When I was a kid, I looked up to adults. I thought that the people on TV reading the news, running big companies, preaching in the churches, and leading the country – well, I thought they knew what they were talking about. There is a sense of security as a kid to think “Well, the adults know what they are doing. It’s all going to be ok.” Now that I’m an adult, I look around and realize that it was a definitely a childhood illusion. I see that we are all lost, broken, and confused. Everyone. Every one.
The arguing, angry voices in our culture are becoming so loud. It’s like listening to the high pitched sounds of children on a playground fighting and wailing at each other– the escalating screams on both sides cease to make sense. I don’t think people even know what they are saying anymore.
Speaking as a Christian, I wonder if some of us have forgotten: Jesus does not come to us in arguments. Jesus does not come to us with a loud voice. Jesus does not come to us with a sword or a Bible bludgeon or a threat. Jesus does not come to us with protests, marches, or political speeches and statements. Jesus comes to us individually, anywhere we are, even in the midst of a storm, and whispers to us with a very still, small voice: “I love you.”
And that is all I will say in response to the so-called “culture war.” Love shall be my only defense. But truly, is it not the most dangerous weapon of all? Love can cut like a knife to the quick, it can take our breath away, and in one of the great mysteries of the universe, it can change a heart of stone into one of flesh.
I choose to look to the real Jesus as my guide through this storm. Through all the noise, through all distraction, may I never forget the Jesus that was born in a barn, dined with prostitutes and sinners and pissed off the conservative leaders of the day by loving the unloved… the one who died homeless, as a criminal we hated, and then screwed up everyone’s plans by coming back a king. This real Jesus worked through intimate relationships with people; he was not a political or religious figure. And he reminded us that we were all created equally, and that we are all equals in our brokenness and need.
To be sure, the real Jesus is an extremely confusing and frustrating guy. But if anybody else is up for trying to figure out who he is, come on by. Everyone is welcome here. But let me warn you: the people hanging out here are far from perfect. We struggle and wrestle with our own unbelief and our own sin. We don’t always do the right thing or say the right thing. But what we ARE doing is listening to Jesus’ voice, saying “I love you.” His words fill us up to the brim, so that we have no other recourse than to turn to the person sitting next to us (whoever they may be) and honestly say to them: “I love you, too.”