The Gospel Doesn’t Need Our Protection

Crucifix On A Hill At DawnI, like many, was so amazed to watch the brave victims of Larry Nassar speak against their abuser and to see Honorable Rosemarie Aquilina provide that space for them. I was especially impacted by Rachel Denhollander, who invoked her faith in her impact statement.

In this interview with Christianity Today, she said something that deeply resonated with me:

Anything else you want our readers to know?

First, the gospel of Jesus Christ does not need your protection. It defies the gospel of Christ when we do not call out abuse and enable abuse in our own church. Jesus Christ does not need your protection; he needs your obedience. Obedience means that you pursue justice and you stand up for the oppressed and you stand up for the victimized, and you tell the truth about the evil of sexual assault and the evil of covering it up.

Second, that obedience costs. It means that you will have to speak out against your own community. It will cost to stand up for the oppressed, and it should. If we’re not speaking out when it costs, then it doesn’t matter to us enough.

Wow.

Yes.

Amen.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ does not need your protection.”

I have seen this idea in Christianity– that it is our reputations that protect Christ’s– and there was even a time when my own actions indicated that I felt the same.

I do not feel the same.

Jesus Christ remains who he is– the perfect advocate and great rescuer– regardless of my failings or of the worldwide church’s failings or of the failings of anyone related to Christendom. Yes, I’m aware that I also represent Christ, but I don’t fool myself that I could ever do so perfectly.

Just as it says in Scripture, his grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness. In fact, it is in my weakness, my vulnerability, my imperfections, and my shortcomings that I have been able to do my best ministry.

All praise to him, the perfect administrator of justice and mercy.

 

Warm Thoughts about the End of the World

I’m re-reading through the New Testament and today I read from Matthew 24– wars, rumors of wars, nation against nation, famine, earthquakes– and it’s kind of felt familiar for a while, hasn’t it? And yet these are the beginning of birth pains.

What struck me was verse 12: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

Please, God, don’t let my love grow cold.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by the best friends in the world, friends whose love is scorching in the best way, friends on fire for love and justice and mercy and grace and faithfulness, no matter the cost.

Thank you, friends. Thank you for keeping me from letting my love grow cold.

bonfire.jpg

mmm, the gospel

My co-worker Brittane and I try to have lunch together whenever we can– last spring, amidst some crazy parts in our lives, we were getting together every Friday, walking over to the college cafeteria, and sharing as much of our lives as possible over our short lunch break.  Brittane would roar at me, “THE GOSPELLLLLL,” with one hand raised in the air in praise, her reminder to both of us to KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE, and over the course of several months, it became our war-cry.  Our prayers shortened to, “Thank you for this food, this friend, and the gospel.”  Then we would each raise a hand and repeat, “THE GOSPELLLLL!”

Gospel.  Good news.

And it belongs to us.  I am so happy to have this good news in my chest like a story, covering me like a shield, on my brow like a crown.  I claim it.  I spread it over my life like a blanket, like a slogan.

Jesus Christ lived and died and lives again; it makes all the difference in my life.

 

Why Christians Should Write

Jesus Christ is a believer’s gravity; he infuses meaning and purpose into our lives and tethers us to reality through the Body and the Blood.  There is no story more fascinating, mysterious, devastating, resplendent, and sanguine than the gospel, and this is the reason we need more Christian writers in the United States to write and be published.  Believers have an incredible capacity for story—true story—which is our duty and privilege to share.  When we weave gospel truths into our stories—even when we whisper or our voices shake—those stories assume deeper meaning, exactly what the world craves, whether knowingly or not.  Tales with no hint of the divine, no rumor of a Savior, may often be a poor investment, a squandering of what might have been.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”  Books written by Christians are just such miracles, stories that are able to be held, while the Great Story, instead, holds us.