May 24, 2012 at 6:35 am, by Carl
I was riding home the other day enjoying one of my favorite bands, Delirious. I first heard these guys back in 1996 when I was a youth pastor and we brought their wonderful worship music to our young people. I believe we were one of the first in the city to play their powerful songs, a departure from simplistic chorus going rather into a powerful challenging series of songs about the glory of God and the necessity of being a real touch of grace to a world often wrapped in excess or sadness.
One of their last CDs, Kingdom of Comfort, challenges the idea of how we, as a culture, and particularly the Christian community, has embraced excess and comfort. In the liner notes, they had various leaders write short essays on this topic. Shane Claiborne wrote the first one and it is probably the most gripping. Take a read. Pause. Reflect. Consider. And, even if you are not a Christian, consider the depth of his word about how you live your life? Maybe its time for you to also challenge how you spend your time and money…in a pursuit of your own excess and comfort, or in a pursuit of a better world?
A REVOLUTION THAT DANCES AND LAUGHS
- Shane Claiborne: activist, recovering sinner, and author of irresistible revolution
The world is a mess. People are dying of obesity, and people are dying of starvation. Some of us are suffering from the LONELINESS OF POVERTY, and others are aching in the LONELINESS OF WEALTH. Too often, Christianity has only offered us life after death while the world is really asking: Is there life before death? We are convinced that Jesus did not just come to prepare us to die but to teach us how to live – here… now. He came to show us the narrow way to life. And that’s Good News to all of us who are groaning in the ghettos of poverty and in the ghettoes of wealth. LET US BE THE MIDWIVES OF ANOTHER WORLD. We are made to live for something bigger than ourselves – this thing we call the kingdom of God… God’s dream for the world.
This is the realm where the last are first and the first are last, where the poor are blessed and the peacemakers are the children of God. This whole Christian thing is not just about going up to heaven after we die, but it is about bringing God’s Kingdom to earth.
THIS IS THE GOSPEL THAT SHOULD COMFORT THE DISTURBED AND DISTURB THE COMFORTABLE.
And that means REVOLUTION. It is a revolution that sets both the oppressed and the oppressors free, a revolution that dances and laugh…a revolution that aches with the world. It is a revolution not just for saints and prophets and celebrities, but a revolution of ordinary radicals who live in ways that do not conform to the patterns of this world but are transformed by the renewing of their minds. (Rom.12:2 NIV)
God gives us a fresh imagination. Perhaps the world will call us crazy. But if we are crazy it is because we refuse to be crazy in the same way that the world has gone crazy. And this gospel of the poor and BROKEN MAY FLY in the face of much of the prosperity preaching that has come to mark Christianity in the west, but this is the Gospel of the baby REFUGEE who was born in the middle of a GENOCIDE, who wandered the world with no place to lay His head, and who was jailed, tortured, and crucified on the cross of the Empire in which He lived.
May these songs [from Delirious’ CD Kingdom of Comfort] lead us closer to Jesus of Nazareth, where folks said “nothing good could come.” And may these songs lead us to the poor, in whom we will find Christ in his most distressing disguises… among the least of these. In these songs, may you encounter the Jesus who did not just come as a missionary to the poor or as a CHARITABLE PHILANTROPIST, but who came as one who suffered.
HE CAME AS A TROUBLEMAKER AND CREATOR OF HOLY MISCHIEF.
He came as a King who ruled with a towel and played in the dirt with kids. It is Jesus who bids us, dares us… come and follow.
SO SIT. DANCE. SHOUT. BUT LISTEN…listen to the One who tells us if we really want to FIND OUR LIFE THEN WE SHOULD GIVE IT AWAY.
Listen to the small voice amid all the noise and clutter that whispers to us that the best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.
As we read the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other, we cannot help but ask: have we even begun to be Christians?
LET US BEGIN.
Jesus, give us STRENGTH to live the things we preach and SING. And give us GRACE with ourselves and others when we fall short of who we want to be.