Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christian Lilliputians

A friend's blog inspired this post. Thanks, Bake. His blog is "Hearing the Whisper". Check it out.

Back in the day when I was cool (before I was "uncommonly uncool"), I was in a couple of bands, and we played churches and small Christian festivals. I've opened up for World Wide Message Tribe (remember them? I didn't think so), and almost opened up for Code of Ethics (remember them? Again, I figured you didn't). At these shows, you'd always hear the latest and greatest CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) had to offer, either via the covers that the other bands would do, or as filler music before and after the shows.

It was the only time I listened to CCM with any regularity.

I remember Audio Adrenaline's tunes over all the others because they were played more than anyone else. It was never my cup of joe, but they had a great ministry, and some catchy tunes, and one that really got a lot of play was "Hands and Feet", as in, we are God's hands and feet. I heard they recorded a sequel called, "Ankles and Neck", but they never released it. People just don't care about ankles that much, I guess, and that's where the metaphor broke down.

The sentiment is one that I agree with, in that we're the ones who show God's love through what we do. A more unsettling thought is that we're also God's mouth in some ways. No, we don't speak for God in any official capacity, like Moses or Oral Roberts. But, we do represent Him. If our actions should show Jesus, so should our tongue sound like Jesus. As the book of James will tell you, we stink at it.

So, if we don't do or say what God desires us to, we're in effect limiting the impact that the Gospel has. No, God cannot be limited. But, He won't make us do the stuff that we should. He won't make take care of the orphan or the widow. He wants us to choose it, because it we choose it (and, by proxy, Him), He is glorified. To be clear, you and I have to move our hands and feet and mouths for God's glory, or things that honor Him simply do not get done.

So, in the post from "Hearing the Whisper", Scott talks about Sinead O'Connor's song "Out of the Depths". Yeah, she's the one with the shaved head who ripped up a picture of the Pope, and everyone got mad. Since then, she's become a Catholic priest of some kind, and her last disc, "Theology" has God and church all over it. "Out of the Depths" was inspired by Psalm 130, and in it, she expounds on this theme of God's work being limited by our, well, limits. It may not be what she meant, but the lyrics sure read like that to me. Here's a segment:

"And I've heard religion say you're to be feared
But I don’t buy into everything I hear
And it seems to me you're hostage to those rules

That were made by religion and not by U

Now, God is not literally hostage to anyone, but the image of God, the impression of who God is, can be held hostage by those who are His, in that we can misrepresent Him to those who don't know Him. It's a very daunting task to be Christ's embassadors, and yet that is what we are, that is what He has decided should happen. 2 Corinthians 5:20a says it clearly: "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." His appeal is the Gospel, and so we should handle that appeal with all the care and conviction we can muster. Those who haven't made Jesus Lord have seen a view of God that we define by what we do, for better or worse.

It all reminds me of "Gulliver's Travels", specifically the movie version called "The Three Worlds of Gulliver", a live action version that I used to see on the Million Dollar Movie, which aired old flicks every day at 4 pm on Toledo's CBS station. Gulliver traveled lands where he was as small as an ant, or was as big as a skyscraper, depending on the locale. It was pretty impressive to me, and blew my little seven year old mind, that there were all of these little people, only as big as the finger of Gulliver, tying him down with little ropes and stakes. This, for me, is how I envision what can happen when we do a disservice to who God is, and what He does. We contain our representation of Him in an effort to control Him. We can't limit Him, but, at this point, when we've got the giant tied down, we limit what He will do through us.

Maybe because God is to big to comprehend, we try to tie up all that He is on a sandy beach so that we can define Him and make sense of Deity. We can't explain all that God is, so we represent Him in ways that we feel comfortable with. That's not how this is supposed to work, though. As for me, I don't want my hands and feet (or my words) to impede what God can do through me. I don't want my laziness or lack of understanding to stop what God is doing through others. I hope that I don't show people my version of Jesus, but just Jesus Christ, in all His glory.

Sinead O'Connor - "Out of the Depths"


Scott Baker said...

Lloyd awesome post. I am working on a series about rediscovering our first love. I am talking about the "man" Jesus.

One Sunday I am teaching that he is a man of no religion. The gullivers travel image will work. thanks!

I am using Mark 7 where Jesus quotes Isaiah (I am only using red letter accounts in this serie) "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."

I have thought about using the song "Out of the Depths" on that Sunday, do you have the music for it?


Lloydie said...

Thanks, Bake.

I could chord it out if you wanted. I don't have any music for it, but I'd be glad to help, or even write out the melody if needed.

Ritchie said...

Nobody wants to be the (metaphoric) gall bladder, but, without it, there's a lot of watery bowel movements.

Great post, by the way.

Adamgv said...

Check out this new Christian band that just released their first album. From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.

Tell All!!!