A year ago, I made a handful of resolutions.
Most of them were promptly forgotten, but one — to write regularly in 2013.
Looking back, I’m a bit surprised that I stuck to it. For an entire year, I sat down and put words onto the screen almost every week. Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it without you. Having people read, comment upon, and share my words has made this all incredibly rewarding (and a lot of fun).
After a year, these are the blog posts that were most viewed:
The Bible tells us that love is patient and kind. It does not dishonor others. It looks for the best in a person, not the worst. It doesn’t keep a record of mistakes. It hopes. It endures. It never fails.
When I was under the influence of talk radio, I believed President Obama was cocky, arrogant, narcissistic, hellbent on destroying America. But when I started to love, I saw him as a kind husband and father, a hopeful idealist, a guy I’d love to play basketball with someday.
While many Christians see this as a disturbing indicator of mounting persecution, I see it as a disturbing indicator that somewhere along the way we got confused about what it means to be followers of Jesus. And now we have these culture war skirmishes where we exchange volleys of Bible verses but don’t look at all like Him.
As I watch the story pass through the news cycle every few months, I wish that we could change its course.
The Bible is God’s word to us; it is true and trustworthy and beautiful and full of life. The Bible is never, ever wrong. But all too often, we are very, very wrong about it. We must never underestimate our own ability to think Biblically to terrible conclusions.
So do we give up on “thinking Biblically” altogether? Certainly not. But we must approach our own conversations with the constant awareness that we might be wrong. That we don’t have all the answers. That someday, five hundred or a hundred or thirty years from now our brothers and sisters may look back and wonder how we could have missed the point. We must be open minded, willing to read its pages over and over again and change our minds as our hearts are opened to the truth.
There’s a common assumption amongst many of my fellow Christians that everything we hold dear is under attack. We mourn the loss of “traditional American values” and circle the wagons tighter to protect ourselves from the evils of the culture. The problem is that we leave many of our brothers and sisters and friends and neighbors outside that circle, turning our attention inward to protect elements of our sub-culture that were never really Biblical in the first place.
And when you do that, when you claim that the challenging of an arbitrary gender role is an assault on Biblical sexuality, you lose your credibility. Rather than speaking prophetically into the culture about things that matter, you’re wasting your breath on things that don’t. And soon, nobody’s listening.
We are an entire generation with the broken pieces of our religion scattered on the floor around us. Slowly, carefully, we are trying to separate the truth from the lies.
Sometimes with exuberant hope, at other times with tears and swear words. When we see our brothers and sisters being sold that same package deal that we bought, we raise our voices in protest. Not because we don’t love the Church, but because we love it too much to see it used as a platform for peddling a package deal of truth mixed with lies.
So when we criticize the Church, please, please listen.
We are the children who learned fake smiles too early, who found all the right answers dissatisfying, who know what it’s like to sit in a pew with our hearts a thousand miles away. For us, Sunday morning is the loneliest hour of the week.
When I think of “Millennials leaving the church”, these are the voices I hear. If you haven’t left the church, please just listen. Listen closely.
Let’s be human again.
We can learn to see ourselves and each other as human beings, with complex emotional and sexual needs to be explored. We can toss out the formulas and the easy answers and take the time to learn about each other as real people instead of stereotypes.
Let’s be done with the sex/love economy. Let’s not give love to get sex. Let’s love because it’s what we were created to do.
For a long time, men have enjoyed a mountain of privilege while women have been relegated to the valleys.
But in the Kingdom of God, those who are elevated must surrender their privilege and lift up those who are low. This is why equality matters to me. This is what I invite when I pray, “Thy Kingdom Come on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
It’s a special sort of condescending love we’ve reserved for the gay community. We’ll agree to love them, accept them, welcome them – but we reserve the right to see them as different. We reserve the right to say “them” instead of “us”. We embrace them with arms full of disclaimers about how all the sinners are welcome here. And yet, they’re the only ones we constantly remind of their status as sinners, welcome sinners.
In all this, we turn our backs on all the gay brothers and sisters already in our church, already saved, already following Jesus. Our us vs. them narrative leaves little space for those who didn’t choose to be gay but did choose to follow Jesus. Using “gay” and “sinner” interchangeably, we force them away from the Table and into the shadows.
Because of feminism, men must fight for a voice in the public sphere. In issues of theology, politics, science, and philosophy, the female perspective is often considered default, normal, and unbiased. Male perspectives are dismissed for being too subjective or too emotional. When we speak up, we are often dismissed as angry, rebellious, subversive, or dangerous.
But stay strong, bros.
One day we’ll all be equal.
If a man realizes that he’s lusting at a woman, his first reaction should be: “I need to learn to see differently.” Not: “cover that up.”
— Micah J. Murray (@micahjmurray) July 11, 2013
So no, don’t “be like Jesus who hung out with prostitutes and drunkards”. Be like Jesus who saw people as names & faces & stories, not sins.
— Micah J. Murray (@micahjmurray) July 17, 2013
It’s far too easy to be perfectly “Biblical” and completely unlike Jesus.
— Micah J. Murray (@micahjmurray) September 3, 2013
“Repent!” It’s an invitation, not a threat. “Turn around, theres a different way, a better Kingdom!” Maybe the Gospel is beautiful after all
— Micah J. Murray (@micahjmurray) September 17, 2013
Thank you for being part of this wild, unpredictable, harrowing, beautiful year. Here’s to another…
[ image: orangebrompton ]
published December 31, 2013
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