Being a Missional Person, pt. 6

I grew up in a ‘Christianity’ that promoted being ‘separate’ from the ‘world’ in a very un-humane way. This promotion, I believe was motivated by fear not love. I used to hear pastors stand up and promote ‘evangelizing’ through three ways of spiritual terrorism: track bombing, drive-by-damnation preaching, or my personal favorite, the THREAT: “If you died tonight would you go to heaven or hell?” When I was 18, I went with a ‘mission’ group that specialized in all three of these to the New Orleans Mardi Gras – I showed up in that ‘city of the devil’ armed for a full out attack, only to realize, “I didn’t care for one of these people.” In fact I remember pulling off my Christian t-shirt (last time I ever wore one), putting on a plain t-shirt, setting on a bench in front of the Saint Louis Cathedral, wondering if what we were doing even mattered? I got up from that bench, and moved to another bench with an obviously lonely man reclining in his misery. I asked him, “do you mind if I have a seat?” he simply scooted over. I asked him, “can I ask you a question?” He said, “sure.” So I asked, “What do you think of all these ‘Christians’ walking around with bull horns, passing out these sheets of paper, and telling people they are going to hell?” He said, “I can’t stand them, they don’t even believe in the gospel they claim to speak, yell, and follow – they don’t care about us, all they care about is that we live and act like them, must make them feel good about themselves…” He was right, he had just described me to me, so I simply said, “I used to be one of them [like 20 minutes ago], I’m still a Christian, but I just realized, I didn’t care about people, so I stopped… ” I spent the rest of the trip, people watching and eating wonderful boiled crawfish…

It was then I realized that a truly missional person lives life to build relationships with those who do not know Christ, with the intention of manifesting the Kingdom in and around their lives as we live out love, mercy, grace, and truth as a simple reflection of Christ, and that by some mere intervention and manifestation of God’s Spirit in our lives, that it would go much further than my spiritual terrorism.

We live in a world [both Christian and Secular, those two terms proves my coming statement] in which compartmentalization is key for survival: I have my home life, my work life, my play life; I have my wife, my friends, and my mistress; I have my kids, my hobbies, and my dreams; I have church and then work; I have my prayer life, and then my practical life; and we seem so proud of ourselves when we can live at such a pace, that none of these intersect! Therefore I can practice spiritual terrorism and not love people and still get a star on my Christian Chart. THIS IS NOT the way of Christ! In the Christian world, we believe we give 10% and we are sacrificing, or we give 3 hours a week to the church in service, and we are sacrificing, but the truth is, Living sacrificially is not about giving it is about dying! And when we are ready to love people we are choosing to live sacrificially with our stuff, with our time, with our family, with our lives! This is what it means to be missional, I can’t see people as objects, but as people desperately in need of God’s love, which was modeled in Jesus, which must now be modeled in me, and the only way I can do this is to do life on life with people, to love them with no strings attached, to listen to them without being ready to fire a response, to hold them in times of need, to give while expecting nothing in return except maybe even being taken advantage of. We don’t do this for ourselves, we do it as an act of worship to God, and love for his creation – this is what it means to be missional, to realize that my home is not my own, but it was entrusted to me from God to manage for his service which may sometimes mean giving a home to those who do not have a home. My money is not my own, it is God’s entrusted to me from God to manage for his Glory, which may sometimes call me to give way more than 10% away. My family is not my own, it is God’s entrusted to me to steward as a leader and lover to show the world an example of his kingdom, that they may see leadership, love, grace, truth, and mercy in action. People are not a commodity, they are not a project, they are the apple of God’s eye, and if he loves them then to be a truly missional personal, I must, you must as well. I’ve never loved someone I haven’t built a relationship with – we must build relationships with those who do not know Christ, with the intention of manifesting the Kingdom in and around their lives as we live out love, mercy, grace, and truth as a simple reflection of Christ – this isn’t always convenient, this takes sacrifice, it takes living outside of our comfort and security, this causes us to leave our own paradigm, in fact it makes us live with the knowledge and truth that Jesus’ life best represents death in us so there can be life in them – this is what it means to be missional!

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