This was my status update for today, March 10, 2011, at 10:24 AM. I will anxiously wait to see the responses that might come through because I am genuinely interested in what makes people face change with more strength and courage. I could probably make some guesses, but I think that I will wait and do a follow-up on this.
Few people that I know or have encountered are “change junkies.” I know at least one in my life, probably two, but they are the exception rather than the rule. People genuinely do not like change, and if they do, it’s probably because the change most likely has little impact on them and their own personal preferences. Change is hard, disruptive, uncomfortable, and, at times, very painful.
Based on the assessment of my strengths through the Strength Finders test and a further refining look at those through a process called Core Clarity, people with my top five strengths can be classified as “stabilizers.” The funny thing is, sometimes that stabilization manifests itself as de-stabilization. In other words, if in order to get to the end goal it becomes necessary to disrupt things in order to bring about a more stable system, I’m all in.
Those who know me deeply are laughing right now because of the truth of that statement. If you meet me and have any length of conversation with me, you would most likely feel that you get a pretty good snapshot within the first few times of talking with me. What you see is what you get; I am a New Englander by upbringing and a New Yorker by birth. The combination of the two of those together would make some people utter some words that I will refrain from typing.
Jesus was a change agent. He came to the world because a change was necessary. Based on what Paul writes in Romans, and also the whole of Scripture, we know that things are broken and they need to be fixed. Sin has turned our world upside down and God made a way for that to happen. Jesus was and is the solution to the sin problem. While I won’t go so far as to call Jesus a change junkie, it was definitely his bottom line. I would go a step further and say that it was transformation, which might simply be defined as change with purpose and direction.
It follows then that those people who would consider themselves followers of Jesus need to ask themselves some very important questions, like, “do we really understand who Jesus is and what he came for?” If you go into a majority of churches today and listen to the murmurs that lie just beneath the surface, I would think that you would agree with me that the message that some have interpreted as Jesus’ message is a far cry from the radical message that we have documented in the Gospels. We have made the message about us and our own preferences rather than about our Father’s business. We have decided that it’s fine and good to say that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost, as long as he takes care of me first. We have abducted a message that is about love, repentance, forgiveness, and transformation and made it a self-centered psychological “I’m OK, who gives a #$^& if you’re OK” message.
The sad part of it is that if you listened to the sermons that are being preached in these same churches, you would be hard-pressed to believe that they were the same church. It’s not that the message that is coming from the pulpits is false, it’s that there is a disconnect in how people are hearing that message. Somehow, people’s lenses and filters for hearing this message are distorted, and I have an idea how to take that distortion away: true discipleship.
I’m going to leave it there and see what kinds of response come to me on Facebook. This is some serious stuff to “chew on” and process, even for me. Are you willing to take a long, hard look at everything that you thought was true and have it de-stabilized? What if the end result was more amazing and fulfilling than anything that you could even dream or imagine? Think about it.