I needed a break so I went to New Mexico over the last 5 days to visit my very best friends and their two perfectly adorable boys. It's funny how a few people you love can bring you back to life.
I went hiking to the top of a mountain, ate lots of Mexican food (the good kind, New Mexican Mexican food), played cards, watched movies, and did lots and lots of talking and listening and laughing and loving. Something about holding a new baby, changing a poopy diaper, going to your friends parent's house and realizing you have family all over the country, sleeping in late, and NOT having to make the bed...it is just rejuvenating for me.
It reminded me of a passage in the book I am reading (Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne) about how Shane will only go to an event if they arrange for him to stay with a local family. He doesn't want a hotel room, just a family, just some community. And that's what this week was for me. A family. A community. I came with presents; they welcomed me with tacos, wine, kashi bars, clean sheets, pretty flowers, and a place in their hearts and lives for me.
This book is haunting me. I thought it would be a short read, in fact a few people who read it nonchalantly said, "Oh yea, I read that, it was a cool book." Really, there is nothing cool about this book. It is not just another read. If you can read these pretty prophetic and powerful words and come out the other side completely the same, there is something really wrong. In fact, if you can read this book and digest it in a few days, I would say you have read with the wrong set of eyeballs. You phonied your way through it. So reread it and stop being phony.
Turns out the words in this book are royally screwing me up.
I want to dive into this book over the next few days so I wanted to give you the chance to pick it up first. As far as books go, besides Atlas Shrugged and Embracing the Love of God...this book takes the cake for the most influential book in my life (OK, besides the Bible...for those of you who needed to hear that Sunday school answer confessed!). I encourage you to get a copy. Not because this man makes a dime off of it, he doesn't, all proceeds are donated...but I wonder how these deeply uncomfortable words will settle with you and how you will choose to respond? I wonder if you can tune it out? I cannot.
My favorite passage of the day is:
I had a college professor who said, "All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don't tiptoe."
Shane ends the page by saying:
God forgive us for all those we have lost because we made the gospel boring. I am convinced that if we lose kids to the culture of drugs and materialism, of violence and war, it's because we don't dare them, not because we don't entertain them. It's because we make the gospel too easy, not because we make it too difficult. Kids want to do something heroic with their lives, which is why they play video games and join the army. But what are they to do with a church that teaches them to tiptoe through life so they can arrive safely at death?
Thank you. Exactly. What makes me excited when we do shows at churches is not another cool youth building with lots of entertaining play stations and multi-million dollar rooms full of multi-media excess...but when I see people who believe that the message of Jesus is fulfilling enough. Churches that do not model how they can use their money on themselves and their entertainment and numbers strategies, but how they can inspire their people and send them out to use millions of dollars on others...people who really need it.
We do not need more entertainment. We need authenticity. I don't know about you, but I need something real. The way of Jesus is not easy, but it is beautiful, so right, and so deeply fulfilling... it cannot continue to be watered down. Shane Claiborne paints the most convicting and divine picture of this way of living, living like Christ. I hope to be able to share with you this week all that I am learning and all that I am dreaming up. Or all the dreams that God is filling me up with.
While I was resting...I hope you were doing well. Pray for the people of the world today. I felt like I left civilization (Deming, New Mexico might as well be a different planet for me) and came back to so much suffering. So many natural disasters. At the very least our first response should be prayer and mourning...these are our brothers and sisters who have lost their children, homes, food, and lives. How would we respond to our own family in such times?
If you know of any ways to directly contribute to any of the natural disasters that have occurred this week in Myanmar, China, India, or America please post the relevant info on the content page.