A couple weekends ago, I had a chance to visit historic Williamsberg, Viriginia. A place of rich American history. I love this stuff, history has always fascinated me. It's a sobering reminder that life does indeed go on after you take your last breath. It holds the reminder that life is yours, and it's your job, and yours alone to live out the things you believe in.
As I walked around the museum, I read about the first colonies and their interaction with the Native American people. Not really a history to be proud of there. Lot's of stuff Disney's Pocahantus left out, just so you know.
I was struck by a British man who was a translator for the Powhatan Indian tribe. He not only learned the language, but took time to learn about their culture. He lived amongst them instead of within the colonial community. Apparently, he was disliked among the settlers. This line was inscripted over his picture:
"He lived much more like a savage than a Christian gentleman."
So, let me get this straight. This man learned the Powhatan's language, ate with them, conversed, hunted, and lived among them. In doing so, he tore down indifference and fear. In short, this guy spent his life taking time to see and know people who were different than him. This guy...he was regarded the savage by his community and the church. Let's not forget, the church in that time was the epicenter of all political, ecomomical and social decisions.
That line moved me deeply, and I thought, "I'd rather be a savage"
If we look at Jesus and His encounters while he was on earth, you will not find Him within the four walls of a church very often. No, He is out in the community WITH people. People who the religious community viewed as unclean sinners. He challenged the pharisee, and hugged the leper. He welcomed the tax collector, and shared bread with him. He saw people just as they were. He took time to live among them. I think some of his favorite encounters were those that turned religion on it's head. An upside down Kingdom. I think he was considered a savage, too.
Let's bring this to our present reality, shall we? Because though we have made strides as Chirst-followers; pride, fear of questions, and hypocracy run deep in our history. I know they do in mine.
The title of Christianity is tatterned and torn. On its best days, it's Jesus with people. Learning, listening, loving. On its worst, you might as well replace it with the term pharisee. A religious individual who follows and enforces rules and regulations. The minute details of scripture became more important than actually seeing people.
Friends, I refuse to stay inside the suffocating, safe, grey walls of the church. Not listening and knowing all the beautiful people around, just like you and me, who the church/society/leaders have deemed "hot topics" or "less". If that's Christianity, I'll be a savage.
Walking, listening, and learning next to people. Regardless of race, sexual orientation, political stance, music choice, or religion. If we look at Jesus, He did the same. He was a revolutionary in His time because of the way He simply saw people.
I haven't lost hope in Christianity, but I sure am tired.
We have so much work to do.
There are no black and white, clear cut rules when it comes to HOW we love others and follow Jesus.
What if we leaned into Jesus' heart a little bit? Forget what you think you know...He's in the business of rebuilding and reshaping hearts. Restoring EVERYONE to His heart, welcoming them HOME.
God's Kingdom is one of unity, harmony and difference. That's right, difference.
Difference is what makes us unique, and it's what beauty is.
Don't fight it, embrace it.
What if we leaned into God's Spirit? Moment by moment.
Listening for a lifetime instead of assuming we already know.
In Williamsberg, VA I found words for my heavy heart in our current culture.
I can't change people. But I can choose to see them, love WITHOUT hesitation or questions.
So, if that makes me a savage. Let it be so.