Monday, March 12, 2007
tonight i went to see the movie Amazing Grace with my parents. i am deeply moved. the movie is about william wilberforce, the man who fought for the abolition of the slave trade in great britain for many years against great opposition, to see his efforts finally pay off after a lifetime of struggle. i wish i could go back and pause the movie so i could write down all of the incredible quotes . . . but since i can't maybe you'll just hafta go see the movie if you haven't already. i'm struggling to synthesize exactly what i want to write here, but i'll take a stab at a few things. i can't get over the "coincidence" that everywhere i've turned over the past two months i've seen signs of radical revolutionaries. i mostly don't believe in coincidence - i think it's the world's explanation of providence. so i guess God's trying to get my attention. as i watched the movie, i wanted so badly to BE william wilberforce (well, a few centuries later and without the curly wig). but you know what i mean - i want to actually make a difference in the world like he did. and then it kinda hit me while i was watching - he gave his entire life to the fight. it didn't happen quickly. it took a long time. and he gave up along the way (for a little while at least). but then he fought again, and he fought harder, even when he was sick and in pain. being a revolutionary isn't a phase that you can hang out in for a little while until something better comes along.
another thing that really hit me in the movie was toward the beginning. william (who is a Christian) is trying to choose between living for God (and going into vocational ministry) or remaining in politics and fighting for social justice. a really wise person (i don't remember which one in the movie) asked why he couldn't do both. i think that's an amazing question. why not? why do so many Christians feel like they have to choose between faith and action? i think that question shoud be taken a step further - no only "why not do both?" but "why on earth would we not do both?" as Christians we are called to fight against injustice. if we do so, are we not devoting ourselves to Christ? Christ stood up for people that others never even acknowledged. as i have studied social work i have become increasingly convinced that Jesus was a social worker of sorts. He cared about poor people, widows, orphans, slaves, smelly fishermen, and homeless guys (he traveled with 12 homeless guys for 3 years)! when we see things in this world that are messed up because of sin (and everything that is messed up is a result of sin), if we have the means to do somehting about it why wouldn't we? maybe it's because we're tying so hard not to see, because we know once we see we'll be obligated because of our relationship with Christ to do something about the injustices in our world.
social action is inconvenient. it takes LOTS of time, and most activists hit brick walls way more often then they make it over them. but as shane claiborne would say, if things are going smoothly then something must be wrong. hitting a brick wall is a sign you're running in the right direction. if you keep running hard enough, maybe you'll eventually break through (or find a way over, under, or around the wall). all i know is that i don't want to give up just because something looks impossible. i want to be like william wilberforce.
This blog is a testimony to the work that God is perpetually acting in my life. I am learning that when I think I've given enough of myself, I've barely begun. My prayer is that as God continues to grab hold of my life, not only will He become greater and I become less, but He will become ultimately supreme and I will vanish. This Holy Disappearance will be a lifelong journey in which, by the grace of God, I will become so wrapped up in Him that all of me will disappear and all of Him will SHINE