Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sean Of The Dead

Sean could have said it in a clearer less offensive way, but I don't think he could haves said it better.

We were in the desert covered in sand, sitting around a campfire, and periodically shooting each other with airsoft (not so soft) guns while talking about a wide range of topics. Dirty Jimmy, a man who lived up to his name, was doing his best to hold his weight in a conversations about spirituality and kept coming back to the beauty of the stars and how he had read the Bible when Sean dropped his bomb.

Sean is an ex-addict who at his low point crashed his car into a church while loaded. Since then his life had been radically transformed and knew the restoration that comes through knowing and loving God (or more aptly knowing that you are known and loved by God).

In a moment of frustration Sean blurted out, "F@#? the Bible, do you know Jesus!?"

I was flabbergasted and headed quickly toward offended when I realized what he actually said. He was right. A little flustered and out of sorts, but right. The Bible isn't bad, but it's only a book. If it doesn't help us know Jesus, it's useless.

As Christians we often identify with our totems rather than the thing that gives value to them. Jesus ripped on the hyper religious in Matthew 23 because they differentiated between aspects of the temple and the thing that gave them value. The Bible isn't magic nor is there special power in our church buildings, if Jesus is absent they are empty, useless, and dead. If Jesus is present, then it is the presence of Jesus that has power and value.

I love the Bible, but I love it because through the Bible I've come to know and love Jesus. If every church and Bible disappeared tomorrow the reality of the person, power, and action of Jesus would not dissipate one iota. There is nothing wrong with the symbols and practical tools of our faith, the things we sometimes identify with, but they are only useful when they are accomplishing their purpose, when they are bringing us closer to Jesus. If this practicality is missing they, and possibly we, are dead.

When you find yourself loving and placing your hope in something say, "Toss this thing, do I know Jesus?" If the answer is no, perhaps it's time to make a change.

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