I've been talking recently with a great many people about being offended. Examples you ask for? OK.
Ang said that her pastor usually preaches in a 3-piece suit, he forgot to wear his suit coat and apologized to the congregation.
Why? Is the congregation so tender and spiritually unstable that the lack of a sport coat (but presence of the vest, dress shirt, tie, dress pants, and dress shoes) is so damnable to them that they can't worship God?
Person B says they don't like to worship style of their church. They want it to be more traditional, more contemporary, more whatever. If the music was different, then it would really feed them more.
I mean I could go on and on.
When did going to church and fellowshipping with other believers become about what makes US feel better? Why is it about what makes US comfortable, popular, powerful etc? Shouldn't it be about worshipping God?
I mean, I get the distractions, phones ringing, babies crying, whispering behind you, people tapping their foot along the back of your chair. I mean I get that there can be things that tangibly distract you from what is happening.....but a suit coat?
I went and saw Rob Bell speak on Saturday night, it was amazing. He talked about the system of violence that kept the Sadducee's rich and the poor poor. He talked about how they defended that system of violence with more violence. When Jesus was just "annoying" they let it slide. But when he started to threaten their sacrifice system, that was lining their pockets, they knew they had to kill him.
They defended violence with violence.
So for Jesus to be radical, for Jesus to break through that system and show people that there was a better way then the legalism he couldn't operate within that system. He had to buck it and respond with the opposite of violence.
Jesus never once lashed out at them, never once raised a fist, or a sword to the Sadducee's that he knew were going to kill him.
Jesus was fully God, and therefore could have taken himself off the cross. But Jesus was also fully human, and had the free will to avoid, to walk away from the ministry that he was called to. That ministry being dying on the cross.
But he didn't.
If he had reverted to the Sadducee's system of violence he would have been no different, and just another Rabbi.
I read in another book, called "Mean Girls All Grown Up" (it's about the unique way that adult women bully each other, it is phenomenal and you should read it if you're a woman) about this idea of being offended. About how it's all about, "I was slighted, I didn't get enough attention, why didn't I get credit, MY feelings were hurt, MY needs weren't met." This book stipulates that even to the point of dying on the cross, being humiliated, spat upon, beaten and tortured, Jesus only ever got offended when someone spoke against his Father in heaven. So.........who are we to be so offended? We will go through life being offended here, pissed or at being slighted here. But one person says godda***t in front of us and we're over being offended. Someone calls our faith, our God, our relationship with Jesus a hoax, a delusion, something that we are silly and unintelligent for believing....well we don't want to be politically incorrect do we?
I mean c'mon.
Christmas is upon us. So here again is the season for believers and non-believers alike to fight over the difference between "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas". We say this, this is what I will be offended for. They are condemning my religion, my God's rightful and centered place in CHRISTmas.
Yeah OK, I'll buy that.
So, in defending their God, they manipulate, cajole, bitch and moan about it. They plot to bring in as many Christmas themed things and place them at their work station to really "prove a point" about Christianity and that it's good.
Really? You're going to prove how great and majestic God is by the wind up nativity that plays O' Holy Night at your workstation? Don't you think that playing of music that clashes with the background music would irritate your co-worker? Well, maybe, but it will help them enter into a relationship with Christ because they'll see the nativity and they'll know that Christ is the "reason for the season"
Uh, sure. We'll say that. Because I remember not 5 years ago when I wasn't a believer and I saw nativities and I maybe thought (if anything) oh, another one, great. But mostly I didn't think anything of them at all...because I didn't know Christ they were unimportant to me.
You know what did speak to me?
remembering who I was
asking me how I was and listening to the answer
I didn't accept Christ because someone played O Holy Night at their desk loudly, and might I add passive aggressively (which we all know is what Jesus would do). I accepted Christ because people that loved him, loved me.
Rob Bell spoke about the living sacrifice that we're all called to be for Christ. He talked about how you can tell people until your blue in the face about the sacrifice that Jesus made to save them. Rob Bell said their responses can be, "Well you don't know what my dad did to me" "You don't understand what's happening in my country" "You don't know what my life is like, Jesus didn't die for this, so he didn't die for me at all"
They can't see it, so they deny it.
But you can put flesh and bones on this sacrifice. You can be good and kind in a world that desperately needs good, kind people. You can be what people need to see, to see that Christ did not come and die for no reason.
Our actions mean something. Our words carry more weight then we're willing to admit. Our attitudes, our thoughts, our prayers, our everything has an opportunity to impact your family, your neighborhood, your work, your city, your state, country, world. We chose how we react, how we process, how we deal.
In those choices lies the opportunity to shine a light on Jesus and the peace that he died to bring us, or it can say, "You're right, the world is to damaged, what your dad did to you is to awful, you'll never recover"
What do your actions, words, thoughts, prayers, attitudes do? Where do you point, who do you impact?
I move back and forth between the two every day...we all will. But at least try, it's the least we can do for Jesus.