Vive La Revolution!

By nature I’m inclined to follow the rules. My teenage rebellion was quiet, internal, and not against my parents or institutional authorities. Conformity seems like a good way to keep the peace. And “being good” seems easier than getting in trouble. So I grew into adulthood, with plenty of sin but little worldly rebellion. No sex, no drugs, only my father’s rock ‘n’ roll, and precious little fun of any other variety.

Then I went to college, decided to stop rebelling against God, and started attending a fellowship which is sometimes accused of being a cult. People smoked, cussed, had a beer after Bible study, and talked about radical grace. What’s more, they actually loved each other. They formed deep friendships, spent most of their evenings together, and spoke into each other’s lives. No wonder people thought such a tight-knit community of biblical love was cultish. It makes for a strange phenomenon in our individualistic society.

Vive la Revolution!

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Vive la Revolution!

While I still whisper in the library and stop at yellow lights, I’m learning that many rules are in fact made to be broken. So many orders are issued by The System in order to keep life running smoothly, with cold efficiency that avoids the messiness inherent in close community. For example, the rules of political correctness and so-called tolerance require that faith be a private matter. It is forbidden to ask an acquaintance about their spiritual beliefs and so risk offense! Such social rules keep people at an arm’s length, oiling the machine of The System.

In response, the American church has retreated into their sanctuaries, agreeing to follow the rules as the culture defines them. Instead of impacting the world around them, they dream up odd efforts like the “30-Day Leviticus Challenge” during which a congregation followed portions of the laws given to Israel in Leviticus. I’m assuming no one chose to sacrifice animals, but somehow they arbitrarily and individually selected specific rules and rituals to follow for a month (Christianity Today, August 2008). Spiritual disciplines represent a new set of Protestant ritualism. And major Christian magazines advertise cover topics like “Racing for Jesus: the inside story of NASCAR ministry and the spiritual of speed” and endlessly conjectured about “Election 2008: Whom will evangelicals choose?” Others create websites like “idontcelebrate.com” to protest the phrase “Happy Holidays.”

Here is my rebellion: I refuse to withdraw and spend my days in spiritually useless endeavors. The church should not have a vague and vapid presence in the world. Neither do we need to “reclaim the culture for Christ” by simply becoming more influential in politics and media. We need to rebel against The System and instead fight for The Kingdom. “And our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). In other words, we’re not fighting people, or the police, or the education system, or Washington D.C. or any other earthly institution. We’re supposed to fight against the lies and schemes of the devil and his System and his hold on human hearts.

Keith and I have been working on a little booklet about leaving the System and joining the Revolution that is God’s Kingdom. I can hardly wait for it to be ready. I hope lots of high school and college kids read it and see The System for what it is: slavery. I think they already sense that it’s a cold, hard System which doesn’t care about them. But the only useful rebellion is found in God’s love, grace, and truth. I hope they see this and accept freedom in Christ and join the Revolution!

Vive La Revolution!

By nature I’m inclined to follow the rules. My teenage rebellion was quiet, internal, and not against my parents or institutional authorities. Conformity seems like a good way to keep the peace. And “being good” seems easier than getting in trouble. So I grew into adulthood, with plenty of sin but little worldly rebellion. No sex, no drugs, only my father’s rock ‘n’ roll, and precious little fun of any other variety.

Then I went to college, decided to stop rebelling against God, and started attending a fellowship which is sometimes accused of being a cult. People smoked, cussed, had a beer after Bible study, and talked about radical grace. What’s more, they actually loved each other. They formed deep friendships, spent most of their evenings together, and spoke into each other’s lives. No wonder people thought such a tight-knit community of biblical love was cultish. It makes for a strange phenomenon in our individualistic society.

Vive la Revolution!

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Vive la Revolution!

While I still whisper in the library and stop at yellow lights, I’m learning that many rules are in fact made to be broken. So many orders are issued by The System in order to keep life running smoothly, with cold efficiency that avoids the messiness inherent in close community. For example, the rules of political correctness and so-called tolerance require that faith be a private matter. It is forbidden to ask an acquaintance about their spiritual beliefs and so risk offense! Such social rules keep people at an arm’s length, oiling the machine of The System.

In response, the American church has retreated into their sanctuaries, agreeing to follow the rules as the culture defines them. Instead of impacting the world around them, they dream up odd efforts like the “30-Day Leviticus Challenge” during which a congregation followed portions of the laws given to Israel in Leviticus. I’m assuming no one chose to sacrifice animals, but somehow they arbitrarily and individually selected specific rules and rituals to follow for a month (Christianity Today, August 2008). Spiritual disciplines represent a new set of Protestant ritualism. And major Christian magazines advertise cover topics like “Racing for Jesus: the inside story of NASCAR ministry and the spiritual of speed” and endlessly conjectured about “Election 2008: Whom will evangelicals choose?” Others create websites like “idontcelebrate.com” to protest the phrase “Happy Holidays.”

Here is my rebellion: I refuse to withdraw and spend my days in spiritually useless endeavors. The church should not have a vague and vapid presence in the world. Neither do we need to “reclaim the culture for Christ” by simply becoming more influential in politics and media. We need to rebel against The System and instead fight for The Kingdom. “And our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). In other words, we’re not fighting people, or the police, or the education system, or Washington D.C. or any other earthly institution. We’re supposed to fight against the lies and schemes of the devil and his System and his hold on human hearts.

Keith and I have been working on a little booklet about leaving the System and joining the Revolution that is God’s Kingdom. I can hardly wait for it to be ready. I hope lots of high school and college kids read it and see The System for what it is: slavery. I think they already sense that it’s a cold, hard System which doesn’t care about them. But the only useful rebellion is found in God’s love, grace, and truth. I hope they see this and accept freedom in Christ and join the Revolution!

Writer’s Revolution

So I’ve been wrestling for some time with what to spend my time writing. Should I blog about my current thoughts, feelings, and convictions in my blog, where my audience is small but I can say whatever I want, however I want to? Should I try to establish myself as a “freelance writer,” which is what I tell strangers I am for lack of a better way to describe how I spend my days? Or should I pour my efforts into revising “Confessions of a First-year Teacher,” the short novel I drafted about my year as Mrs. Brooks?

Most recently I’ve focused on option B: freelancing. I’ve spent time researching Christian publications, scouring their writer’s guidelines, studying their archives, and trying to write articles on topics both I and fundies care about. The latter is a most daunting task. And even when I find an appropriate topic, I have to be careful about my tone, avoiding language that is too passionate or forceful.

But just shortly before I opted to focus on writing corny Christian articles, I did my first revision of the “Confessions.” It was fun, but what was the point? Will people ever actually read it—would anyone ever want to publish it? I don’t know much about novel-writing, I’ll admit, and perhaps it’s still too close to reality to be considered fiction in the first place. So I could research fiction-writing and try to adapt it, strengthening the plot with dramatic embellishments, and then figure out the whole publishing process and get rejected a million times. And I don’t think I’m being negative; I’m being realistic. So is it worth it, I wonder? Is it worth it to try to make a name in the world of contemporary fiction? Does the story even have enough spiritual fiber to justify such a use of my time? Perhaps, since gratitude is a major theme, along with not selling out to the world system. And it shows a few things, I hope, about the problems of education today. But I’m still not sure if it’s a worthwhile pursuit. Hopefully I’ll figure that out over time. Either way, it helped to get it out.

The point is, I haven’t known what to pursue so I’ve been bouncing back and forth between these not-very-significant options, all the while knowing that I want to write something of spiritual importance. Which I seem most likely to do on my blog because I have freedom there, but it won’t reach very many people. So when Keith suggested I help him write a little book to deal with what is wrong with the American church today and the underground revolution needed, I knew it was from the Lord. The plan is good for others because the goal is to spread the gospel and the relational, organic, grace-oriented model of church growth.

The plan is good for me because it will help me to break out of my writing confusion, which is really driving me to a creative block. I can think of topics to write about, but I haven’t really felt creative since high school. But I know it’s there. Back then it was present in poetry, music, dance, fiction, and film. During college it struggled for breath under a heap of literary analyses and lesson plans. Now the Christian mag how-to cookie cutter threatens to slice my inspiration into uniform shreds. But I’m not going to pack away my creativity a childhood toy, no longer useful for adult life.

And the reason I’m not going to box it up isn’t because I’m too good to write for Christian mags, or too bad to write a novel, or too egotistical to stick with blogging. The reason is, one night over ten years ago I told God I wanted to have a spiritual impact on people. “How can I take your grace to the whole world?” I asked Him. And He answered me the very next night, silently but clearly: “You must write.” I forgot about this for a long time, even after Neil (really, God) gave me the opportunity to write. I just remember this instance recently, but I still didn’t know what to do with it. Maybe the “Missions Possible” piece had something to do with it, I thought. But now the pieces are finally fitting together.