I'm still thinking a bit about the Jason Gray concert from this past Friday. All of us were talking about it at Living Waters on Sunday, and most of us are still yakking away about it this week. Jason seems to be talking about it too, cause he wrote about it in his own blog and used one of the photos I took in it. (Woot!) http://jasongraymusic.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/serving-before-kings/
It wasn't just that it was fun to get together with a bunch of your friends and listen to live music. And it wasn't just that Jason is a great singer/songwriter...which he is. And it wasn't even that this whole event was the culmination of Tom & Deb's water project. It just felt like it was more than that for some reason, and I'm not quite sure I can put it into words.
A lot of people who call themselves "Christians" make me itch. They seem to have a special language that they use to point out their religious credentials and such. They use a lot of "Churchy" words. One of the things that I enjoyed about the show last Friday is that Jason never used any of those types of words. (I was talking with Deb this morning, and she brought that up too.) For me, it's refreshing to just be around people who "Get it," and don't use silly words and phrases to make themselves appear worthy to other folks.
One thing that Jason Gray said that stuck in my head like a nice, gentle sliver under a fingernail went something like this; "There are people I have met that have impressed me. Mostly, I was impressed by their impressiveness. But when I meet broken people, I am impressed by what God is doing in them." Pretty cool I thought.
More Thoughts on Brokeness.
One thing I should state off the bat is that when I speak of brokeness, I am NOT trying to emphasize what vile turds we all are, or that you ought to go around beating yourself up for not being able to be perfect. What I want to emphasize is that embracing brokeness is simply embracing reality. (Unfortunately, most people...including many who are "In Christ," never embrace it.) But to be honest, for most of us it usually isn't until something really difficult happens that we realize that we can't handle it on their own...and then turn to God.
Rick McKinley from the Imago Dei Community had a great way to put this into perspective. Essentially, he said that to feel sorrow over sin is appropriate, but to feel guilty is not. He said that if you are in Christ, then feeling guilty over sin is simply devaluing Jesus and what he accomplished on the cross. First off, God isn't surprised by any sin that we have committed or will commit...he already knows. Second, Jesus dealt with all sin, past, present and future on the cross. His death was sufficient for everyone's sin, period! So, in some way, when you mope and feel like a turd because of sin, you are saying that Christ's atonement wasn't sufficient for you. And that is simply not the case. So ultimately, to be broken is just to understand all of the above and then to stand in awe...or "Ahhhhhhhhhh!" of what Christ has done for us.
When I talk about brokeness, I am speaking about the reality of life. God is perfect. We are not. We need God. And God, by dying on a cross for us, paved the way for a proper relationship with him. That simple truth, and the embrace there of, is embracing reality. That is embracing your brokeness.
Years ago in college, my friend Scott and I got into a discussion. Scott is an amazing artist. Seriously, he is very good. The first two pictures on this post are his, and they deal with what I am about to say. Those pictures are about the masks and "Happy Faces" that Christians often put on when in the presence of others.
Scott and I talked about how all of us ware masks. We know that we are waring them. We also know that everyone else knows that we are waring them. We also know that everyone else is waring masks too, and that they know it. But all of us continue this costume drama anyway. WHY?
My own theory is that people who call themselves Christians have been duped into thinking that they have to put on some type of flawless front to present to the world. OR, that to be accepted in Religious circles they have to put on some type of uniform. Ultimately, this all smacks of "Works" to me. (Because it is taking our eyes off of Jesus and the truth that he has done ALL of the work for us.)
I don't want a fellow Believer to try and impress me with their impressive testimony and all of the impressive ways that they are busy for God. I've said this before, I don't believe in "Good Christians." There is no such thing!!! You are either struggling or not struggling. If you are not struggling, then please get away from me. You can't help me in my journey, and you are of little use to God.
To be sure, if we/I/you take our masks off our faces and open up about how finite we are, we are opening ourselves up for pot-shots and grief from others. (Usually, fellow Christians, sad to say.) But we also open ourselves up to reveal what Christ is doing in our lives. Remember, it isn't about us. If you claim to follow Jesus, then it was, is and always will be about HIM!
I would bet that the very people who are most likely to take a shot at other Christians who drop all the religious pretense and their masks, are the most frightened of dropping their own. Maybe that is all the more reason to drop a mask in front of them. They need to see that it can be done. I don't know.
What I DO know, is that last Friday was a good time. And I think that perhaps it was as good as it was because no one wore any impressive masks. We just enjoyed what Jesus was doing with all, and in all, of us for one night.