Thursday, October 22, 2009

Freedom vs. An Unburdened Life

I recently read an article in Time magazine relating the leadership example of Moses on American leaders from George Washington to Barak Obama. The author, Bruce Feiler, made a statement that has stuck with me over the past few weeks. He refers to the burning bush experience as Moses' first leadership test: "will he cling to his unburdened life or attempt to free a people enslaved for centuries?"

Moses had potential as a child, rescued into the Pharoah's family, perhaps a true "Prince of Egypt." His murder of an Egyptian forman brought this to an end, but he'd found a simple and peaceful life in the countryside. Up until now, Moses was nothing special, but things probably weren't so bad either. We don't get the impression that he was just itching for some action, or looking for a way out of the shepherd's life. Then God shows up.

Part of me wonders if most of us experience this same choice with God. We live an unburdened life, or that is our impression at least, we take care of ourselves and our own. But when God calls, his call is to something bigger than that. He calls us to enter into His plan for redemption and restoration. A plan that began when Abraham was called to receive God's blessing so that through him the world could be blessed. When God sent Jesus, the same choice was made, Jesus, the Son of God wouldn't trade the chance of bringing freedom for the comfort of an unburdened life. And today, do we live our lives contented, or shall we choose, as Moses did, the burden of bringing freedom to the enslaved.

Perhaps we can confuse the unburdened life with freedom, but more likely, what we see as the burden is really the blessing. The blessing of Freedom, capital F, not confined to a political ideology or an individual right, a freedom meant to be possess rather than fought for because it is already won, a Freedom so big that an individual can't contain it because it belongs to creation. So what is our choice? To cling to an unburdened life, or join with the Christ in his plan to free a people enslaved for centuries.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

What am I to do?

Monday's mail- Belk mailing for the wife, Vera Bradley mailing for the wife, more Discover card checks for me, an offer to save $35.oo at Lowe's if I spent $350.oo or more, and this:

What has this man earned for me? The ability to save $35 on more home appliances that I don't need. An extra 20% off at Belk extra value days. A stylish purse that makes a statment.

As much as I believe in peace, and wish for an end to US involvement in Iraq and Afganistan, the stack of mail from Monday reminded me that I'm at fault for what's going on. My desires, my consumerism, my pursuit of happiness through consumption. I'm reminded of why Christ commanded those without guilt to cast the first stone, or reminded us to remove the plank in our own eyes before criticizing a brother about a speck in his eye.

Peace. Am I the obstacle.

Oh what am I to do
Just tell me what am I supposed to say -
I can't change the world,But I can change the world in me

Friday, October 02, 2009

U2- The Day After

The concert last night was super. A friend asked if it lived up to the hype, I'd say nothing could live up to that hype, but the show was spectacular. The amazing thing is that 60,000 people could let go and enjoy the madness of a rock and roll blowout,
  • while still taking time to remember a political prisoner thousands of miles away,
  • while recognizing the need to protect the rights of peaceful political protest in Iran,
  • while hearing encouragement from Desmond Tutu reminding us that we are the people who ended slavery and segregation in America, Apartheid in South Africa, that we are the people who will solve the problems of our world today because we are One.
But you never feel burdened or down, it's a rock and roll show through and through, but you get the sense that you're losing yourself to humanity and higher joy-- rocking out with an urge to satisfy- body, soul, and spirit. That's were other rock shows just don't add up.

My highlight of the night? Number two- as a UVa grad, quoting the words of Mr. Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence during Beautiful Day.

Number One- Highlight of the night, during Sunday Bloody Sunday I always wait for "and the battle yet begun, to claim the victory Jesus won." We didn't get it tonight. Instead the line was "freedom was born on Christmas." Amazing- "freedom was born on Christmas." How sweet the sound.