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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Do I want to live an easy life or an important one?

I've decided to drop the "15 minutes" lead in on my title names. From here on out, it goes without saying that I only spent 15 minutes on each post. That can pretty much be inferred from the number of typos and incomplete thoughts, anyway.

Anyway, I've been surrounded by Moses lately. We saw the "Exodus" movie with Christian Bale last month. Izzy is watching "The Prince of Egypt" right now. A friend gave us a book titled "The Red Sea Rules" about the difficult situations Moses often found himself. I feel like there should be a saying "between the Red Sea and Pharoah's army", akin to "between a rock and a hard place".

For the record, I did love "Exodus". (The movie, not the book in the Bible. I mean, I loved both, but in this instance, I'm referring to the movie.) I know it was controversial, and it didn't sit especially well with me that God was portrayed as an angry, vindictive ten year old boy. However, I was able to feel an empathy toward Moses that I hadn't been able to previously. He was asked to be the bringer of bad news to his brother, time and again. The people he was raised with were the Egyptians, and he had to not only see them suffer terribly, but feel responsible in part for their pain. He must have cried out to God so many times for another way to freedom. I can relate to this, as I look at the pain and suffering of those that I love dearly.

I think that the director's portrayal of God in the movie was probably an indicator of his attitude toward God. It's inaccurate, but it's one that so many have. I've felt this way toward God, in a season of grief, and I have empathy for those that are there. Thankfully, God is bigger than our ideas about him and he doesn't abandon us in our confusion.

So, surrounded by Moses as I've been, I decided to look for ways that God wants to teach me through the story of Exodus. I've had a strong feeling for over a year now that God might be leading our family into its own desert. These last two months have often felt like being lost in the wilderness, but hopefully we will not be here for 40 years, like the Israelite people. I also hope that I'll keep a better attitude than they did, but my track record doesn't make me feel too confident about that one.

To finally get around to the point I intended to make today, Moses' relationship with his brother was so complicated. The Bible doesn't dive into that too much, so I'm speculating, of course. He loved his brother, but knew that God's calling was undeniable. Lately, I feel like the Bible belt church culture is my brother, and my family is Moses. Perhaps I'm being a bit melodramatic, but I feel so strongly about this. Every day it seems, I meet people longing for a true family of believers, but they don't know where to start. As I said before, we feel like we're in a desert of sorts, with no idea where we are wandering to. We don't know where we're going, but we know what we're looking for. I'm thankful for writers, groups, and individuals who've shared their journey with us and taught us terms like "organic church" and "intentional community".

I'm also afraid that big brother institutional church is going to reject this new way. The South is so steeped in Church culture, and I find that charming and precious, but largely unrelated to the revolutionary Son of God I read about in the Gospels. Are they all lost? I don't believe so, but I do think the institution as a whole has stalled out. I feel a burden to help peel away the layers of culture to find a counter-cultural heart of subversive uprising.

I love the institutional church. It's pretty much all I've known. I could easily find more than enough good there to feel justified staying inside of it. The Holy Spirit seems to be telling me "good enough" is not what he wants. He wants His Kingdom to come, His will to be done. From looking at Exodus and the Gospels and quite a few stories in between, He believes in shaking things up a bit, in messy ways, in order to for us to see Him better.

So, the question I ask myself is this - do I want to live easy (um, honestly, yes), or do I want to be important for God's Kindgom? My heart can't deny its desire to be a tool God uses in great ways, I just pray for the courage and confidence to be up to the task.

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