embrace your tomb

2 Apr

So I haven’t posted in a while because school has been kickin my butt and I didn’t really have anything to say… but now I have too much to say, its ridiculous. I blame all my extra thinking time on the fact that I’ve had what I like to call “pseudo-spring break” this week, (I go to 2 different schools, therefore the spring breaks are not the same, but this week I have no daytime classes) leaving me lots of time to think and (prepare for shock) read! *GASP* I know, I know, its just insane. I hardly ever, ever… ever read. Not that I don’t like to, but I just don’t make time for it and, quite frankly, it usually puts me to sleep. But alas, I have been. And it has been gloriously filling my head with all kinds of thoughts that shall now be shamelessly shared with the blogging world. Woah, check out that alliteration stunt I just pulled and didn’t even know it. Such a nerd.

 

PAUSE:  Today is April Fools Day, and I hope to be pranked at least one good time. I love it. I’ve already told a friend I was meeting for lunch that my car wouldn’t start after she already got there, and I texted my parents saying I got more body piercings while they’ve been gone on their trip, which was great. I was going to go with tattoos, but that will probably actually happen one day, so I decided not to press my luck there. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are generally very cool and supportive of my random and sometimes impulsive “cosmetic changes” but there are some things that still make them squirm. Ah, but I love them for it.

 

UNPAUSE:  So check this out. Growing up around a bunch of “Christians” (or those who claimed to be, hence the quotes), I understand how easy it is to slip into a clichéd type of Christianity. I get it, Ive been there, I realize that after a while it’s almost natural to just start going through the motions of what you think (or have been told) the Christian life should look like (or not look like), and that includes using that “Christianese” language with each other. Here, I found this short video that kinda explains what Im talking about:

 

Haha, its sad but true. So yes, I understand it, but I hate it, because that’s not the way it should be. At all. Christianese is not the full truth. It’s a feel-good language. It’s over-used, superficial, empty phrases lacking in power and genuine, authentic, life-as-it-is truth.  Maybe that sounds harsh, but it doesn’t speak of how life really is – it stays far away from the pain and disappointments and hardships of the realities of life. Just cliché words used to worship our cliché version of God.

Sometimes Christians try so hard to lead such uber-spiritual Christian lives where everything is all good and fine because “God is good all the time” and we shouldn’t ever worry about anything and everything will work out in the end, blah blah blah… and don’t get me wrong, those things ARE true, but it doesn’t mean we should pretend that depression and despair don’t exist in our lives. Are we not supposed to speak of the realities of the spiritual life? It’s not all sunshine and roses, kids. Life is painful and ugly sometimes, a lot of times, and we feel overwhelmed, crushed, betrayed, hurt, trapped, depressed, etc. The author of the book I’m reading refers to those times as “when life feels like a tomb.” But here’s the thing: we need to embrace those times when our life feels like a tomb.

A religion that does not embrace the tomb is only a feel-good religion, not an authentic relationship with God…  If we fail to address the soul-stirring questions that the tombs of our lives ask, if we pretend that tombs don’t exist, and we ignore the difficult parts of life and faith, then we will settle for something far less than authentic transformation. (Smith)

 

Authentic transformation. That’s the goal here.

Paul wasn’t afraid to embrace his tomb as he wrote about his hardships. He knew all about feeling crushed and afflicted – and he shared the truth about the way life was for him:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (II Cor 1:8-9)

 

Paul told it like it was. He had a black belt in keepin it real (thank you Denise). He didn’t hide behind Christianese feel-good language, instead he freely expressed his tomb-like thoughts.  Because when life feels like a tomb, you come face to face with those soul-stirring questions, and that’s when you start to discover more about who God truly is. God is not our cliché version of Him – the one where we have Him all figured out. Who God is will not disappoint us.

 

The transforming moment in Christian conversion comes when we realize that even God has left us. We then discover it was not God, but our image of God, that abandoned us. This frees us to discover more of the mystery of God than we knew. Only then is change possible. (Craig Barnes)

 

Change. Transformation. It all comes back to that. But we cannot experience that powerful transformation or complete abundant life that Jesus offers if we avoid facing the dark places of life. The dark tombs in our lives become the places where God does what only God can do – transform us. Beauty from ashes. Wholeness from broken pieces. We must embrace our tombs. We must die to have life. The tomb is where resurrection happens – it’s the only place where resurrection happens.

 

The end is never the end. The end is the beginning.

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2 Responses to “embrace your tomb”

  1. matt April 2, 2009 at 4:48 am #

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  2. drewplaysdrums April 2, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    Wow.

    The Barnes quote really got to me.

    Also, you’re awesome.

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