I have a thousand ideas a day. At a church meeting not so long ago I shared one such idea. As I reflect on it now I see that my thinking was incomplete and that it is best that my idea was not immediately implemented but the reason for not accepting my idea disturbed me then and continues to disturb me now. I had suggested that this idea was in line with the teachings of Jesus and was told, “That may be true but we are looking for real world solutions to real world difficulties.” As I say, I can now see many other ways of addressing the issues and I hope I am open to the thoughts of greater minds but the notion of relegating Jesus to the ‘unreal world’ bothers me. My bad idea was rejected for worse reasons.
This event came back to mind during a conversation with a couple of guys from Street Hope. The topic of gun control came up. One of the guys spoke about a pastor in the states who keeps a gun in his pulpit. My friend said “Geesh man, does he think Jesus would be packing?” We tried to imagine a scenario where we could imagine Jesus pulling out his rod and blasting someone. We are a pretty imaginative bunch but we could not come up with a plausible scene where this might take place. My other friend piped up “How can that guy call himself a Jesus follower, acting like that?” We spend a lot of time in our interactions talking about being a Jesus follower so in one way I was glad that this question came up. I reminded him that we always need to look in the mirror and that these questions are always more helpful if we recognize our own need to follow Jesus more closely. But as a culture we give out a wrong message separating faith from real world life. People are quick to assert their rights but slow to take up scriptural obligation to love.
I went home that day and read some of the argument between Origen and Celsus in the third century. Celsus’ point was that if everybody followed Jesus as Origen proposed that society would collapse. Of course is everybody adopted the Jesus Ethic society would not collapse. What Celsus feared was that a society living by the rule of love would be taken over by those who exercised worldly power (violence). The premise being that love is weak and violence is powerful. This can be a seductive thought until one reads 1 Cor. 13:8 “Love never fails”
At Up Town we have an expression “Simple to understand, hard to do.” This is why we need a Saviour and his sustaining power.