Remember saying that goes, "It takes one - to know one"? Then remember using it at some point to share that you know something about another individual, maybe their thoughts, actions or otherwise, because you've actually been there yourself?
When this video by Jefferson Bethke hit the internet last week my Facebook account was lit up with comments from friends, friends of friends and so many other people that combined collectively said, "Yeah, right on! "You go boy! Tell em' like it is! Preach it brother!" Right away I too found my flesh getting that desire to chime in with these sentiments. Even found myself looking out the window thinking, "Yeah, finally somebody is taking The Church head on" and even included a bite of my lip and a little Billy Idol-esque "Grrrrrrrr" resonating outta my gut.
Then before I knew it hit me I suddenly thought, "Why do I like this video all of a sudden? What was it about what he said that made me feel the way I did?" I drew upon thoughts of my parents telling me as a young man - when I'd made not-so-wise choices - "Kurt it takes one - to know one" then listening to my parents share with me why they knew why I'd fallen short in front of them - because they too - had fallen short at times in in their lives. My parents could relate to my troubles, and it gave them the capacity to then lift me up by letting me know I didn't need to stay in whatever rut I'd found myself in.
The reason I quickly resonated with Jefferson's video was, at some point in my life, I too was/is/and or are disappointed in things I see going on/in/around The Church. I too have felt some of the things this young man says and have harbored them in my heart for quite some time. His passion struck a nerve that got my own passion all bubbled up again for things I dream The Church, the body of Christ to be doing.
Yet, as soon as those thoughts were stirred in the arm of my flesh, other thoughts were right there beside them, quietly at first telling me something was wrong with this video, something wasn't right. While he's passionate, is his theology correct? Did Jesus really hate religion? Is Jefferson correct with this and other claims he's making?
Right next to the Spirit of Passion that was bubbling up in me was also the Spirit of Critique and also my former Teacher of the Law mentality which began to pick apart what this man was saying. Like so many people pick apart what I say as a friend and ministry leader. Out of my wounded soul I began to treat his poem like so many people within the Kingdom of God treat me and also treat others with that same Spirit of Critique and Teacher of the Law mentality. It haunted me to remember what so many people say about Christianity - "We do a great job of eating our own, eating our wounded."
I ran to my Facebook account and lobbed the discussion bombs into the fray starting a pool of discussion on this man's video. In typical Facebook fashion I helped establish sides of FOR and AGAINST quickly. The debate was on.
No sooner than I had started the discussion I learned through a fellow minister whom I respect, Voddie Bauchum, that in the course of the week, with this video causing division that Jefferson had rethought his position and as Voddie wrote, "The poet, Jeff Bethke, who's 'spoken word' piece, "Jesus>Religion" has caused such a firestorm has spoken openly about it on his 'twitter' account. HE SAYS HIS CRITICS ARE "SPOT ON," and he will be more careful with his words. He understands the importance of being more precise in matters like this, and in theological discussions in general. Praise God for his humility and teachability. Ironically, there are still many Christians defending the very content he, himself, recognizes as being off base. Theology matters!"
What? I could not believe my eyes. Could it be, that this young man is teaching me, teaching us, through the prism of sharing his heart of one of the simple truths of who we are in Christ? That is to say:
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)
Could it be through putting yourself out there, so passionately like Jefferson did, sharing in your heart things you know to be true - even with a little hint of incorrect theology - even with a little hint of semantically challenged prose - that you could open the doors of Christiandom here on earth like you did, to get non-believers and believers talking the way you did, take their ridicule as God ordained critique and see it as a blessing and not a cursing?
The answer was "YES" my friends. I read Jeffersons Tweets over the weekend and was blown away to discover this man knows he's justified through Jesus like he is.
What a testament to all of us as believers in Jesus Christ to remember who we are - WE ARE JUSTIFIED - AND CAN HAVE PEACE - AND CAN STAND - AND CAN BOAST - AND WILL SUFFER - AND CAN PERSEVERE - BUILD CHARACTER - AND DELIVER HOPE.
Till next time,