We have recently been spending time individually with our five newly adopted nieces. The other day we had one that had never been roller-skating. Alison and I decided to take her to our local skating rink only to find that after 15 minutes of trying to teach her to roller-skate she realized that she was too scared to try to learn any longer. We kept telling her that the key to learning to skate was simply to let go of the person holding you, get out there, and do it! The goal is to stop thinking and analyzing and to simply get out on the floor! Before you know it, you will be skating and will feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment!
Our wonderful niece, like most children, allowed her fear to rule her decision-making abilities. We offered to tighten her skates for her to make it easier, but by that time fear had its hold and would not let go. Instead, we went home and her and Alison baked cookies because our niece knew how to do that and was comfortable doing it!
Is there any Christian correlation to this? I think so! For many centuries most of Christianity has taken on the attitude of being Reactive as apposed to being proactive! The one thing that I herald more than anything else in the teachings of Christ is the building of the Kingdom of God (KOG). All of my life the KOG has been referred to as heaven- something that happens in the afterlife. However, if we look carefully Christ is quite ambiguous about the KOG. At times he refers to the KOG as something that will happen in the future; perhaps heaven perhaps not, but there are many occurrences where he refers to the KOG as being “at hand”.
“At hand”? What does that mean… it doesn’t exactly mean already here, but it doesn’t necessarily mean something in the far off future either. When Christ speaks of the KOG, many times he is referencing something that is being built. When Christ entered into the world, one of his messages and purposes was to begin the foundation of the KOG through his teachings, and then to had over the project to God’s children to build the KOG here on earth!
This is a PROACTIVE task. It is the charge to make the world a better place! It is the responsibility that we all have to make this world look like the picture of the KOG that Christ painted. We are really good at being reactive in this world! When someone decides that they are pro-choice, against the death penalty, supporting the rights of homosexuals, or support any other number of hot button moral issues that many Christians see as amoral, they RE-act in outrage. Sadly, this is really the only times when we hear about Christians in the media.
We are not supposed to be reactive, but proactive! These above mentioned moral agendas are meager at best from a biblical basis (although I know many would argue with that statement, so be it), especially when compared to the proactive charges given by Christ. Christ doesn’t speak on Gay marriage, but he speaks a lot about helping those who can’t help themselves! He speaks a great deal about the poor, meek, needy, and oppressed. Yet we really don’t hear much about Christians out there (Bono excluded) working to end world poverty/hunger, helping Aids victims in Africa, or even working to get the homeless in their local community off of the street and into a self-sufficient way of life!
Instead, we remain reactive because we are scared! It takes trust and (gasp) faith to go out on a limb and be proactive and make a difference in the world around us! Like our niece and roller-skating, it is easier to give up, go home and bake cookies from pull-apart dough than it is to stay on the floor, let go of our hand and learn to skate.
It is easier to yell at the daily clips on Fox news and agree with the Right Wing that Gay Marriage is Bad, than it is to go out and befriend the Gay community who is being oppressed in the name of Christianity! I am not trying to make a moral argument in that statement; I only use it to ask which of those two actions work towards building the KOG? One is reactive, while one is proactive. One is easy and comfortable, while the other requires faith, a level of awkwardness, and most importantly ACTION!
One of my favorite passages accredited to Jesus is found not in the canon of the Bible, but in the Gospel of Thomas:
“His disciples said to him, ‘when will the kingdom come?’ Jesus said, ‘It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying, ‘here it is’ or ‘there it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it.’”
When we call ourselves Christians, and operate only in the safe realm of the reactive, then we continue to blemish the Christian name because truly to follow Christ is to operate proactively in this world and do our part in building the KOG! Stop acting out of fear, and begin to act out of faith!!!!