Thursday, June 17, 2010
I've come to the realization over the last few years that I am more embarassed by some of my fellow Christians than I am of Christ. The "Touchdown Jesus" statue's recent demise is just another example.
I'm sure that the church that erected it had the intention of using it as a sign to point people to Christ. But this is the problem with many of my Christian brothers and sisters. They are trying to give the world simple answers to complex problems. Speaking in baby-talk to adults, they will sport bumperstickers that read, "Jesus Saves", while the non-christian is scratching their heads wondering what they need saved from. Another popular bumpersticker reads, "Jesus Is the Answer", while the non-believer might be asking, "What is the question?" "Lord save us from your followers" is a more aptly written bumpersticker.
Most non-christians who passed the giant Jesus statue on I-75 have deeper issues that keep them from coming to Christ. Those issues are much deeper than simply seeing a giant statue. They need to be engaged by Christ followers who demonstrate God's love through acts of kindness and whose lives well lived, demonstrate they have found the real answers to life's deepest questions. In many cases, non-believers don't even know the questions they should be asking. They need believers lives to be the questions they should be asking. They aren't ready for answers personified on the highway to questions they haven't yet asked.
To my Christian brothers and sisters who doubt me, I ask. Why has God hung this whole thing on the ambiguity of faith? He could have given a witness clearer and more explicit than a giant Jesus statue. Have you not noticed the paradox of the Gospel? Examples of these paradoxes include, "If you want to lead, you must serve" and "if you want to receive, give."
This pattern of paradox is reverberated by St. Francis of Assisi, "Go forth and preach the Gospel and if you must use words."
The depths of the truth that God has given us are too great to be expressed in a giant statue. Don't give the world answers. Give them questions. Make them think with an honest heart.
If you want to teach, first learn. If you want to point the way, first walk the way. If you want to make a difference, first be a difference. If you want to show people answers, be the questions. Is THIS not why God is pleased by faith instead of certainty?