The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coming Down the Mountain for the Sake of Others: Good News From Christianity

In seminary I was taught that 51% of today's churches in America are wrapped up solely in self-care. They do not reach out into the community around them in any way. It is as if their church is a mighty mountain top retreat into which they remove themselves from the world to await Jesus' second coming. They do not come down to serve. However, in doing so, they miss the opportunity to help themselves while helping others.

God isn't finished with us yet. And so the Spirit of God says, "Come on. Let's go. Follow me. Follow me down, deeper down and deeper in. For the sake of others. And for your own well-being too." And when our hearts say yes, we enter into the next spiritual practice, the practice of consecration and commitment, surrender and submission.
It surprises many people to hear God call them down. We think God is up. We're trained by the ladder of success to think it's for climbing, not descending. But God's mobility is opposite to our own. ... God-in-Christ [came] down to a poor and humble woman, down into her womb, down into a stable, down into hay. And that's just the beginning. When Jesus comes of age, he doesn't climb a mountain and live above the fray in a contemplative cave or commune. No, after a brief period in the wilderness, he moves continually down into the mess of human history. He moves down into the struggles of human politics and economics, down into the ugliness of human ignorance and misunderstanding, down into the horror of human injustice and bigotry, down even into the tragedy of human violence and murder. 
For a while, it was all the rage to ask WWJD, "What would Jesus do?" This short passage makes it quite clear what Jesus has done, what Jesus does, and what Jesus will do. Jesus stands among the poor and outcast and calls for us all to come down. Today 20% of the U.S. population self-identifies as totally unaffiliated with any religion. These folks range from the spiritual but not religious to the atheists. That number will continue to grow unless the people who make up the churches today, head God's call to come down and follow Jesus down into the strife and struggle that makes up so much of human existence. As the author states, God calls us down not only for the good of others but for the good of ourselves. Come on down and help yourself as you help others. You'll need to keep asking yourself WWJD to keep your bearings in the struggle, but I believe you'll find it well worth your while. Come on down the all the volunteer organizations helping others in your community for a start. Help yourself, help others, and bring God joy. Come down.


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