And I’ve seen this principle play out over and over and over again among followers of Jesus.
The name comes from a war story my Dad told me. He was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam as an Explosives Expert. He has some absolutely horrifying stories, but this one is actually a great illustration.
One day I asked him how he became an explosives expert. As a kid, that seemed like a really cool job. He didn’t explain the process, just told the story.
Watching the Harrison Ford classic #AirForceOne tonight. It’s been a long week. Counting down the moments until I hear a line that’s been seared in my brain since the Summer of ‘97: “GET OFF MY PLANE!!!!!!!!!!!”
If y’all are too young to remember, when Air Force One was being released, they played the trailer roughly every 15 minutes on every network for 6 weeks. And the line “GET OFF MY PLANE!!!!” became immortal.
Every time we went to see it, it was sold out. We went to the movies a lot that Summer (because they were like $5 back then) so it must’ve happened 4-5 times. Also, in case I didn’t mention it... I’m old.
We are conditioned as evangelical/mega church pastors that we “can’t be political”. Or that when we support anything controversial that we’re compromising our ability to reach people for Jesus.
That’s flat out wrong.
The only thing we’re protecting by “not being political” are the oppressive systems. (Systems that we largely benefit from by the way.) Political isn’t bad, it’s necessary, because politics are about people. Jesus was political.
I think we should avoid being partisan. But there is no option where you teach what Jesus said and did without upsetting the powers that be. Grace is radical. Humility is countercultural. Love is provocative.
“Micro-churches” are not a trend. They are the primary avenue of spiritual growth for all followers of Jesus since Peter preached at Pentecost.
Andy Stanley nails it (paraphrased): people grow most in circles, not rows.
Every believer I’ve ever talked to experienced their most significant spiritual growth in the context of intimate community and close relationships. Often facilitated by a mentor/guide.
But here’s where we get it wrong: successful megachurches aren’t some shallow spiritual wasteland. They are just a church of churches. Collections of communities that gather for a type of service once per week.
Just watched #CivilWar. This is a linchpin story in the #MCU. So many good things that payoff later. But, what I saw with absolute clarity was the arc of #BlackPanther and Justice.
In Civil War, T'Challa is driven by vengeance masquerading as justice. He wants to get justice for his father and he thinks killing the culprit (Bucky) would be just. However...
T'Challa comes to realize that revenge isn't justice, as he watches the Avengers tear themselves apart. Revenge is reductive "justice" (which isn't justice, but reciprocity) that leaves everyone worse off. "You took from me, so I take from you" makes everyone LESS.
You know that moment in epic stories where the Elder/Guide dies and their death propels the movement forward because it’s like their courage and wisdom are absorbed into the righteous cause? RIP @repjohnlewis#RIPJohnLewis
John Lewis’ death got to me this morning. Partially because he was an absolute inspiration and partially because I was largely ignorant of the the details of his life. A wonderful example.
Something important when we reflect on these titans of the Civil Rights Movement: these were ordinary men and women who became heroes because of their actions. When we over-mythologize them, they feel inaccessible and unrealistic. But, we CAN be like them.
This episode really captures a lot of what I’m seeing now. Seven of Nine starts seeing conspiracies everywhere as she processes insane amounts of data and information. One of them is right, but the rest get more absurd with time.
And they all are supported with evidence, they’re just not true. But even the people involved struggled to convince her it wasn’t real.
Peter, Paul and many heroes of the New Testament were arrested for being "outside agitators" and stirring up trouble.
And don't get confused: they did not actually get arrested for their words and sermons, even if that's what the authorities may have said. The Apostles got arrested once they started messing with people's money and challenging the systems of oppression.
The rich and powerful were cool with Jesus' movement until it actually upset the status quo... which is part of the very nature of Jesus' message.
While I’m on my #Enneagram... #WallE is a perfect representation of a 2’s redemptive journey.
He starts as a helper. That’s just how he’s wired. But he always seeks relationships and connection. He fantasizes about love. Loving others and being loved.
Then EVE shows up. He has true feelings for her, but... and this critical for understanding the 2... he tends to her needs in a desperate, almost smothering way because he expects affection in return. He craves it and he tries to earn it by doing good things.
Watched the end of Indiana Jones & #TheLastCrusade last night. It explains A LOT of what I'm seeing among church folks and what they think drinking from Jesus' cup looks like.
If you haven't seen the movie, the bad guy grabs an ostentatious and beautiful chalice, believing that it is the Holy Grail. He wanted to drink from Jesus' cup of glory, not His cup of suffering. And because "he chose poorly", he shrivels up and withers away in puff of smoke.
I see so much of the American church in that. We want the glory without the suffering. We're just like the bad guy in Indiana Jones. We're also just like James, John and Peter... we want to be the greatest, we want to be at the right hand of Christ on a heavenly throne but...
Brands posting about #BlackLivesMatter is important. Not because most will ever do any of the difficult work of dismantling systems of oppression, but because it’s no longer financially viable to be silent.
These statements, while possibly disingenuous and hollow, reflect a turning of the tide in public perception. #BlackLivesMatter is now positioned as socially acceptable and brands can’t afford NOT to post.
Before, brands and people were scared to post #BlackLivesMatter for fear of losing their career or customers. Now it’s the opposite.
The fear and extreme discomfort with black anger I see tells me that most white people have NEVER been in black-centered spaces. Or around black people who trust them enough to share a full range of human emotion.
Black anger is not any more scary than white anger. But most of us have been taught that black anger is to be feared. That’s dangerous for everyone.
If you have been in a black-centered space as a white person, you probably felt extremely uncomfortable and fled as soon as possible.
Hi friends! I know many of you are struggling with the tension of "I acknowledge racism and inequality and I want justice" but "I don't think rioting is the way". I get that. MLK can help give words to how you feel:
If you don't have time to watch the whole speech (and it's so good), here is what he said: "So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way."
But at the same time...
it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air.