Trying to Stand in Fallen World



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One of my favorite songwriters is Pierce Pettis, and one of my favorite songs of his is “Trying to Stand in a Fallen World.” If that does not describe the Christian life today, I don’t know what does.

Do you ever feel this way

Like there is no escape

And you’re out there all alone

In a place that’s not your home

If we take the Gospel seriously, we find ourselves in a place that is NOT our home. We realize that our values do not coincide with the values of people around us, and more unfortunate, with the values of the people who seem to be getting ahead. The values of the Kingdom of God–of sacrificial love, of forgiveness, of being poor rather than rich in spirit, of gentleness and kindness–are neither popular nor effective. And we do value being effective! As Flannery O’ Connor said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.”

It is very tempting to respond to this alien situation by trying to make the world our home. We either try to force our values on the world at large, or we adopt the world’s values. We do not like the dislocation that the Gospel commends. We do not like being strangers in a strange land.

The problem with forcing the world into our mold is that we become what we are trying to overcome. When Christians try, through political means, to make the world the way they want their spiritual home, it is like they have come into someone else’s living room, and started to rearrange the furniture. No wonder people get pissed off when faith and politics start to merge. It is usually not about justice, or fairness, or opening opportunity up for all peoples, it is about Christians trying to recreate a past that never existed in the first place.

I can understand why we do it. It is hard to be homeless, and if we are faithful, in the words of the old Larry Norman (and Jim Reeves) album, this world is not our home. Or, as the Person Who We Follow said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

But we do not have to travel alone.

Do you ever feel this way
Longing for the light of day
Then I send to you my song
And I swear you’re not alone

It’s time to stop feathering the nest of the world with enough Christian kitsch and platitudes to make us feel comfortable. Instead, maybe those of us who see this is partly an uncomfortable journey, can band together, to help each other along the way. The only way we can stand in a fallen world is if we support each other.

About tmrichmond3

I am the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Medford, Oregon. I believe that faith should be able to sustain us, not oppress us.
This entry was posted in Church, Emergent Church, Jesus, religion and politics, spirituality and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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