In basketball ‘slamdunking’ is supposed to be a good thing, but in this case, just imagine yourself, the Christian, as the ball.
There are many cases of this, and even more reasons why, but I thought I would just run over a few thoughts here and there. Just for thinking purposes.
One of these, actually, is along the lines of Radmila’s post: “Exercises in patronizing double talk.
I am realizing that we are living in an age of no negatives”.
Everyone is worried about “self-esteem”, like we’re all fragile… ”
There is alot of that amongst Christians, both in how they deal with each other and how they deal with those outside the Church. You come up against someones style that you don’t much like, especially if it doesn’t fit with your genteel idea of what “Christian ” should be, or sound like, and….slamdunked. You are just plain put out at the vulgarity of it all.
God forbid you should have to deal with much of the practiced intimidation of those who oppose your views amongst the unbelievers. Although for Christians there is always the convenient excuse that those are sinners, after all. And just back away, smiling all the while.
Ineffective , but “safe” from the brutes of the world.
The trouble is , that Jesus spoke very controversially.
Years ago, I felt led to read the book of the Gospel of Mark, in a particular way. It changed my thinking immensely.
The thing that was different in that exercise was to read the account as if -in my mind- I were an eye witness, really viewing the events without all the encrustations of what I was supposed to think of Jesus Christ, but how I would react if I really saw this man behaving and teaching as it was written by Mark.
What would I think of such actions today? What would I think of a Christian calling someone a ‘whited sepulchre’? A viper? Especially a respected religious leader. I mean, to their face…not safely in some article or on ones own TV show. What would I really think of that? Wouldn’t that seem rude? Insensitive?
I tell you, in this cultural context of our time it would. And that is one reason we get slamdunked: our expectations are all wrong.
If we are to leave our tidy habitations of what we are used to and make an impact upon a generation who is sceptical of Christianity and is uninterested in hypocritical offerings of superficial righteousness, then we are going to have to get something that I call “substance”.
Substance is not something you get from rulebooks and correct etiquette. It doesn’t come from attending all the right venues, whether ecclesiastical or academic. You don’t get it by being cool, either.
It is a spiritually downloaded saturation of your inner man with the life of Christ. It is the Lorica of Saint Patrick ingested and manifested.
And I submit that this will not look the way you expect it to look, or sound the way you expect it to sound, but it will be effective. It will produce. It has life in it, even if it slashes away some of your pride.
Because that is what really slamdunks a Christian, it is that insidious self-pride in accomplishments and in the superiority of ones manners and character. There is the snare.
Been slamdunked, lately? Offended right smartly? There is no offense in Christ. Do you know what this means? It is the ultimate safety, the priviledge of place that enables one to graciously bypass insults, whether intended or not.
If we find ourselves nonplussed by others reactions or behaviors, if irritated with their rude ways or unpleasant insistance, it is our opportunity to get filled with some of the substance of Christ, some of that inner goodness that only comes from God.
We say we want to be like Jesus.
We weren’t ever meant to methodize ourselves into godly characters. We were meant to drink deep at the fountain of Living Waters, to reflect God’s Own Nature in the world … even one gone as wrong as this one has. And when we get offended it shows a place where we can be transformed. Not faking it for others, but transformed for that place of peace that comes from having what we need within ourselves. We need the ability to stand fast in God, and react from the base of His Characteristics.
This is how we will be effective as Christians. And less slammed by each other and the world.