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It's interesting to look at your life, past to present, and think: "It has all led up to this...." And then wonder where it will lead to next.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Clash of Callings

I'm not going to lie, I am not the least bit political, or even interested in politics. I will even admit that I did not vote the last go round (I had moved a lot that year and wasn't registered, although in the end it really didn't matter). There are a lot of reasons I don't talk politics: 1) I don't research it enough to feel competent enough to have a worthwhile discussion, 2) talking about politicians these days much more resembles gossip than interesting/educational conversation, 3) I don't even care enough to think up a third reason.

The only reason I bring this up is that presidential campaigning really discourages me. It makes me want to get as far away from politics as possible and leave the country so I don't feel the least bit responsible (I know, there is no real escape, and it wouldn't solve anything anyway). I know this isn't "good" or "right" or whatever. I know as a citizen I should take an interest, be involved as best I can, and help make this country better. Don't worry, I have been slightly more in-tune this time around, and I do intend to vote-- I just don't want to. So far there is no one running who I think, "Yeah he's a good'n!" Or even, "That'll do pig..." I'm pretty disgusted by all the campaign adds and all the lies and dirty tactics politicians use not only to one-up each other but to completely tear down their opponents. I mean, is it possible to run for president without becoming a spiteful middle schooler with insecurity issues? I didn't grow up in the states, so this is only the second presidential race I have witnessed. I really don't like it.

I've mentioned in previous posts that I struggle to feel "American." (Perhaps "struggle" is the wrong word, I just don't feel American.) I really don't feel obligated to make America the best country in the world. I feel just as comfortable/uncomfortable here as I did in China, although in China I was constantly reminded I was a foreigner, I experience just as much culture shock here as I have any other place I've been. America isn't "home" to me. But neither is anywhere else. I'm coming to the realization that that's ok, and maybe even irrelevant. I am not apposed to patriotism (although Aaron, knowing me as he does, might disagree with that statement), I just don't think it's my "Christian" obligation to love my country more than any other country. I don't believe America is more blessed by God than other countries (debt is a clever disguise though). Or that America should be blessed because it is "more Christian" (more churches does not necessarily mean more followers of Christ).

I am not making excuses for or trying to justify my lack of passion for the political world, just trying to figure out how what I believe should look in my life. I'm trying to distinguish between God's calling and America's calling. What I struggle with most is living out what I believe without being considered a "crazy fanatic." That should not be my focus, but it is what holds me back from living completely for God. The desire to fit in, not stand out-- not be considered weird. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like American Christians are more concerned with molding Christianity to our culture's values, than living a life truly sold out for Christ. I am guilty of this! My Christian beliefs and my American beliefs clash. This clash confuses me, holds me back, and quite honestly creates this "luke warm" faith I so often succumb to. Have you ever noticed that the most common question in the American church about the gospel is: "Now, how does that look in an every day life?" We shouldn't be living every day, normal lives, should we? If we're out to convince ourselves and others that we can live for God and still be normal, are we not lying through our teeth?? This contradicts Christ's very gospel!

Some words from someone much wiser and less hypocritical than I:

"You see, I believe Jesus Christ alone is the answer for the ills of the world. Communism is not the answer, but neither is democracy. It is God's will that must rule, and His kingdom that must reign on earth as it is in heaven. Democracy may be good in many ways, but it is a concept not supported in Scripture. If democracy was the rule of law in God's kingdom, then Moses would never have led Israel out of Egypt, for the majority of Israelites grumbled against Moses and even wanted him put to death. If they listened to the voice of democracy, Caleb and Joshua would have been overruled, for those two men went against the advice of all the other spies who returned from the Promised Land. When God commanded me to stand up and walk out of prison in 1997, there was no need to hold a meeting to discuss it with the other believers. When the Almighty speaks, all other voices fall silent." 

"...I was shocked to discover that many [Western] Christians and churches have very little spiritual warmth left in them. They may have just a few embers remaining on the fire of God's alter, but I have good news for you: even those little embers of coal can reignite when the wind of the Holy Spirit blows upon you!"

"My friend, are you tired from years of living your Christian life in your own strength? Do you make your plans and ask God to bless them, rather than seeking out His plans and obeying them? Jesus desires to set you free. He wants you to take off your old grave clothes and exchange them for robes of righteousness.
Your faith may have grown stale and dry, but God wants streams of living water to flow from within you! He wants you to renew your first love and to walk in obedience to Him, realizing He is not only the God of the past and the future, but the God of today."

"I encourage you to kneel down and pour out your heart before the Lord. Allow Him to set you free from your secret sins that have bound you and held you back in chains. If someone have wronged you and you have not forgiven them, now is the time to forgive them from your heart. Unforgiveness and bitterness will cause you to die inside.
It doesn't matter if people reject you and say you are worthless. All that matters is that Jesus loves you, and He wants to be your best friend. Our Lord said:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. 
John 15:13-17

You who are loved by Jesus, come out!"
- Living Water (Brother Yun)

To steal a quote from a friend:

"I don't aim to be disrespectful, but when we were praying for God to come, our prayers were like, 'Here kitty, kitty, kitty, and ROOAAAARRRRR, the Lion of Judah showed up.' He was so much stronger and fiercer than the tamed, controllable 'kitty' we were expecting. We pray for the Holy Spirit to come, but when He does, the first thing we tell HIm is, "Now sit down on the back seat and behave Yourself.'"

I am praying for a raging fire. In my heart and yours! Let's invite God to transform our lives, instead of transforming Him to fit into ours!

I may or may not know what I am getting myself into, but... Come Holy Spirit! Come!


Jenny said...

I think this is really something to ponder, Faith. Good things to think about... and brave (or possibly crazy) things to pray!

Have you read Radical? You should. Ever since reading that book, I find myself really struggling with thoughts of the "American Dream." That's not what God is calling us to!

Sam said...