Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not What You Expect

I say, a person is only as good a writer as the place he chooses to write. There’s a reason you see more pens scribbling in moleskins at coffee shops, than circus arenas. Atmosphere matters and it made all the difference today. All week, I’d felt like a wandering bassoon with no schedule and no drive, my eyelids slipping half a second before I even cracked open the cover page, but today… I found my spot. I found a home in an aged armchair. It’s back reached high enough to enclose me from the rest of the room, creating a little world in which I could enjoy my instant coffee and lone cowboy cookie. I smiled at the quaintness of it all, chin on my knees and journal in hand.

It was here that my brain was free to think, and my thoughts were free to correlate, and my correlations were free to solidify in ink. So, what follows my dear friends is the result of a suitable surrounding.

It this was this article that inspired the pen flow:

It has it’s cliché moments, but the argument has some kick to it—some kick that got a piece of my behind this morning. Beth Spraul explains that chick-flicks have an effect on women similar to that of pornography on men: both foster destructive expectations of the other sex. Chick-flicks can encourage women to value material expectations in a man—(does he dress well? Is he a man of character… that is tall and handsome? Do others find him attractive… fun…cool?) while overshadowing what really counts in a man. This article is good, even when taken at face value, but to refrain from examining it in the broader picture would be like leaving the center of a warm sour dough roll uneaten (that’d be foolish).

If you took the time to read the article from the link above, and felt some sort of stab in the heart there is a significant and ancient root to your wince. The source had it’s birth way before your time, for you are not the first generation nor the first people group to put material preferences before qualities that truly matter, qualities that God would value. The Jews (God’s chosen people) of the ancient world awaited their Messiah, the coming of a Savior. This Messiah was Jesus Christ. Prophets foretold the way in which this Redeemer would come, however, most Jews took their own preferences and added them to the mix. They desired a Savior, but of a certain style, a specific type. The Jews believed this Messiah would come as a king (which He is), a king with power (which He has) and regal status (which He denied). Jesus had all the power and authority of God, yet resisted the outward display of these qualities, and instead embraced servitude. The Jews, much like many Christian singles today, demanded the display of holiness instead of raw, humble godliness.

Did they believe he would be handsome? Did they believe he would wear the finest of clothes? Did they hope he would sit on a throne and wear a crown? Did they desire him to save them from the Romans? They awaited a king that they would feel comfortable following, a king they would be proud to show off—but they found something different. They heard a carpenter say he is the Son of God. They marveled at the authority in his voice, but they looked down upon his position in society and squirmed upon hearing his provocative statements. The one the Jews had so long awaited, the one the prophets spoke of had finally come, but because of their material ideals, he was rejected.

He, Jesus, was NOT what they had expected. He was someone who washed others nasty feet, he was someone who worked on the Sabbath, he was someone who pointed out people’s faults, dined with sinners and sick people. He was not someone they were willing to worship. Gosh, what would people say of those who called a no name carpenter, Savior? How embarrassing would it be to wait generation, after generation, after generation for a Messiah who was born in a stable to very normal human parents? He was someone they would be embarrassed to show off to others, to bring home to the parents. He was different. He was radical. He didn’t care about social norms; he didn’t care about clothes—how embarrassing. They wished to be saved, but by someone who would enhance their reputation, yet Jesus said you must first lose your life to truly find it.

Still, he loved them—He came to proclaim His Father’s love to those awaiting him (Jews) and to those who were not (Gentiles). Any anyone willing to lay down his or her worldly point of view and proclaim him the Son of God, even though a humble servant—found the prize, received the gift. Only those gutsy enough to follow a plain and provocative carpenter find a Savior.

So, when we think of dating, when we think of a future spouse, we must search our hearts. Do we seek godly qualities or are you tainted with the expectations of what a godly woman or man looks like. For the Jews were influenced by what they thought a holy—Messiah would look like. These Jews did not recognize their material point of view, to them it only made sense that the Messiah would look like a king (because God had power and so do kings). Perhaps Christians have done the same—“godly girls wear clean-cut shirts and guys, chill plaid ones—because to be godly means to be classy.” That is a blatant example but there are more subtle ones too, “godly guys are smart and quick witted and godly girls have pretty smiles and friendly personalities.” Hum…how many Christians have missed real gems? Let us not mistake the visage of godliness, for true godliness.

The truly humble, like Jesus, are uncovered one way, by the fruit that they bear, by the way that they live. For what book did Jesus write? None. He need not explain his holiness; his power, his humility, and his love in writing… for his life actions were ample evidence of his divinity! Who, says the bible cannot apply to all areas of life? The gospel (the good news of a Savior for our sins) has shown us a template for how to approach dating! Look for one who’s humility and godliness is revealed in action, for from this approach God promises a gem!

So, let us find our armchairs then! Our places in which our minds can mediate on the Truth that is able to saturate and sanctify every corner of our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Laura,

    I am so glad I found your blog. Your words are amazing in truth, my friend, and I love it! I hope you are doing wonderfully, and I am excited to be listed as one of your Blog Followers! Wahoo!