Monday, July 19, 2010


I posted last week about inspiration. But, lately, several things I have experienced have been downright disturbing. The Bible itself is pretty disturbing -- in a good way. Sometimes I think God wants to inspire us toward his Kingdom and his Purpose, but other times I think he has to disturb us toward those ends.

Kind of like the way a pearl is made. It all starts with a piece of sand getting inside the clam and agitating the clam's soft inner tissues. The agitation caused by the sand is painful and irritating - like getting sand in your eye. It's disturbing.

So, the clam secretes a special substance that coats the piece of sand and causes it to become smooth. Several layers of coating later, the disturbing piece of sand is a smooth, beautiful pearl.

God doesn't want us to be naive toward the things in this world that disturb him. He wants them to disturb us, too. And he's given us a special substance to smooth things out in our lives: love. As we begin to put love into practice, we can see his Kingdom come and the "rough places made smooth".

God has let a lot of sand get in my shell lately. Here's a few excerpts of what's been disturbing me (in a good way):

"Laughing With" by Regina Spektor (there's no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole)

"Heaven" by Brett Dennen (lyrically rejects religion and yet is surprisingly Biblical)
"Blowin' In the Wind" by Bob Dylan (a lot of tough questions with no easy answers)
"42" by Coldplay (How then shall we live?)

"A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier."

This book is a true story and was written by a boy from Sierra Leon whose family was killed when he was 13 and then he was forced into the army to fight the rebels who killed his family. He documents the war in which he participated in full detail, including atrocities he himself committed against other people. It is gut-wrenching and will wake up anyone to the horrors of our present world. As I read I was humbled as I thought how, if I had grown up as this boy had and experienced the trauma and pressure he had, I would be capable of the same atrocities that he was.

"The Suicide Tourist" on Frontline (PBS)
This documentary followed an American man who was suffering from Lou Gerig's disease as he goes to Amsterdam (where assisted suicide is legal) in order to end his own life with the help of a physician. This film took me into the depravity of the human soul without Christ, and by the end I was broken for the people in our world who have to face such circumstances without Jesus.

Book #2:
"Holy Discontent" by Bill Hybels
This whole book is about what this post is about and gives a plausible plan of action for how to be agents of change in this world and help eradicate the things that disturb God's heart.

The Bible:
There's A LOT of disturbing stuff in the Bible, but here are my top three that disturb me on a regular basis:
1. Luke 16:19-31 (the parable of the rich man and Lazarus)
People in Hell who didn't believe God begging to come back to earth to warn those of us in the land of the living and not being allowed. That's disturbing. God, help those who are ignorant of REALITY like the rich man in this parable (including me, at times!).
2. Matthew 25:31-46 (the sheep and the goats) Jesus clearly says here that there will people at the Final Judgment who thought they knew him and were living the right way but were not. This keeps me on my toes and causes me to judge not only my actions, but even my motivations behind my actions. God, give me a pure heart that is after your own!
3. Ezekiel 3:16-21 (our calling to preach repentance) God basically tells Ezekiel that if he does not warn wicked people of the consequences of their sin, then God will hold Ezekiel RESPONSIBLE for the outcome! As an ordained minister of Jesus Christ, this one makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable and reminds me that sometimes "love" means an extremely hard conversation (or sermon). God, give us courageous boldness!


No comments: