I used to look away. I used to see the pain and avert my gaze. But not anymore. Now when I see a difficult image of a child impacted by terror, I take it in. I allow myself to feel the emotions. I often cry, or sit in breathless sadness, or grit my teeth in anger. When I allow myself to do that, it does a work in me that is hard to explain.
In our lonely, distracted age, people are longing to be seen and heard.
In response to this, words like authenticity or transparency have become buzzwords for churches across the West. They rightly strive to foster more authentic relationships or to be more transparent with their practices, but unfortunately, believers have also learned to fake it. We developed ways to use just enough honesty and still maintain control. If we ever want real authenticity, real transparency, we must step beyond our comfort zones, and we can learn how to do this (and how not to) through an unlikely ally: Standup Comedy.
While both sides have their narrow-minded, acrimonious crusaders, this debate is usually between people with good hearts. Faithful followers of Jesus who hold progressive views on same-sex matters are motivated by compassion and an admirable desire for fairness (often referred to as “justice”). They are compelled by a passion for equal and nondiscriminatory treatment of everyone. I know stories of people whose watershed moments came while facing the awful reality of racial discrimination and who want to be sure we do not make the sinful mistake of discriminating against same-sex attracted people.
Whatever the earthly future holds for the church and human culture, evangelicalism and modernity will be carried into it. Whatever postmodernity and post-evangelicalism are, they are because of modernity. And despite shifts in style, the substance of both evangelicalism and modernity are very much with us still.
Inasmuch as Christianity aligns with the nature of the created order and the supernatural revelation of God to his people, then the promotion of that good news to all people (that is, evangelism) and the application of those truths (activism) advances the flourishing of God’s creation even amid its fallenness.
I watch Netflix while I wash dishes. I follow NBA scores while I grade. I panic for a moment when I begin to go upstairs to get something. I turn around and find my phone to keep me company during the two-minute trip. When it’s late enough, I collapse, reading a book or playing an iOS game. I’m never alone and it’s never quiet.
The previous versions of Jesus Christ Superstar either played it far too safely and stereotypically or got it right on the money with a deeply sobering ending and even a wink at a potential resurrection. The 2013 version pulled out all the stops to make a mockery of the whole thing.
When the Worst comes, you feel as if the storyline and purpose of your life have either been seriously disrupted or totally terminated. Before the Worst, you had dreams and aspirations. Now tragedy and pain have shattered your vision.
All the beautiful art you experience can be traced back to the creativity of the Creator. As an artist, why wouldn’t you want to soak yourself in the poetry, stories, and songs of the only self-sustaining and self-influenced Artist that exists?
We all struggle with the fear that our lives don’t measure up. We all long to be seen as significant in the eyes of someone important, perhaps a parent, a boss, a teacher, or a friend. Sometimes the goal is to meet our own impossibly high self- expectations.