Anti-abortion groups who only picket and complain seek for our funding and we give it to them. They picket and complain in the name of God. We fund their group in the name of God. What is so Godly about picketing complaining?
In the book of Luke Jesus tells a Lawyer to love his neighbor as himself. But what does that look like? Who is your neighbor? Jesus proceeds to tell a story about a man who is robbed and beaten while traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. The men who rob him leave the man half dead on the side of the road. A few people notice him as they are walking this road, but they pass by him on the other side (a priest, and Levite.) But a Samaritan man took compassion on the man and bandaged his wounds and took him to a motel and paid the manager to take care of the man. Jesus then asks the lawyer who of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among robbers? The Lawyer answers, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus then tells the Lawyer to go and do likewise.
Jesus didn’t call us to pass by the oppressed. He called us to get involved in the lives of the broken. This requires giving of our resources, which can include both time and money. Jesus didn’t call us to picket and complain.
What would it look like if we took all of the money being given to anti-abortion rights activists and started using the money to help us open our homes to these women who are in desperate need of love and community? It’s time to start acting like a community. It’s time to get a little dirt on our white collars.
Moving away from home was harder than I ever imagined. I knew it would not be easy but I never thought it would be quite this hard. I knew that I would be lonely but I never imagined loneliness would feel quite this lonely. I moved away from all of the friends I had ever known and the majority of my family. I felt completely alone. Sure I have made some friends in the city I will call my home for the next few years, but there is a problem; they do not know me. People here are beginning to get to know me but nothing will ever replace the ten-year friendships that have formed by way of fun and laughter, but also by way of hardship and tears.
In my moments of loneliness something beautiful happened to me; God met with me. He transcended and filled this longing in my soul for something deep, something great. This feeling was tangible and I fell in love. It felt much like looking into the eyes of your first love and feeling a sense of oneness and completeness with them. Except this time I knew what I had been missing all of these years and why I had felt the need to constantly have a girlfriend. I was trying to fill this void in my soul, a longing for connection with God.
While all of this was taking place my roommate Adam mentioned something to me, a thought that I had never entertained. Our marriage relationship on earth points to and is directly related to our relationship with Christ. How could I have missed the parallels? Paul writes clearly in the book of Ephesians, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her[i]”. We are the church and the church is the bride of Christ. Isaiah prophesied about this saying, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation; as a bride groom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.2” It is a love story. It is our love story.
We have been born into a sinful world, born into darkness and are disconnected from God and as a sinful people we are unable to approach God because He is righteous and we are not, He is light and we are not. Therefore he must sanctify us, bringing us into righteous in Him, allowing us to have a relationship with the Father. John puts it like this, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it[ii]. ”
God desires to have a relationship with us and desires to bring us back to Himself, reuniting us with him.
It’s a love story and his bride has cold feet.
Hosea prophesies about the unfaithfulness of Christ’s bride saying, “For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ “. It gets so bad that God sends His son Jesus to live perfectly and die as an ultimate sacrifice for the sins of his bride.
Once Jesus spoke to a crowd of Jewish people in Capernaum saying, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him[iii].” This is such a beautiful metaphor because the Jewish custom was for the Father to send someone he trusts to the bride’s family to find out the price for their daughter, and then the family would have the option of giving consent[iv]. So we see God the Father sending the Holy Spirit to the bride and drawing her to Jesus.
We are adulterous and God still loves us. He sends his son to suffer and die for us because He loves us. He sends his Holy Spirit to beckon us to come back to him even though we keep running away. The really beautiful part is when we come back to him. In the Bible we read a story about a guy who asks his father for his inheritance, leaves town, squanders his money and winds up having to eat pig slop to survive. When he finally decides to go back and beg for forgiveness, his father sees him off in the distance and runs out to greet his son and then throws him a party![v]
“For thousands of years, the poets have known that love is risky. There’s a scene in the Song of Songs, a collection of poems in the Bible, where the woman sees her lover, whom she calls her “beloved’ and he’s coming toward her. She says, “look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.”[vi] When he makes it to her house he invites her to join him saying, “arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” This guy has just put himself out there. The ball is in her court. Does she leave the safety of her home and run off with him? Love is risky. What if it doesn’t work out?
The beauty of our relationship with Jesus Christ is that this love isn’t risky. He is our constant lover and if we stray, He pursues us like a Sheppard pursues a lost sheep. And rejoices when we turn back to him[vii]. God’s love is not risky.
God gives us the gift of marriage here on earth so that we may have a deeper understanding of who God is. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.[viii]” This is why there is no need for marriage in heaven. We will no longer need a mirror relationship. We will be fully face-to-face and fully known by God!
Our marriages here on earth points to what it will be like when we are face to face with Jesus, our lover. Every characteristic of our marriage relationship has the potential to either point to Christ or to point away from Christ. Think about it! Every time we live out giving love, grace and mercy to our significant other we are showing them how loving, graceful and merciful God is.
Marriage is not just about playing the game of life. It’s about something so much bigger! It all points to God. God works through us in order to glorify and show himself to each one of us.
Our lover is standing behind our wall, gazing through the windows, looking through the lattice. He is speaking to us saying “arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on earth, the time of singing has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.[ix]” He is inviting us to live a new life in Him, a life of love without risk.
“ ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty Reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ for the linen is the righteousness deeds of the saints.[x]”
“…Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb…[xi]”
2 Isaiah 61:10
[ii] John 1:4-5
[iii] John 6:44
[iv] We see this custom played out in Genesis Chapter 24 when Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac.
[v] The story of the prodigal son is told in Luke 15:11-24
[vi] Bell, Rob. Sex God: exploring the endless connections between sexuality and spirituality. Zondervan, 2007.
[vii] Luke 15:7
[viii] 1st Corinthians 13:12
[ix] Song of Solomon 2:8-13
[x] Revelation 19:7-8
[xi] Revelation 19:9
God's bride is supposed to be beautiful, but right now all I see is her ugliness. God has beckoned to her through the Holy Spirit and has sanctified her through the death of Jesus Christ. It seems to be a process though... Because we obviously don't act sanctified.
Never would I have imagined that the night I decided to take some food downtown to feed the homeless I would have met Andre or that my heart would have been broken into many pieces!
When I was young, I pulled everything apart; namely, my toys, and my Dad’s tools. I wanted to know what was inside; what made things tick. Of course I would be in trouble when my Dad would need to use his drill. He’d turn it on and nothing would happen. By the time he realized what was going on, I’d be as far away from him possible, knowing that a spanking was now on the agenda.
By the time I was in junior high; pulling apart my toys and my Dad’s tools had turned into pulling apart my thoughts and actions; developing a philosophy, if you will. I had no clue how to go about developing this philosophy, but I was subconsciously building on it.
As my ideals were becoming somewhat solidified, they were forming around what I would call the typical ”American dream.“ To say the least my parents were concerned. Not to say that they didn’t struggle with the ideals of the “American dream,” but they could see me going down a path my brother and sister had paved before me, a path that almost killed my sister and deeply wounded my brother.
Sex. Drugs. Lust. Pride. Depression. Hatred.
My parents forced me to go to church (in hindsight this action saved my life.) I didn’t want to go. It meant nothing to me. I did a lot of really messed up stuff during my high school years. I will probably write about those things eventually, but this post is about my developing philosophy.
Something was missing in my church back home, specifically in the youth group. It was a social club, yet another place for teenagers to bring their high school drama. I needed more. We all needed more. We all needed to see, live and breathe the gospel of Jesus Christ. I didn’t know how to make this happen. All I could see was hypocrisy. It was suffocating. I could see my own hypocrisy. It was depressing. I’m not really sure where the blame lies. So I’m just going to blame it on the sin of our fallen world.
So I left. I had to get out. I needed to breathe. I was 18 and done. I felt as if all of the philosophy that had been pressed into me was a lie. The church was so political and I knew it was wrong. It was sin. I believed God was real, but I knew that this couldn’t possibly be what he wanted for his Church.
I began to once again pursue this “American dream.” Majoring in business, and reading/studying as many financial books as possible. I had worked my way up to Store Manager of a local business and was beginning to have ideas of grandeur. As I began to gear up to chase after this opulence; God started working behind the scenes (not to suggest that God wasn’t always working behind the scenes, but things were really moving!)
I was offered a 9 to 5 desk job, drawing for a land surveying company. It was a fun job, but I quickly learned that I was never meant for the desk and the desk was never meant for me. This was a crucial turning point in my life! I did something that was so Anti-American dream that I was almost ashamed of myself… I took a large pay cut and began working at a specialty coffee shop. This move in jobs made me view money in a totally different way. Money was now secondary to feeling happy and content. About 6 months after this, God spoke. I really wasn’t expecting this! I wasn’t following after him, but nevertheless, God spoke. He told me to go back and face the church that I despised so much. God told me to go back and live rightly among them and take a stand for what was right.
About this time a read a few books that God used to continue speaking into my life. Under the Overpass and Irresistible Revolution. These books further encouraged me to continue living rightly. Even before I read these books I felt God starting to call me into a specific kind of ministry. God was telling me to plant a church within a coffee shop (I’m still not quite sure where or even what this will look like exactly.)
Some friends of mine in Dallas told me about an internship in Muncie, Indiana that was focused on doing business and ministry hand in hand. Believe it or not their business model is focused on the coffee industry! I went out for a visit and knew that God was calling me to move there.
So here I am. I work in progress. I am a mess, but truly believe that God holds everything together (Colossians 1:17.) This post was a bit jumbled and after a while I will speak to specific views and beliefs regarding my philosophies, but this is how this post turned out so I think I will just leave it at that.