I’ve been thinking about culture. Specifically about the societal cultures I’ve lived in. It’s amazing how people can be so “awed” by various cultures you’ve experienced.
Example. I work in a really sketchy part of town. There’s the homeless, drug addicts, pushers, prostitutes, thieves, alcoholics, criminals. I see them every day. I know a good number of them by name.
In my free time I have been able to meet them, talk with them, go to their “homes,” open up with them. Some may refer to it as “outreach” or “your ministry.” The way I see it, it just happens to be the street God sent me to work a full-time job, and where he sends his people he sends the Kingdom, so that’s my responsibility. So don’t feel bad if you don’t know this unique culture. You have your own street, your own job, your own neighbors.
Often people say to me, “Wow, you are really courageous.”
Yeah sorry, but not really true. I know– it seems that I should always be on guard and somewhat frightened, while also aware and careful, constantly speaking bold words to my heart.
But honestly once I’ve spent enough time in one culture, I gradually start losing all sense of resistance and awareness. I stop noticing things as much. After time it becomes normal. “There goes another prostitute.” “Another drug deal going down.” “Another robbery.” “Another passed out drunk.”
Then I stop thinking. I stop resisting. I start accepting
And once I’ve lost resistance, I’ve lost my independence, both of mind and action. Anyone can make me whatever they want. Because resisting is hard and causes friction and emotion. It’s much easier to accept and move on.
Recently I was listening to Josh Garrels as I was running and his song The Resistance started playing. The words immediately shocked me and at the end of the first verse I almost had to stop running. I think my jaw dropped.
I realized quickly that so much of my life has been giving up resistance over and over and over until I have become something of a robot, void of questions and explanations. Think on this:
See the secret committees, commence with their meetings
To make red tape in response to simple questions.
Questions threaten the perception of the beneficial systems
A pyramid scheme with it’s cogs and it’s pistons
Mechanization of men, making more and more
Live in a miserable existence.
How can so few, claim so many victims
And this begs the question
My rest is a weapon against the oppression
Of mans obsession to control things.
Look at the long line of make believe kings
The lord of the flies wants you to kiss his ring.
Follow new rules with invisible strings
And become a puppet in the diabolical scheme.
How do good men become part of the regime
They don’t believe in resistance.
I hate conflict. My whole life I’ve tried to peace-make circumstances and people around me. If I was recognized for something, it had better not be because I resisted a system or expectations. Seemed logical enough. So I started accepting and hardly questioning because resistance drew way too much attention to myself.
After some time in my culture the past year, both at work and the surrounding neighborhood, I found myself being okay with evil. It just didn’t bother me as much any more. It became normal. Everyone was doing it or simply accepting others doing it. But you know what happens once you stop resisting evil? You close off capabilities to recognize and love truth. And that’s a scary place to be. I did become aware and scared and was forced to ask questions.
And that’s when I found that to evade resistance would grant me a first class ticket on the “I’m Wasting My Life” flight.
It’s hard. Resistance is one of the scariest practices, yet the alternative is worlds more frightening.
You know what could eventually happen when people stop resisting? Look at history: Brain-washed disciples. Tyranny. Scandal. Evil. Nazi regimes. Genocide.
But you want to know what else is making me hot right now about resistance (interpret as Angela sees this in herself first and makes her sick)? We know full well about the causes that needs resisting and change. We get so upset about our government, the path of society, our economics, our degrading culture…and what do we do?
We post status’s.
We share opinionated memes.
We borrow other people’s thoughts.
We virtually “like” ideas without committing to doing them.
If you call yourself a Christian and your city is hurting and falling apart, you’d better stamp your name on the face of the problem because Jesus sent his Kingdom to your streets, city, and country through your hands, feet and mind. And the last time I checked his Kingdom is peace, and healing, and success, and freedom, and growth, and joy, and prosperity. So if that’s not happening in your city, own up to it and get to work. Cause it’s your responsibility.
It’s going to be difficult. Resisting always is. But we can’t allow people to have a longing for the kingdom without inviting them in and living it’s reality.
Word of caution: Be very careful in your practice of resistance. Is your banner defined by hating evil or loving truth? When you start thinking and questioning you’re going to see a lot of messed up stuff. A lot of hypocrisy. A lot of evil. So will you channel your resistance into aggressive exploitation or will you intentionally proclaim truth and love and grace? If your resistance causes vengeful disunity and damaged reputations as a result of your actions, no matter how much those people and organizations “deserve” it, you might need to rethink your approach.
Yes, you may say that Jesus clearly spoke woes against the Pharisees and exposed their evil hypocrisy that they were using for their own means in the name of religion. But you know what he did afterwards? Matthew 12. He went right back into their place of worship, where they hung out and spent their time practicing their religious hypocrisy, and he healed someone. Jesus’ resistance resulted in healing and freedom. Every act of resistance was with Kingdom advancement as it’s core drive.
And that’s a great example to follow.