DO IT! Come to the square dance tonight, Pickering Barn 5:30. Community doesn’t really happen through intense, two-hour, gut-spilling conversations. More often it’s just being human together. Come, eat, have fun, laugh — be a community in Christ.
Most of us know we are petty. We hate it but we are. As the vestiges of Judeo-Christian ethics decline and the culture of self-empowerment rises, people are seduced by the idea that they can control the narrative and find happiness — or at least freedom from anxiety — by imposing their will on others. We know through Christ “who upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3) that the imposition of power never worked universal good or personal happiness.
Earlier this week I went with a friend to see Free Solo, the National Geographic documentary about Alex Honnold’s ascent of Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan without a rope. Expecting a climbing film, I was surprised how much it focused on Honnold’s relationship with Sanni McCandless, and the difficulty his climbing creates in their relationship. He wants to climb, she wants a relationship… with a man who could die any minute.
In one particularly awkward scene, the two of them are discussing whether Alex feels “obligated” to alter his climbing aspirations for the sake of Sanni’s peace of mind and love for him. He says “no.” Ouch. Her response, off and on throughout the film, is basically “what about me?” Both of them feel the shameless (I’ll explain that word in a moment) imposition of their will in their relationship will result in the “highest” good, individual happiness. Neither one appears especially happy. The last thing they are is carefree, but that’s exactly what a dirtbag climber is supposed to be (“dirtbag” is a term of veneration among climbers for the guy who sleeps in his car and lives to climb).
This is how Baby Boomers see Millennials: self-absorbed, laborious in their entitlement to happiness, completely lost in their own heads. Fortunately Baby Boomers are free of all that…
Or not. Think of the iconic Baby Boomer film, Field of Dreams. After fulfilling a Herculean list of assignments given by a voice from beyond the grave, the main character finally breaks down and says in shame, “what about me?” The answer (fondly embraced by all Baby Boomers) is “it was always about you, Ray.” YES!
The generational difference I see is my generation felt slightly ashamed, following as we were a “silent” generation that worked and suffered, to demand something for ourselves. It didn’t stop us, we just felt bad about it. For my kids’ generation, demanding something for themselves has taken on the aura of a virtue. Now, we’re supposed to demand things for ourselves. If we don’t, who will?
Jesus will. Quit fighting for your rights, arguing with everybody about everything. Our calling is to lose our lives. Become a living sacrifice. Tell him you embrace being baptized into his death. Then actually do it: die to yourself. What you have in Christ so far exceeds anything you will ever be able to provide for yourself. In fact, and this is astounding, you have everything he has (DM Lloyd-Jones loved this idea): abundant grace and righteousness, reigning in this life with Christ (Rom 5:17); God himself as a father, making you an heir of glory (Rom 8:16ff); and by being heirs we live lives imbued with a hope (Titus 3:7) that cannot perish, spoil, or fade (1 Pet 1:4). As the saying: Christ plus nothing equals everything. In him we have all things for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).
“Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).