By Larry Webb, Central Atlanta Community Member
The third part in a series of blogs by Larry called, “The Bizzaro Bible”;
Now, if God doesn’t live in temples/church buildings made by man. Where can I find Him? “…for we are the temple of the living God…” Wait a minute. He lives in us? Maybe this scripture will bring more clarity, “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Now what could be more clear than that?- Bizarro!
So, why am I drawn toward drug abusers and addicts, male and female prostitutes, transgender people, drug dealers, pimps, mentally disabled people, outcasts, poor people, suffering people, those who do not have a home, those who do not have a job, those whose story is different than mine, those on the margins of society, my most vulnerable neighbors?
I can come up with a few reasons: they are valuable to God (and therefore to the world – myself included), they are loved by God, they teach me so much about myself and about God, they humble me (with minor success so far, but they are making progress). They are nice, they are funny, and they care about other people. I’m not saying that they are not sometimes mean, stubborn, argumentative, angry, etc. – they are – the point is that they are people, real people, with real struggles and real pain.
They are incredibly smart (especially, but not limited to, common sense or “street smarts”) and they are wise. They seem to enjoy my company and benevolently laugh at my jokes.
They help me understand this incredibly awesome “Bizarro Bible” and because of them I am beginning to see my own blindness. I thought I was a really good Christian.
Now I know that there is no such thing – “No one is good except God alone.” They are saved by grace through faith. I am saved by grace through faith. We are one in Christ. We are neighbors. What happens to them happens to me. What happens to me happens to them. They are in Christ. I am in Christ. It’s becoming less them and me and more us – or actually more of Christ in us. It’s the Kingdom. It’s our new name, Hephzibah. God delights in them. Why shouldn’t I delight in them? Why shouldn’t they delight in me?
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. …forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” – Bizarro! …Yet… oh, so beautiful!
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Bizarro?
(1.) “From Brokenness to Community”; Jean Vanier; Paulist Press; 1992; pg. 25.
(2.) Ibid; pg. 20