Whenever I speak at a Christian college I can see the blank, anesthetized expressions of students who've already checked out. Bad religion has already vacated their hope and innocent trust. They are just complying through the motions of their faith. But each evening on this trip to Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, I spoke to an assembly of students who are risking the Original Good News is true. They showed up because they wanted to, enexorably drawn to the hope of a Jesus without the moralistic filter, like moths to a porch light. We laughed, cried and spoke life back and forth, each visibly verbalizing emerging confidence. And God met overwhelmingly with us. It was like we were saying to each other, "You believe this too? All my life I've secretly thought this was who Jesus was. I just didn't know anyone else did!" And we found each other. The Original Good news of grace and trusting our identity in Christ, it is finding footing again. Students like these, all over the world are finding each other. They will not be quiet. They will carry this freedom wherever God sends them. They know too much and cannot return to vapid, stifling religion of ought, pretending, control and shame. They've seen Narnia and will not return to anything less. It is beautiful to witness. One more chapel this morning, then home to my world where I learned this life. Reporting from Bolivar, Missouri, this is John Lynch, filled with stunning hope. I'm out.
I felt compelled to speak out in support. This is the kind of Christianity I've come to believe in. There are so many OPINIONS out there, even about what Jesus thinks and wants of us, and over time I am more & more convinced that this is the root of it.
Some will say "Wait a sec, what about doing good and helping the poor and all that?" And to that I say, absolutely he wants us to do that. But I think as much as the uptight Christians get it backwards and say "Hey, you'd better get your stuff together so God will be pleased with you," other folks get it backwards with different words: "Hey, as long as you care for others and do nice things, that secures your position with Jesus."
Here's what I think: all of us are born broken in a broken world. Some call it sin nature, some simply call it humanity. But when it comes down to it, the standard is perfection and none of us can reach it. So Jesus died, blah blah blah, and now we can be saved from our sin, ourselves, sin done to us, etc. It's available to anyone who wants it. And if you want God, you get him. And if you trust in him to save you, it's a done deal. You're his.
After that of course, we are still left with nice people and jerks. Yes, jerks can be Christians. And Christians can be jerks. A lot are, in fact; it's kind of sad. The working out of who we are in Jesus is messy business--just take a look at all the Christian religions, denominations, sects, and all that.
But when we trust Jesus, not just to save us from our sin in the big-picture-sense, but to mature us into the new creations he says we are, things can get really beautiful (and NOT hateful, rude, and intolerant like we so often see in the outrageous media stories). And I'll be the first to say hey, I'm proof of that (And also I'm still a jerk sometimes, but I'm getting humility and he is always maturing me, so there's hope).
So maybe I'll start a series of posts talking about the Original Good News and all it has come to mean to me. There's a lot there to talk about--how to act toward others with different beliefs, how to maintain healthy boundaries and self-care, how to care for others without being co-dependent. And these are just my own personal issues--there are a ga-jillion things to talk about.
Then again, maybe I'll lose focus and forget; so just in case, go here:
Truefaced (this is where the Good Reverend works)
or here: Truefaced Youtube channel
or here: Another Truefaced Youtube channel
Also, for those who know me in real life, I'm not going to sit you down and try to convert you or anything. Unless you want me to. Then of course I would be glad to.
But I do want to put this out there because it really is important to me, and I'm always glad to share. I keep trying to boil it down to a starting point, and I guess that starting point would be the same thing you can find in the New Testament:
Jesus died and rose again, and that changes everything...