Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bubble Girl

I stumbled upon a South Carolinian Pastor's blog yesterday and found myself reading an apology to his readers, town, congregation. He had sent out a mass invitation to the community welcoming them to their Easter church service. Here's the card:

Apparently it was a bad move for the guy. After I read his apology, I couldn't help but want to read the 80 comments below.

As I perused, I was genuinely shocked by the wide variety of stances people took on the card. The comments represented non-believers, to Christians, to members of the congregation, to people in the community.... and no response was really predictable.

The biggest thing to me wasn't whether or not I agreed with any of the comments, but the sudden realization that I live in a bubble... and I think I always have.  The more comments I read, the more aware I was that I don't have a very good grasp on what non-believers actually think of believers, what they think of Christianity. I hear things from time to time, but I don't actually know, I don't actually encounter it often...

Instead, I've been safe inside my little bubble-- tucked away and untouchable, believing all the fairy-tale things I want about God, Jesus, and the Bible. Not only does my bubble consist of my own wonderful thoughts, but it also contains a lot of people who uphold these same thoughts and beliefs. It's place of ignorance...perhaps even a place of fear.

Honestly, my head swirled into a bit of a frenzy... unsure of what to do with these realizations. I started wondering if we were just raising up more and more ignorant people in the church who are unwilling to  look beyond themselves and their own beliefs...or if it was just me. I began thinking that our world is really no different from the one Jesus lived in-- full of religious leaders who are convinced they are the only ones doing things right (even when Jesus came to show them differently), full of people who hate Jesus and everything He stands for, full of people who are just living however they please, full of people who are broken and need of being saved....

I don't think it's good for me to be Bubble Girl. I don't think it's helpful for me to be ignorant to what's going on in the world and to not truly know what others think about Christianity. How can I ever seek to love someone outside of the church if I haven't the slightest idea of where they are coming from? How can I ever think about holding anyone else to the standard Scripture calls us to when they mock it and disregard a God who would allow His son to be brutally tortured and killed all for His glory? There can be no judgment... only love.

Unfortunately I'm a pro at judging and not so hot at loving...

Jesus wasn't a Bubble Man. He didn't confine Himself to the religious, and I think He knew all to well what everyone thought of Him. He dwelled among common men...rough, hard-hearted, broken, lost men. And I know we say this all the time... but how often do we actually do it?

How often do we actually get outside of our comfort zones and live life with those that not only don't believe in Jesus... but those who hate, who scorn, who reject Him?

I confess that I'm scared.
But I know, especially after reading what's out there, that it is necessary for us to go into the world. Not to let our piety hover over them, not to judge and condemn them... but to know them, to love them even when we know them, and to share our changed lives/hearts/stories with them.

Soon and very soon, this bubble I dwell in will be popped... and into the world I will go.

Even if there's mocking, even if stones fly...  will I hold my tongue, as Jesus did - like a sheep before her shearers is silent- or will I argue, will I protest, will I defend?

We have so much to learn.
And for all the harm we seem to do in the world, I can only beg that He works in spite of us. Oh, how thankful I am when He does.... all the time.

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