Pious Playwrights

Do you see why Christianity is called “good news”? Christianity proclaims that it is an equal-opportunity faith, open to all, in spite of the abundance of playwrights in the church who are more than anxious to announce, “There is no place for you in Christianity if you: wear an earring/ have a tattoo/ drink wine/ have too many questions/ look weird/ smoke/ dance/ haven’t been filled with the Spirit/ aren’t baptized/ swear/ have pink hair/ are in the wrong ethnic group/ have a nose ring/ have had an abortion/ are gay or lesbian/ are too conservative or too liberal.                                    ~ Michael Yaconelli

I’m a fairly new Twitter user. I’m pretty long-winded for tweeting. In the past, I’ve only keep an account to keep up with a few family members. But tonight I did and saw a re-tweet from one year ago from the Westboro Baptist Church that read: Cory Monteith found dead in Vancouver hotel room – STRUCK DOWN BY RAGING MAD GOD!

I’m uncertain what compelled God to kill Cory Monteith. I don’t know if God was RAGING because Cory was on a television program that has gay characters; or if God was MAD at him because he was intimately involved with a girl he wasn’t married to; or if God STRUCK him DOWN because at 31, he took a lethal mixture of heroin and alcohol.

Here’s what I’m certain of, Michael Yaconelli had it right. The Gospel is “good news”. And whoever you are, there is a place for you in this equal-opportunity faith.

When I read the WBC tweet, I’ll be honest, it made me angry. I thought things like: No wonder no one wants what we say we have when this is how our faith is represented.

And I thought other things. Things like: How can people be so: ignorant, hateful, malevolent, evil.

In a moment my heart was seared. Hating the hateful is my spiritual Achilles. I was ready to assume the role of a playwright, too. So quick to say there is no room for you Westboro and your brethren who preach hate and proclaim the message of an angry God.

I’m more willing to extend unqualified grace to those who hate Christians than to Christians who hate.

Tonight I’m praying for a heart like my Father’s heart. The One who says: Come to Me, ALL of you who are weak and weary and I will give you rest.

Key Moments

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.  ~ Frederick Buechner

There have been moments that I can readily point to and say things like: That was that day that I…  It was in that moment that I knew…  For the first time, I understood what it meant to feel…  We all have defining moments, where, whether due to choice or to chance, something happened or was said or heard or seen, that has marked us with indelible ink like a tattoo.

But there are millions of unremarkable moments where the waters make a slow, steady rise, eroding the shoreline and leaving debris that we can’t account for. There are countless moments lost to weariness or want or worry where we completely forget about touching and tasting.

I’m realizing that I’m in a constant process of making miniscule choices. They don’t feel like choices because they’ve become as reflexive as blinking or breathing. This is how I react to fear. This is how I react to pain. This is how I react to grace. If I stay stuck in the this is just how I am, then, yes it is.

Or I can choose to taste and touch and smell my way to the holy and hidden heart of it by inhabiting my life, eyes open, listening. Plato wrote: An unexamined life is not worth living. Listening to my life is a lesson that I’m learning because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

In each moment I can choose to revel or rebel. I can risk or run. I can choose grace or guilt. With each choice, I’m determining the key and the tone of my life. Stringing together like a score that builds to a crescendo of gloom or glory, every moment is another note in the symphony I write by how I choose to live.