Saturday, November 12, 2005

Preface: In 10th grade I got a C on what I considered a very well-written and thought provoking history report. Ms.V did not appreciate my "sweeping generalities". Ever the pleaser, I still try to avoid them. But it is a habit I just can't break. So what I say, I mean. But I am aware that I am blanketing an entire population, and there are as many exceptions as there are truisms. Also, today, I seem to be using proper capito(a?)lization, excuse the break in continuity. I am transcribing, I hand wrote this:

We have trusted the media to do our thinking for too long. Slant regurgitation of half-fact arrive in a constant stream of chatter. Seems to be the white noise of choice for many.
This country was conceived as an act of rebellion. In five centuries we have forgotten how to think, eat, love, please, share, feel, live and die. A cross section of society reveals the hoarding, gluttonous, isolated, medicated and bent on living forever in this body masses. what has gone so terribly wrong?
pick an institution to blame: government, media, technology. but those are man-made institutions created by people to deliver what people want. Democracy was a beautiful ideal, and it still is. Democracy has not failed the people, the people have failed the people.
I blame the church for the encroaching demise of our fledgling country. Yep. A particularly inflammatory statement spoken by someone who claims to be a Christian.
But, it's true: I blame the population that has apparently committed themselves to opening their physical and metaphysical bodies as a portal to Paradise. Committed to using every available faculty- every talent and resource to care for the widow and the orphan. To heal the sick and comfort the dying. This healing and caring... I think that it's the kind that you can't throw money at or demand in a hospital, it's the soul kind. the kind that takes time and relationships and disciplined stewardship- it's the kind of healing and care that requires constant consciousness, vigilance and heightened sensitivity. This kind of portal we should be, this doorway into the Real world and not the cold dying one, requires a the mind of a servant, a lowly, blue collar kind of mindset. Serious pride wrenching humility.
It's not the congregation, it's what the congregation is made of that have let things become this way. This world was not meant to last, but allowing the velocity of its destruction increase so rapidly is not your free ticket to The City of God. I don't think. The body of Christ, from my point of view, is inexcusably fat, lazy and outspokenly ignorant. He must look down in shame and confusion.
I say that the problem is the church, but the problem is not inside of the church. Sundays, small groups, Saturday outreach- great stuff, really. The charitable donations and mission trips are very kind gestures. but not nearly enough.
It is the unplanned events, momentary choices and daily habits.
It is about the fiber of our being.
A protest is not an act of compassion. Voting a certain direction and lobbying for political holiness is not compassion.
Jesus had a good thing going with evangelism. He didn't waste his time with the Sanhedrin trying to change laws. He went to the people, and took damn good care of them. He loved them and fixed them and ate with them and talked to them, explained things and asked questions himself. He built relationships founded on love, not personal gain. He was a real person in their presence. He cried when John died, he wanted to be alone- he ran away from people when he knew that he needed time away. There was no hiding, no facade of constant calm. He took a bull whip to the merchants in the temple. Probably not something a "good Christian" would do.
He never separated himself from any kind of person, he never demanded better status or better service. In fact he lowered himself into the grittiest, nastiest rungs of society.
I am not espousing a vow of literal poverty here, but I wonder how capable the average Christian is of approaching the degenerate stench of true poverty without treating it like some masturbatory revelation that your own life is not so bad... just look at them. Do not pat yourself on the back for treating a homeless shelter like a field trip to the petting zoo.
Frankly, I write this more to myself than anyone else. I am horribly guilty of becoming completely wrapped up in inconsequential details of survival. I drug myself with slick periodicals and plans for the future. In the meantime, I walk in a haze through my daily interactions, constantly focused on some later date and missing the present altogether. Mostly, this is a prod at myself to lean more about Jesus, really. To focus on the man and not the institution.

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