8.12.2010

It's late and my husband is asleep. I'm sitting on our flower couch with my square of fudge and my mind eager to write. I have been thinking and reading and just have been torn apart by so many different things this past week and have had this desire to share every little thing, and for the sake of privacy and time and all that junk it just can't be done. ONE of the things that has been so insane is this book Michael and I are reading. You see, he is the reader of the two of us. He is always reading. I decided I needed to join in so I looked on our shelf and saw a book that was recommended to me by our friend (and best man) Glen a long time ago that I had forgotten about.


Its the kind of book that challenges me so much to my core that I almost feel like I have to put it down because I know that if I don't, I can't NOT change after reading it. At the same time it sucks me in so much and is so revealing of myself, others, the way I view the world, and Jesus' life that I can't NOT put it down. Please read it for yourself if you haven't, and if you want to borrow, ask me and I will ask Glen and let you know. Here is an excerpt that really spoke to me, it is actually a quote from Rich Mullins, who said this at a chapel service in which Shane Claiborne (the author) attended.

"You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me that I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of god, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too. But I guess that's why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest."

How crazy is that, yet true! Whenever I've heard the gospel message given, we talk about being 'born again' which IS true and needs to happen, YET we don't hear anything about selling all our possessions to give away, because that would be far too much to give. For us Americans "everything" is SO much and to even think of giving "everything" away is just so unimaginable. He goes on to say that he believes the bible is so often 'contextualized,' and upon hearing a sermon on this text, the preacher said after reading the bible story in which God told the rich man that he needed to sell everything he owned in order to be saved, that it doesn't really mean we have to go sell everything we own....

Now to some extent I understand, I mean I really don't want to go sell everything I own, I like my stuff honestly. A lot. Maybe too much. But didn't Jesus really mean what he said? Or was he just joking about the whole selling we own everything part? Was he just joking about the whole "whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto me" verse. Honestly I don't know the last time I did something unto "the least of these". What would the world look like if all those who said they love Jesus and follow the bible followed even the verses that require so very much of us? Would there even be poverty? There an awful lot "followers of Jesus" (including myself) and so I have to say I don't think so. What would it be like if we really lived like Jesus and not only went to church on Sunday morning and gave the missions team 10% of our check to go and do what we ourselves should be doing but hey, its easier to write a check then to actually give our lives, time, and affections to "the least of these."

[Side note: not everyone is called to go overseas to do missions, but we are called to serve those in our community and use our gifts, passions, pocket books, and vocations to help those who can't help themselves, and I don't think the body of Christ does this very often, or very well. ]

Michael and I have been truly challenged this past week... what does this mean for us? What does Jesus call us to do and be to others and are we really living that way? I have started reading the book of John over again, studying what Jesus said and how he acted, since his life is to be the example of how life really should be lived. It truly is dangerous stuff, reading the bible, and I am realizing how much of it, like Rich Mullins said, I have highlighted and how much of it I have ignored.

I pray that Jesus would soften my heart and give me his eyes for the world, his passion for others, and his strength to follow wherever he would have me go in this life.

[[ Second side note: I can't say how proud I am of my parent's love and devotion to Jesus and willingness to follow the command he gives in James 1 to "take care of the orphans." They are living examples of not only being a "hearer of the word, but a doer." Thanks mom and dad for being such great parents and followers of Jesus, you make me want to serve him more! ]]

5 comments:

  1. Yes! Kendra read this book this summer (and I read it last semester) and we've just been wrestling with it. I'm so glad you two are reading it and I'm so glad it's challenging you. I love that his challenges make me go back and read Scripture so that I can see with my own eyes what I missed the first 100 times I read it. Ah I'm so excited for you, because, ultimately, Jesus said in Him is life. So when we give up everything to follow Him, we're entering life instead of leaving it, ya know? So beautiful. Good job, Glen.

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  2. Haha Yes! So true and reading this book has spurred me to look at Jesus' life more intently and evaluate my willingness to serve Jesus and ultimately ask what am I willing to give up for him (or give TO him)? The answer really should be:everything!

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  3. So good. I stole and put on my blog. I feel like if we would have hung out in Fargo, we would have been great friends.

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  4. Loved this book. He also wrote Jesus for President which I also really liked and recommend. It was nice seeing you, Kari and Michael this weekend even though the circumstances were awful.

    Sabrina

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  5. Danae-
    Thanks for your kind words... It is such an important question- we so easily make Jesus words symbolic rather than literal. Reminds me of Bonhoeffers Cost of Discipleship...
    Rich I.(Dad)

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