Friday, November 25, 2011

Breaking the power hierarchies

I've decided that Jesus was a hipster. But the very best of hipsters. not the snobbish, "I'm so much better than you because I'm environmentally-friendly for not showering for 3 weeks", kind of hipster. But the counter-cultural, I'm going to break the social conventions, kind of hipster. And what better kind of hipster is there?

Story time: A very lovely young man told me like I was like a lovely princess the other day. funny enough, I was utterly offended. I didn't say so, cause I knew his intentions behind saying such a thing (and he's a little eccentric in the first place), but I nonetheless was thinking "ew."

I think that power is one of the worst social constructions within the world. We have these made up hierarchies based on whimiscal characteristics of a person. Someone wealthier than someone else now is 'above me.' Someone 'smarter' is 'above me.' (note: knowledge itself is subjective and constantly changing). Someone with more life experience is 'above me.' Something with higher morals is above me. And, if you don't mind my feminist and anti-racial rants, someone who is a 'man' and 'white' is above me. Ew.

Imagine a world where everyone stood on equal footing. Where we saw a person not for how they looked, what their gender was, how educated they were, how they dressed, how they talked, how much income they had, but instead, discarded it all and treated them like... I don't know... a human. Like myself, or yourself, or ourselves.

Jesus was a total power-crusher. Look at John 4 and the story of Jesus with the Samaritan woman. Here's a woman from an 'enemy' culture, a gender that is far below males (obviously) to the point that women were not allowed to speak to men, nor vice-versa, and from a religion that was considered evil. Add to it that she's had five husbands and is living with her sixth lover out of wedlock. This woman comes to get some water, in the high sun so that there's probably no one else around, and then sees this Jewish man. She's probably a bit taken aback to see a Jew in her community first, but goes about her business anyway, expecting no trouble since she'd normally be ignored.

But Jesus, being his amazing divine self, is like, "Yo - I'd love some water." First, he just talked to a woman (shocker!) and second, by drinking the water, he's going to be considered unclean to enter the Jewish temples. ScAN-du-lous! All this saying that by the end of the story, she's been told that he knows about her past, her lifestyle, he knows her standing in society, but that he's the Messiah and wants to accept her into his revolutionary kingdom.

So awesome. That's my God. just breaking down the power structures. Loving us no matter what. Can I get an amen?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

I've been struggling with my faith lately. I keep looking around at the Christian church and then wonder how we're different than anybody else. In fact, there are a lot of really terrible things done in the name of Christ. Which I guess can be taken in two different ways: one is to look at the mistakes as proof that Christianity is a dead faith. The other is to look into the scriptures, see how very far those actions are from what the Bible says, and then be extra uber careful not to make the same mistakes in my own life.

The other part of my struggle is simply knowing that it's not only others that mess up in their faith, but myself. I'm certainly not perfect, and make mistakes all the time. It often makes me feel like perhaps God just doesn't want me anymore, that maybe I'm just too far gone. I think it's easy for me to look at myself, say that I'm so far from perfect, that I just don't belong.

Anyways, all these thoughts have passed through my mind before. But I was reminded the other day about something. God came to the world not to judge it, but to save it. "He so loved the world that he sent his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." The entire gospel is right there: that God knew who we were before he ever called us to Him. He knows that we're sinners, he knows that we're screw ups, he knows that we're going to make a heck of a lot of mistakes. He knew that before he died for us. He loved us that much. The gospel isn't about morality, about what I can do to get to heaven, but about what God did to allow me to get there. And that grace is what makes me love Jesus so much - that he actually DOES know everything about me, but wants me anyways. And so out of that love and debt that I owe him, I want to make him happy in any way possible. Unfortunately, I'm still a sinner and end up falling on my face in failure more often than not, but Jesus knows me well enough to also know that I'm going to mess up. But he died for me despite this knowledge - so may I never boast in anything but the cross of Jesus.

So there you go: It's about grace. I'm not saved by anything that I do or say, but rather by the grace that has filled me with the freedom to love and embrace everyone around me. Because no one is perfect. And that's the point.