Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What's it gonna take?

Far be it from me to want to jump onto the bandwagon of internet remembrances of Robin Williams, his life, death, and legacy.  Let me just say upfront that I was a huge admirer of everything that comprised the life of this very talented and gifted artist.. the good and the bad, the honesty and the energy,the humor and the intensely serious.  I grew up with him... not literally, but figuratively from "Mork and Mindy" until yesterday.  Not wanting to be overly dramatic, I'll risk sharing that the news of his passing, particularly the way of his passing, seems to have burrowed deeply into my soul since yesterday.  It's an odd thing really.  It's not about any sort of connection or relationship that we had.  I've not shed tears of personal loss.  I don't personally identify, at least not that I'm aware of, with the level of depression that was obviously tormenting him.  I've wanted to walk away from a good many things in my life, but never life itself.  Something burrowed into my heart late yesterday and it's not gone away.  It's just a question .... loud, clear, taunting, haunting, and relentlessly questioning ... "What's it gonna take?"
As I've wrestled with the dynamics and implications of this, I've realized that the heart of the question is whats been lingering beneath the heart of my pastoral self.  It's multifaceted, it's annoying, and I'm not really sure that it has any particular resolution.  In fact it might be dangerously and tragically rhetorical. "What's it gonna take?"  Being in the pastoral arts profession, most of my wrestling comes from a community of faith, followers of Jesus,sort of place.  So I'll ask you who claim the faith that I claim, "What's it going to take?"

  • before we wake up to the destructive realities of depression and get us to quit treating it like there is a "pull yourself up by your own boot straps, fake it till you make it" solution and to act like a transparent community of broken and struggling wanderers on a common journey.
  • to convince us of the insidious nature of Satan and his propensity for separating and isolating.
  • to pull the ear buds out of our ears, pull our heads up from our "not so" smart phones, stop listening to Siri and start listening to each other ... and I'm referring to we, the "church/Jesus" people.
  • for us to take down the invisible, yet very apparent, "you must fit in" signs that hang from too many of our worship centers
  • to convince us that many of the broken people that we are called to love might very well not be homeless at all...they might in fact be "living the life I've always dreamed of".
  • to accept that Facebook and Twitter friends do not equal relational "how are you doing really?" types of relationships
  • for us to understand that "celebrity", even within the Christian context, is not the end of all want and need and the reward for a life well lived.
If this latest loss to our culture has done anything for me it has hammered home how much more we stand to lose while we, the people of Jesus, stand on the side and sheepishly withold  what we ourselves have already been offered ... love, caring, community, hope, redemption, healing, relationship, wholeness, salvation ... need I go on?

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