Food for Thought-Shouldn’t We Have Been Raptured By Now? (2 Corinthians:8-10)

RMark

You may be right,

I may be crazy…

William Joel

For the past week, the sun has continued to rise and my heterosexual marriage has remained intact. I have looked for the rapture for over a week now. While thunderstorms and shark attacks have plagued my island home, nothing has happened resembling the second coming of Christ. So, if God hasn’t had time to gather his stuff up by now ( a full week after the Supreme Court decision) and rapture us homosexual supporting, Jesus following, self-proclaimed Christians along with all the other sinners down to hell for being overjoyed at the legality of same sex unions, I’m ready to get on with my life. I have to prepare for the birthday of the United States of America.

The watchword in certain Christian circles is that churches, Christians, and believers in Jesus Christ are going to be made weaker by the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. The church is “under assault”. That’s the common mantra in certain Christian circles. If you believe what you read, pastors like me will soon be forced by jack booted agents of the state to perform same sex weddings while my offerings are used to pay for abortions conducted in my fellowship hall. This is the image of religious attack, being painted on a daily basis by many Christians in America. While vivid and emotional, it’s simply not true. It’s a lie.  No one has done this. No one will do this. It makes the fundamentalist church look like those sad people hoping for disasters and tragedies which never arrive. They are the “Jade Helm 15” believers of the Christian world; malcontents who weave a few distorted facts to fit their desperate hopes for a divine blood bath. Have you ever been around a conspiracy theorist whose theories never materialized? They are bitter people and they always have an excuse. What will their excuse be this time?

“Woe to us,” say the fundamentalist Christians, “our values and lifestyles as judgmental prudes are under threat”. “How can we continue to function if our incredibly narrow interpretation of scripture and out of context reading of the Bible seems to be rejected by the people we want to “love up on” but somehow judge at the same time? We keep waiting on the world to end but the sun keeps rising. When is God going to end it all and take us home and prove us right!”

Isn’t the love of Christ about being strong? Strong, certain, and unassailable in your beliefs about everything Jesus said, especially the things you agree with and ignoring the things like loving your enemy which sound weak? Isn’t being a Christian the spiritual equivalent of a mixed martial arts fighter? You’re a dude, a dude with many (yet wholesome) tattoos which express your total bad ass-ness but love for Jesus Christ because you’re a strong dude for Christ who can raise your hands when you pray, play a guitar, and kick ass if need be in a God-fearing way.

But if no one wants to fight you (maybe if the demons and attacks you fear are truly in your head and completely imagined), and everyone is moving on with their lives, getting married, and God’s not coming back anytime soon, who’s there left to be angry at-each other?

Perhaps the love of God isn’t about being strong after all, maybe it’s about being weak. Maybe the love of God has nothing to do with ability to kick someone’s ass, masculinity, picking a fight, or waiting for the end of the world. Perhaps it’s got everything to do with being and feeling weak. Why do I say this? In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, Paul says these words, “Because power is made perfect in weakness. So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weakness so Christ’s power can rest on me.”

It’s one thing to stand around in a prayer circle or in a sanctuary on Sunday morning and talk about how strong Jesus is; it’s another matter altogether to talk about how weak we are. Yes we “need” Jesus. We can’t do it without him. However, it’s very rare to hear people bragging about their weakness. There is a not so subtle difference between needing Jesus, talking about the strength of Jesus, and bragging about our weaknesses.  When you brag about weakness, people are likely to go home and gossip.  Yet, Paul brags about his weakness.  We’re along way from  being comfortable with bragging on how weak we are.  We love to be persecuted.  Pretend weakness (in the form of manufactured persecution), we’ve got that in spades.  However, what Paul is talking about most of us haven’t the fainest clue.

It is when we acknowledge our weaknesses, Paul says, that we become strongest. Most fundamentalist Christians see no weakness in their position on homosexuality but, like a drunk on a jury, they can spot a guilty man by looking at him. They see everyone else’s weakness. People like me, my denomination, we’re wrong. We’re weak or so they would say. I’m glad to be weak. I’m more than happy to acknowledge my weakness. It leaves me firmly in line with the Apostle Paul and the scriptural tradition. At my weakest I am in a place where Jesus can do the greatest good through my fragile soul and sometimes faint heart.

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