So for a lot of people who aren't religious, these angry and alienated people embody Christianity, and consequently, they want nothing to do with it.
I've been saying for some time now that if there is going to be a real transformation in our troubled culture, it will need to begin with those of us who see our Christian faith differently than the angry and alienated crew.
It's time for us to move beyond the simplistic and unhelpful either/or categories that seem to dominate so much of our conversations about the Christian faith lately. And it's also time for us to start sharing our stories more openly and honestly.
The best way to do this is to simply change the conversation.
You can do this today. Begin sharing what God has done in your life. Tell your stories. Demonstrate that there is a more excellent way to follow Jesus. Live into the Great Patterns of dying and rising, repentance and grace, peace, and hope even in the midst of chaos...
There are people watching who need to know that there is a better story than the one they've been sold on social media or the incessant babble of cable news.
They need to know that God is for them... that Christ is alive and present in the world... that there is more to Christianity than the exclusive, angry portrait they've seen painted.
Let's make 2021 the year that we turn the tide, and begin changing hearts and minds about what it really means to follow Jesus. It's time.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.