Five Minute Friday: Fresh

Gentle Reader,

The new semester is just a few days away, and present Marie is really questioning past Marie. Why did she decide it would be a good idea to take a class that starts at 7:00 a.m. on Thursdays?

I see very large cups of coffee in my future.

Kate says: fresh.

Go.

The living God is a God of justice and mercy and [God] will be satisfied with nothing less than a people in whom [God’s] justice and mercy are alive.

– Lesslie Newbigin

We live in a pagan society.

This is a near-impossible truth to grasp for those of us living in a Western context, particularly the United States of America. Church buildings are all over the place. Religious language pops up in advertisements, campaign speeches, and in the caption of the post you saw on Instagram this morning.

I repeat, we live in a pagan society.

Or pre-Christian, if you prefer.

I am not a nationalist. I don’t believe that the patch of dirt upon which I set my feet is somehow better or more significant than another patch of dirt somewhere else on the globe. I am not a Christian nationalist. There is nothing in Scripture or orthodox church tradition that tells me that this landmass is meant to be controlled by God’s people (which, in this context, generally means white people, and particularly white men. This is not a slap at all white men. This is me telling you what Christian nationalism is. I shouldn’t even have to issue this disclaimer. If it doesn’t apply to you, if these aren’t your views, then I am not addressing you). I am a Christian who happens to live in the United States.

The society around me is not Christian.

It never was.

Again, I am not a Christian nationalist. I have no aim to “Christianize” society. In fact, I believe that the Gospel is always going to be an affront to society, always going to be impossible to mesh the message of Kingdom living with consumerism, fear, greed, racism, misogyny, and whatever else you can think of that we cling to here where we live but don’t want to talk about. To be a Christian is to adopt an ethic, a mode of living, that is wholly other. Alien.

Instead, people slap the “Christian” label on QAnon – cult.

White supremacy – sin.

Blind, slavish devotion to a particular political figure – idolatry.

The spreading of disinformation on social media – lying.

Refusal to admit when caught in a lie – hard heartedness.

Advocating for the murder of your perceived enemies – already murder, according to the Lord who knows our thoughts and sees every social media post.

Repent.

I’ve had to do my own repenting over the last week, and will continue to do so. Always slightly out of sync with my emotions, rage over all that has been happening hits me in unexpected moments. I have felt hate for others – this is wrong. This is not Christlike. And so, again and again, I beg the Lord to create within me a clean heart, to renew my spirit, to transform my mind, to help me see others the way God sees them, to give me wisdom and compassion.

The good news is that sincere repentance is always met with forgiveness.

We do not have to keep going down this path.

There is a new beginning, a fresh start.

Repent.

Stop.

GRACE AND PEACE ALONG THE WAY,
MARIE

1/15/21 Addition: My friend Andrew reached out to me via email. We had a productive, kind exchange. He and I don’t have the exact same views on every issue, but we are both able to see what is most important. Our conversation moved me to modify a sentence in this post, in which I spoke out of inappropriate anger. Sharing here my reply to him:

I know that we’re all wrestling with the way out world is right now. And I know there’s a spectrum of thought. My intention in what I wrote was to call out extremism, not average conservatism. There’s a big difference between the two, just as there is between extremism and average liberalism. At least, as I understand it all. And ultimately, I don’t really care about someone’s political persuasion. I’m disturbed by what I see happening in the church.

18 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Fresh

  1. And they hate me for my views,
    think I am among the damned,
    and in the latest hot-wire news
    I should really be reprogrammed.
    Cancellation is the highest
    fate for which I now can hope;
    I don’t pass their litmus test,
    and am not person, but a trope
    for which condemnation is okay
    because there’s really no-one there.
    It’s not a soul that’s thrown away,
    but a shell of empty air
    that did not toe the party line
    \and is compelled to pay the fine.

    Like

    1. I’m so glad we talked via email. Copying what I sent to you here:

      You’re my brother. I know that we’re all wrestling with the way out world is right now. And I know there’s a spectrum of thought. My intention in what I wrote was to call out extremism, not average conservatism. There’s a big difference between the two, just as there is between extremism and average liberalism. At least, as I understand it all. And ultimately, I don’t really care about someone’s political persuasion. I’m disturbed by what I see happening in the church.

      Like

  2. yes, such a reminder afresh of our need for Him. “When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

    Like

    1. I read my own words again this morning, and am once more asking God to grant me the ability to love and to speak truth as God does. This is what we need.

      Like

  3. They will know we are Christians by our love. It’s hard to exhibit love to someone we hold in contempt. Your words are such a good reminder that we are aliens in this world. We need to be in it but not of it. Thank you. FMF#36

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  4. I really appreciate your openness and honesty, for sharing your heart! I try to stay away from writing about “politics” on my blog but even this past week I had to share a little of my heart about everything that has been going on in our country.

    This is something my husband and I have been discussing for the past couple of weeks. We agree that this country is no longer a Christian country. Perhaps it was at the beginning but most definitely it can no longer be labeled as such. Our country and our world need Jesus! I pray often that the Lord will help me to see others the way He sees them no matter what their “political” views are.

    Loved this! Thank you! Don’t every apologize for sharing your heart!

    Here’s the link to my short post about how I’m feeling about all of it…
    https://growingingraceblogger.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-answer.html

    Love,
    Annie FMF #19

    Like

    1. Nice to “meet” you, Annie! My husband and I have had similar conversations. My hope is that the Spirit will convict God’s people to radical honesty. There, I think, we will find the truth, and the ability to repent and move forward into renewal and revival.

      Like

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