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The Political Burrito

The Political Burrito

So, a question that just keeps on popping up these days…”Who do I vote for?” or yet “Who should I place my trust in for the next 4 years?”

Yes friends, its true. We are less than a month away from showing up at your local polling place to walk into a booth, behind a curtain, and make our finger smudge on a touch-screen of squares propped up on a shoddy, telescope-leg, makeshift platform. Of course, as we make our way there and on into the parking lot, we will be bombarded by hues of red, white, and blue. We will see images of the golden eagle, stars and stripes, and well dressed men with promises of a better tomorrow. It is very likely that we will hear all kinds of persuasive oral essays along the way telling us of equal rights, health care, secret taxes, wars, and the plight of a big yellow fowl from the land of colored screens.

I’m sure your respective social media feed has become an onslaught of similarly charged images and words sprinkled with shades of red and blue. Many a person of faith will tell you how their guy is the next person to deliver us from the evils of previous administrations and the level of wrong involved in the other guys particular rhetoric. All of these things are new and scary for so many, but it seems to me that they all hearken back to a previous time that was in a turmoil so similar to the plight we see here in our own backyards every day. In all of this confusion, a story long told can give us an awesome clarity as we approach these scenes of political chaos.

The world around them was in a state of absolute political unrest. They were watching people be persecuted for beliefs that differed from that of the current administration, and much of the rest of the world was in some way shape or form occupied by this great super power. There were debates of rights and values going on around every corner, and you could look in any direction and see numbers of politically powered military serving their country with an overwhelming pride. The news carried stories of war, people rebelling in the street, and even genocides.

In the midst of all this, a baby was born. The moment he was born, he was a refugee, on the run from the administration of the time. Somehow, this little baby boy was a threat to the empire, and as Shane Claiborne awesomely puts it, all he had done so far was cry and poop. Of course, as time pressed on and this baby became a man, people started noticing Him. He was hanging out with zealots and tax collectors, chatting with prostitutes and the same military guard that was oppressing his people. He started loving people, and helping them, and all of a sudden he had massive amounts of folks following his every move. Some wanted to learn from him, others simply wanted to catch him in a lie or doing something wrong so they could get rid of him.

It all culminated when one day he rode into a big city to a triumphant fanfare of praise. The people had decided that he would be their next leader, and he would deliver them from the oppression of the current administration. They just knew that an overthrowing of the current empire was coming. However, as they started to really pay attention, things didn’t make sense. He rode in on a donkey, not some sort of large flashy horse. He didn’t want a political office, or to start any sort of conflict. The same people who hailed him now cried out for his blood to be shed. In a further irony as he was arrested and one of his followers attacked to defend him he not only stopped them, but turned around and healed one of those persecuting him and went on with them peaceably.

After being tried, convicted, and sentenced by a hesitant government being pressured by the crowd of citizens, they dressed him in royal purple, marched him in a processional, and gave him a crown, all just like the political inaugurations of the current administration of the day. The golden eagle remained triumphant and in power, and so many of those who had hoped in this supposed new political leader were afraid they had been let down yet again. Of course, we know what happened next and how upside down it turned all of the expectations of our world in its wake.

What I see today is so scary, and eerily similar its absolutely remarkable. What we seem to forget though, is that the outcome of that political scandal still stands today. While every other effort before and since has fallen away with mere time.  So in the meantime and leading up to that day in November, remember that no one involved is truly your next best hope, or the one who will fix anything. Nope, all of that has already been here, and will be here now and forever, just choose to accept it, embrace, and know that what came from that time in 1st century Rome, is all you need in 21st century America. So wrap that up in your burrito for today folks, because it’s been here, is here, and will be here evermore.

One more Shane Claiborne quote to finish: “We are faithful not to the triumphant golden eagle (ironically, also an imperial symbol of power in Rome) but to the slaughtered Lamb.”

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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in General

 

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The Strange Burrito

The Strange Burrito

Let me start my entry today by disclaiming something: I am not cool. Yep, I admit it, I am unabashedly, and down right completely uncool. I know this to be true because I have a 6 year old daughter that tells me this quite regularly. I used to be cool. I was the lead singer in a fairly popular local band, a top of my class student at my tech school in high school, I even traveled a lot and won competitions and had really unique experiences. Now, I’m a youth minister, a dad, a full time employee for an insurance company, and I enjoy eating all kinds of food and watching Food Network all day if I can find the time to rest. I’m pretty sure most of that stuff are automatic qualifiers to the land of the uncool.

The question I have today, though, is “Do we need to be cool?” I find myself reading a lot and so often in most of the stuff I am reading you see people searching for or trying to make God “relevant” or “cool” to today’s generation. I’m completely guilty of aspiring to this myself, especially in my youth ministry, but I’m finding more and more that I don’t think that cool is where we need to be. Nope, as a matter of fact, instead of cool we need to be “strange”. In the book of Romans, good ole Paul says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  I can’t speak for you, but I don’t hear any cool in that statement, but I hear a lot of strange.

Words like “non-conformist” and “transformed” usually not connected to cool unless your one of those cats that are into the whole “I’m a non-conformist just like all these other people” types. That’s a much more stereotypical cool I reckon, but not what I mean for all intents and purposes here. I guess though, people thought Jim Morrison was cool, but all he wanted to be was “strange”. I think being strange is great though. It works out to my advantage quite often, being cool only worked for so long.

We are called to “pray without ceasing” as it says in the Bible, and that is a GREAT example of strange. I pray all the time these days, though it doesn’t always resemble typical prayer. For example, I typically do my grocery shopping late Sunday night every week. I chose Sunday night because it’s a low traffic time in my grocery store and it gives me an opportunity to spend some time praying over the week ahead as I select our menu for the week, in addition to the fact that when I go by myself, I spend a lot less money. Now, inevitably some folks see me meandering down the aisles staring at the items and, in their eyes, mumbling to myself, they immediately assume I’m some crazy mental case that has wandered into the store so they leave me alone, thus allowing me to continue my shopping in peace, if I were cool these people would want to talk and totally disrupt the whole experience. Strange: 1 Cool: 0

Another great thing about being strange is that quite often, I find myself in the position where people that I interact with ask me questions about why I’m so “strange”. Of course, the first order of business in these situations is to explain that it’s all because I recognized my call to be “set apart” and be different. Everything else just falls into place conversationally from there. All I can do is be that strange guy mumbling as I walk down the aisles of the grocery, or the guy that actually enjoys watching all of those documentaries on Netflix, or the guy that decides to pay for the meal of the person standing in front of me at Subway without handing them a business card or a pamphlet, or the guy that always talks about burritos. Either way, I’m a pretty strange guy.

I recently put together a contemporary service at my church and in doing so, was very purposeful to not follow a set formula in the order of worship. At the end, I walked up to give the closing, right after playing a video making fun of the way everybody closes a worship service. My church is a small one, and virtually everyone that showed up, I knew on an extremely close level, and knew they were all saved, all born again Christians. The strange part? I planned on that being the case, and gave an invitation anyway. Most often at the end of a service, you hear the “Altar Call” but I borrowed a quote from Shane Claiborne and gave an “Alter Call” because I know that there are a lot of people out there that have already been saved, what I want to see is a whole lot of people who are ready to change, be different, and show that they’re “set apart”. I’ve seen what people look like when they’re cool, I want to see what people look like when they’re strange. So do we need to be cool in order to reach this generation, or will strange work all the same?

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic traditon, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Karis

 

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