Friday, February 21, 2014

in which He did not call us to be jerks

{photo by Jennifer}
there's a picture going around my newsfeed, a cartoon drawing of a bleeding man dressed in a rainbow shirt being bludgeoned by men holding Bibles. these caricatures were drawn to make us think, to draw the nodding heads and the "mmm"-ing and then "how true, how true" from those who identify as Christians. but I feel like it gets forgotten that the idea of the Sword of Truth being wielded like a butcher knife is more common, that we're good at passing out scarlet letters, carved into the chests so that they never forget they are sinners.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: they know us by the things we hate instead of by our love, and that's the opposite of the way He meant for things to be.

do you really wonder why they hate us? why when someone hesitantly says, "I'm a Christian," there's groans and eyerolls and muttering?  I've heard the laughter myself, heard the mocking voice of the ones trodden undo so-called holy feet. there should be something different about us, the ones who don "small Christ, wandering followers of the Rabbi" as our moniker. and unfortunately, there is something different :: the fact that we so often choose to us Truth as an excuse to cleave flesh from bone and then drag them by the hair to the foot of the cross.

you're forgiven and you're going to like it. or else. 

you want bluntness? you want transparency?

Jesus did not call us to be assholes. He did not bleed Himself dry to raise a horde of sanctified jerks, to lead an army of righteous indignation. when He said to turn the other cheek, He didn't mean by slapping one until the head bows in apologetic pain.

{photo by Jennifer}
it breaks me down when I think back to the hearts I turned, the way my own words sliced and my own hands slapped and my nails clawed frantic to make them see their sin. but instead, I scratched the corneas of their souls until things were blurred and tears streamed and they stumbled away into fog. I pray someone else came behind me and loved them better, loved them like He would have done.

sometimes I look at the story of the Crucifixion, the way they ripped His body into shreds and spilled His blood on the courtyard stones, and I think, maybe there's more of a picture there than at first glance. because that picture, it's visceral and holy and grace personified. but I can almost see Him looking up from beneath the thirty-ninth lash, thorns pressing into His skin, and maybe I can read His lips.

I took this already. I'm doing this for them, for you, for all. 
it's covered. it's taken care of, once for all.
please don't do this to anyone else.  

He died to make us alive, died to tear down walls and bring separation to a minimum. He cradled the broken ones closest, touched the untouchable, and laid the twisted paths straight. there is Truth we seem to forget :: this thing of grace, this thing of mercy, this thing of Love that passes through death's grip and into Life abundant.

and this, this is the marvel of marvels. 
that He called me beloved. 
{c.s. lewis}


  1. Whew. Powerful and incredibly brave words, dear Rachel. And painfully true.

  2. the sad part is when we are known more for what we are against
    than waht we are know...

  3. "they know us by the things we hate instead of by our love"

    what if you love complaining about stuff you dislike?

    just kidding

    ok, NOT kidding, just kidding that this is relevant to your post :) going to find the OTHER blog entry now


I look at you and see all the ways a soul can bruise, and I wish I could sink my hands into your flesh and light lanterns along your spine so you know there's nothing but light when I see you. :: Shinji Moon