Sweet And Tender Hooligan

sojournertruth“Sojourner Truth” Print by Jeb Loy Nichols

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

Luke 9:28-36

We are familiar with mountaintops. We have longingly starred upon their majestic beauty from afar. We have stridden in confidence and trepidation towards their sturdy feet, looking up at the insurmountable task. We have endured, step by step up the mountaintop until, exhausted, we stood on upon it and surveyed the lands below. We are intimately familiar with both figurative and literal mountaintops.

Mountaintops are not just physical earthly forms that divide continents and riddle her landscape with water. Mountaintops are the moments where you dream dreams of liberty. Mountaintops are the times when you dare to hunger for equality. Mountaintops are shelters in which you discover your true self away from the violence and hatred of the here. Mountaintops are the not yet realized in the fallen world apart from the garden.

Mountaintops are alluring. Mountaintops are attractive. Mountaintops are intoxicating. Mountaintops are dangerous.

Mountaintops are places where mysterious things transpire and what you see is not always what you get. Mountaintops reach in to the heavens beckoning us to look up in to the sky and testify to the glory above.

There is a problem with mountaintops they do not sustain life. Mountaintops cannot support life. They are semi-barren with little there to support you. Mountaintops have the power to transform but they do not have the power to maintain.

It is hard to not visit the history of African-America without holding on to or visiting mountaintops. This nations history is filled with the ebb and flow of black mountaintops yearning for freedom and equality. Demanding the fullness of God’s fearfully and wonderfully made decree.

One such mountaintop is Sojourner Truth. She was born into slavery in New York. By the time she reached her 29th year she had been bought and sold six times. Truth lived a hard life.

She fought and struggled against injustice and was the black woman to go to court against a white man and win. She was tenacious in spirit and had an indomitable will for justice.

One of her famous addresses was delivered at the Women’s Convention in Ohio in 1851. Ten years before the start of the Civil War. In here address she challenges the cultural norms of the day. She contrasts and compares the value and worth placed in ones gender. She stands firm in her blackness, visible to all gathered. Her words are simple and plain. Her presence is powerful and evocative. Sojourner Truth offers a critical eye of the injustice bound up in society and delivers to us a mirror in which we ought examine ourselves.

“I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can’t she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can’t take more than our pint’ll hold. The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble. I can’t read, but I can hear. I have heard the bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well, if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again. The Lady has spoken about Jesus, how he never spurned woman from him, and she was right. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to him with faith and love and besought him to raise their brother. And Jesus wept and Lazarus came forth. And how came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and the woman who bore him. Man, where was your part? But the women are coming up blessed be God and a few of the men are coming up with them. But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.”

Truth became a leading abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She was also a minister. She preached the good word and sought to live the Gospel in deed. Sojourner Truth emancipated the hearts and minds of many and walked in the valleys below as she sought to bring all she could to the mountaintop.

Mountaintops shake the foundations of our institutions. Mountaintops challenge the status quo. Mountaintops are dangerous. They are dangerous because they challenge, provoke, and demand. Mountaintops are dangerous because they magnify silence and invite in to the presence of a whispering God.

Life cannot be all mountaintops. If you walk log enough your mountaintops become valleys and so enough those valleys return to that mountaintops. This is not a sprint or a race to the top. This is an endurance race of step by step, moment by moment, relationships by relationship of God working, wonderment.

I invite you to close your eyes. We are in the valley below, looking up at that mountaintop. Imagine the air, is it cold? Is it warm? Are there trees as we make our way up that mountain? Feel the earth beneath your feet. What does it feel like? Feel the breath fill your lungs. What do you hear as we make our way up the mountain? We near the mountaintop…pause and survey the view. Let us rest. Now, What is God speaking you up on this mountaintop?

Transformation is there. Purpose is there. Now that you’ve been to the mountaintop, what are you gonna do? Now, that you’ve been well rested what will you dream? It’s good to visit the mountaintop, we are just not supposed to stay there.

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

alg_mlk_dream

Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'”

And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.

But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Luke 4:21-30

Jesus is always doing magic. He is First Century Palestine’s own David Blaine. He time travels across the Sea of Galilee. He controls storms, talks to pigs. Gives sight to the blind and heals the sick. He blends in to crowds. Among all of his Vegas style magic Jesus is also a master of disguises.

Jesus also sets the prisoners free just as we are called to set the prisoners free. Last week we heard a little about prisons and prisoners. We know that we have the largest collection of prisoners in the world. Our prison industrial complex is big business and is populated disproportionately with people of color.

Not to long ago there was another prison, holding another person of color, in Birmingham, Alabama. This person was supporting with presence and assisting with organizing communities to stand up for equality and to shine a light on injustice. He was one of millions of people that dedicated their lives to moving the hands of time towards justice and its perverted use to deny a people their full and equal humanity.

That man sitting in a Birmingham prison cell wrote, We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men [and women] willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.Does this sound familiar?

He continues to describe the circumstances that delivered him to prison. The unjust laws and campaigns of hatred to keep “tradition” alive and well that binds a nation to its genocidal and bondage-laden past. To the oppressed “tradition” does not mean grandmas apple pie, picnics on Sunday, and a loving, inclusive Gospel-filled Jesus parading without a permit. To the oppressed “tradition” means, “Whites Only” and “Colored.” Signs that demand inequality as it smiles and offers separate but equal accommodations.

The man I speak of is the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These are his words from “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Dr. King goes on to outline the method to his madness. “In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: (1) collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive, (2) negotiation, (3) self-purification, and (4) direct action.” Having exhausted the first three steps, the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement of Human Rights reached out to Dr. King to move towards direct action.

Dr. King continues, “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.” The road towards equality and justice is wrought with peril. Those in power will not simply awake from this nightmare and deliver to the oppressed recompense, equality, and openly listen to the harm the majority has done. “History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.”

There are just laws and unjust laws, as Dr. Kings explains, An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself. This is difference made legal. On the other hand, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow, and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.” Injustice exists when the moral governance that regulates the people does not represent or speak all the peoples concerns. Justice must intervene on the people’s behalf.

If we are to engage this as Christians we must adhere to the four-fold principles of non-violence: (1) collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive, (2) negotiation, (3) self-purification, and (4) direct action. As we engage this practice we are drawn closer to God and our faith made stronger. Just as you make your body stronger through healthy eating and exercise, you strengthen your faith with a steady diet of grace and the actions of your faith.

The church has been that place of public accountability of which injustice has fled. The church is silent. Should we therefore assume that since the church is silent that injustice no longer exists?

Is equality present in all our lives? Gone is the persecution of God’s fearfully and wonderfully made creatures due to their skin color. Departed from our hearts is the bias against others for whom they love. No longer an issue is the absence of privilege for some. Dr. King rebukes the complacent and weak action of “concerned” faith leaders by saying, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Where do we stand as a church? Where is the voice of glory proclaiming the Gospel in the face of tyranny and oppression? Our silence speaks load and clear. Has our courage escaped us? Have we been overwhelmed by contempt and exhausted from inequities?

Dr. King offers a stirring indictment of the church, “There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period that the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was the thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But they went on with the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven” and had to obey God rather than [humanity]. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.”…Things are different now. The contemporary church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s often vocal sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I meet young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle”

Is this the sin of the church? We are no longer the thermostat of equality and that we have given rise to be disappointments of our youth. What was true of the church in 1963 is true 50 years later. Where has our fight gone?

We have become more cautious than courageous. The sanctity of our hollowed walls prohibit us of a clear view of the injustices that roam freely in this Land of Plenty. We got to get dangerous. We have to challenge our nerves and trust that God is going to carry us through. We must become advocates for those that have no voice. We must seek out the lepers of Israel. We must care for the widows and orphans suffering from this famine of the soul. We cannot let this work pass on to another. God has called us. God has anointed us to this work. You and I must roll up or sleeves and get to work. We have power to confront. We have foundations to shake. We have Good News to preach. We have Jesus to follow.

If we aren’t being pushed to the end by angry and frustrated mobs than we haven’t gone far enough. We must break free from our prison and speak the good word with courage, compassion, non-violence, and conviction. We shall realize liberation and freedom for all of God’s children. This has been assured in Christ Jesus. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.”

Here Comes Your Man

IMG_1467

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”

Luke 4:14-21

I volunteered at a prison ministry in Kentucky. This was different than the praise and worship services that visited the prison. Those services seemed to be focused upon the salvation and eternal well being of the incarcerated men and rarely did they engage the men outside of trying to save them.

Our church was like any other. We had pastoral care visits, communion, Bible study, a session, and various functioning committees. Every Friday night I would drive the 30 miles to the prison. Through suburban neighborhoods, past horse farms, and in to the barren parking lot outside of razor wire crowned fences, connecting menacing looking guard towers.

We would leave the free world and pass through a metal detector and in to a waiting area. Once the rest of the “free church” passed through the gates and in to the waiting area we would be escorted past giant electronic doors and in to the yard. We would walk on concrete paths nestled between tall fences donning razor thorns.

We were not allowed to wear anything khaki and the female members were encouraged to not wear dresses or anything form fitting. Marching onward towards the chapel we were meet by prison guards at every gate. We were counted and passed on to the next gate through a system of locks that prevented inmates from gaining access to undesired locations.

We arrived at the chapel and were let in to set up the worship space and communion elements. This stark multipurpose room quickly took shape and emerged as a house of the Lord. Liturgically colored banners hung from the pulpit and the house keyboard organ was set up. The Spirit was ready to entertain our hearts.

We set out the individually wrapped wafer and cup combos for communion and had a quick prayer. One by one the men entered the chapel and signed in. We had about 120 men every Friday night. The room was filled with men of all colors, creeds, backgrounds, and time. The unifying factor being addiction, conviction, and hope, and that all of these men were in prison.

There we were inside a prison. Most of the congregation was not free to leave after worship. A few of us had the privilege to enter and exit, to go inside and outside. To be in relationships with these incarcerated men. To stand shoulder to shoulder with rapists, murders, pedophiles, thieves, and addicts.

Some nights we celebrated the impending release of a member of the congregation. The singing and dancing on those nights were intolerable. They would beg, plead, and bargain with God or the Devil to discover satisfaction, protection, and a cure for their aching soul.

One particular Friday night of celebration, a member was going to be released the following Monday. The congregation loved to sing. The choir director was a pudgy late middle-aged man with neatly combed graying hair. His Sunday’s best was his khaki prison jumpsuit. I am not certain what he did but I know it involved drugs, sexual violence, and that it landed him in prison for life. I did not know anything of him outside of prison. I knew him as a sweet, quiet soul that volunteered to do anything for this church and he could sing like an angel.

The men were a mix of denominational, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and it came through in worship. They all loved to sing spirituals and old time gospel songs in bluegrass arrangements. Only they had no fiddle, no guitar, and no bass. They had an old donated keyboard that the choir director could make dance.

This particular night we got in to “I’ll Fly Away.” That song will forever haunt me, those tears, that liberation demanded in their voice. It was the most beautiful thing that I have ever heard.

Imagine a bunch of tattooed, khaki clad men sitting in a prison chapel singing…Some glad morning when this life is o’er,  I’ll fly away;  To a home on God’s celestial shore,  I’ll fly away…When singing about death and departure many of these men know that this is the only way they shall experience liberation that taste of freedom arrives with death. I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away; When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have grown, I’ll fly away;  With the passion of a thousand loves the men’s collective heart screams Like a bird from prison bars has flown, I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away; When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away.

Weary from the institution, hoping for better days, hopeful that Jesus is more than a fancy teacher, believing that God is more than a distant parent, and trusting that the Holy Spirit is a font of peace and comfort the men continue…Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away; To a land where joys shall never end, I’ll fly away.

I stood there in the back of the room surrounded by men crying without tears. My own prison exposed. The thought of Jesus’ mandate to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor stung at my heart.

A light went on and I understood that we deliver the good news preached to the poor. By what we do, by what we have done and left undone we preach to the poor. This physical world matters. These bodies matter. They are not a prison to which the eternal soul is captive. We are liberated mind, body, and soul to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.

That as we proclaim this liberation and the freedoms found in bondage to Christ we must also work to extricate justice from the fallen and unjust systems in our world. We must work to release the prisoners of systems that predicate violence upon women and children. We must work to release the prisoners being persecuted in system of civil suppression based on whom they love. We must work to release the prisoners bound in the industrial prison complex languishing in geography that punishes humanity and fashions a violent way of life over true rehabilitation. We owe better to this Fearfully and Wonderfully made creation of God’s. We must work tirelessly to restore sight to the blind and help the blinded leaders of this world to see the light. We must liberate the oppressed. Like a bird from prison bars has flown, I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away; When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away. And proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor to be at hand.

Amen

I Have Loved You Wrong

When Jesus, Peter, James, and John approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them and legal experts arguing with them. Suddenly the whole crowd caught sight of Jesus. They ran to greet him, overcome with excitement.

 

Jesus asked them, “What are you arguing about?” Someone from the crowd responded, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, since he has a spirit that doesn’t allow him to speak. Wherever it overpowers him, it throws him into a fit. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and stiffens up. So I spoke to your disciples to see if they could throw it out, but they couldn’t.”

 

Jesus answered them, “You faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring him to me.” They brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a fit. He fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

 

Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been going on?” He said, “Since he was a child. It has often thrown him into a fire or into water trying to kill him. If you can do anything, help us! Show us compassion!”

 

Jesus said to him, “‘If you can do anything’? All things are possible for the one who has faith.”   At that the boy’s father cried out, “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” Noticing that the crowd had surged together, Jesus spoke harshly to the unclean spirit, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” After screaming and shaking the boy horribly, the spirit came out. The boy seemed to be dead; in fact, several people said that he had died. But Jesus took his hand, lifted him up, and he arose.

 

After Jesus went into a house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we throw this spirit out?” Jesus answered, “Throwing this kind of spirit out requires prayer.”

 

Mark 9: 14-29 [Common English Bible]

 

Big Bird. Medicare. Economy. Entitlements. Middle Class. Liberty. Obamacare. Freedom. Corporations. Individual Rights. Religious Liberty. Romneycare. Right to Bear Arms. Education. The American Dream. 47%, 1%, and 99%. What are things that are under threat in the US?

 

If we listen to the prognosticators, the commentators, and the political naysayers the sky is indeed falling. We are at a turning point in this nation and if we mess this one up those that are taking back this country from those that are occupying the streets of this nation will lose it all and no one will have anything to occupy at all. Then what are we going to do?

 

I watched the debates this past week for a little while. I grew weary of it all and turned on the Orioles/Yankees game to see the O’s force a game 5. You want eroding tradition how about Major League Baseball’s new playoff format. Let’s kill the pennant race and water down baseball with one game wildcard playoffs. When did the Major League become the XFL?

 

In all seriousness, you can’t put your attention to anything without suspicion, doubt, and uncertainty poking at your motives or morals. No wonder we get all kinds of “end of times” prophets peddling their wears and sage wisdom for a small suggested donation. Speaking of “end of times” prophets, did y’all know that the Leader of the Kingdom of God and Second coming of Christ lives in Newalla.

 

We live in a time of quick fixes, sweet bargains, and certain certainty. Folks are lining up to share their thoughts on “Saving America.” You listen to radio, watch TV, or read the paper it is filled with information, opinions, and warnings. Drive around town and you’ll see the bumper stickers with the “Take Back America” rally cry.

 

Differing opinions on how to get this country back on track and varying ideologies about humanity, inclusivity, and financial strategies separate the two competing parties of this nation. Both offer up quick fixes, sweet bargains, and certain certainty. I am pretty sure that no one sets out in politics to strip mine the people for personal gain. I have to hold on to that hope. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.

 

The polarizing posture has separated a nation beyond color lines, class strata, and civil morality. This polarizing posture is picking teams and dividing the nation in to sides. Concentrating wealth has left a middle class devoid of hope, opportunity, and a place at the table. Those that are concentrating wealth fear losing their wealth and institute measures to protect it.

 

We have “us” verves “them.” Class warfare. Immigration. Same-Sex Marriage. Democrat verse Republican. Christian verses the world. It is not a climate of mutuality and consensus building. A house divided cannot stand. Our glaring weakness is our inability to see the humanity of others in the varying of opinions. Our fall will be in the distrust of each other that leads to the mighty forsaking the weak. The marginalized being exploited by those in power shall bring tears to the eyes of Lady Liberty. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.

 

The church is not immune from this quick fix, bargain faith, and certain certainty that’s peddled in US politics. The church offers a similar resolve to the world as our national politics have offered us. If you are not for us, you are against us. There is no place for new ideas in this time of crisis. We do things as we always have, its tradition, it’s right.

 

There are back room deals and fear based choices being made to gather the troops, steady the base, and hold on to power in the church that there is in DC. You have rebel-rousing figures that speak truths and demand action. You have rebel-rousing figures that speak truths and demand inaction. We poll. We vote. We are bound to order and decency as we seek a resurrected and transformed Christ. I imagine Jesus is just as frustrated with us as he was with the disciples that ran around attempting to do the works of Christ, in a sort of First Century Bad New Bears kind of way.

 

Blinded wisdom shakes the foundations of change. Are we the faithless generation? I do not know anymore. I am more uncertain of things today than I ever have been before. My faith in Christ, my faith in the church, my faith in the government, and my faith in humanity is shaken. The better you had hoped for your children, the better our parents had hoped for us has changed.

 

Gone are the days of a college education guaranteeing you a job. Gone are the days of the church being the center of the community. Competition for a job is fierce. Unemployment is high. Competition for membership is fierce. Dwindling churches are high. We seek a resurrected and transformed Christ with dying and unrequited ways. We, the church, do the best we can with what we got. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.

 

What do we believe?

What do we not believe?

 

What we do not believe is as important as what we do believe. They are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have belief without unbelief. We need to embrace the transformed mind offered to us n the gospel. In the gospel message of Jesus the Christ there is room for certainty and uncertainty, there is room for belief and unbelief. The gospel compels us towards death of preconceived notions and beckons us to follow Christ to the cross and place our hearts, our minds, our spirit our will at the foot of the cross and leave them there as we are delivered to a new state of being. A state of being that is full of compassion, full of hope, peaceful, love-centered, and void of human division. A place not focused on ideology, association, or belief, a better place…

 

Our better needs to change. A better “better” calls us to less, to simplicity, to connectivity, to community, to an environmental harmony, to consensus, to peace, to humility, and to death. For it is only in death to ourselves that we will be resurrected in to the new life Christ has called us to. It is only in death that we shall bear witness to the transformative gospel and embody it to the world.

 

Gone are…Big Bird. Medicare. Economy. Entitlements. Middle Class. Liberty. Obamacare. Freedom. Corporations. Individual Rights. Religious Liberty. Romneycare. Right to Bear Arms. Education. The American Dream. 47%, 1%, and 99%. What comes after we die to ourselves and inhabit the gospel of Jesus Christ?

 

I have no idea what it looks like or what I gain in it. I do know it is paradise. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.