Journal Entry: Kevin TippsA journal entry from our Dallas Campus Pastor Kevin Tipps.
We live in a culture of endless opinions, one-sided conversations, and criticisms. In the church, we would be foolish to deny the fact that we are confronted by this daily, and in some ways play into the conversation at times. In the church at large, there seem to be two loud and often quoted voices within our broader culture. One voice is bent on using Jesus as a worldview: to express their defense of what they have always known and are comfortable with. This extreme seeks to control the narrative by criticizing in a defensive and proud posture, doing nothing more than alienate, discriminate, and feed into religious pride as age-old as the Pharisees. Remember them? They sought to trap Jesus with their words, arguments, and self-professed understanding.
The other voice expresses an extreme bent on using Jesus as a cause to burn the whole house down. It's a cause rooted in both a reaction to the other and the influence of a post-Christian culture. This extreme invites us to take our faith into our own hands and deconstruct it all. Jesus is a mere teacher, an example to follow in our pursuit to be progressive, inclusive, modern, and accommodating to the new norms of society, a culture that would try to convince us that "anything goes." It defines love as tolerance and acceptance of one's own personal "truth." A "truth" that's been found through self-exploration or introspection, of course. It's rooted in the same pride of the philosophers of old. This new approach to a "progressive faith" isn't new either; a modern spin on the same old mundane philosophies that Paul was surrounded by in Athens as he stood to preach at the Areopagus in Acts 17.
In either voices' defense, there are legitimate truths and valid questions being expressed. Pride, however, has seemed to pollute both conversations. Whether one is defending something or the other is tearing something down, both seem unconcerned with drawing close to Jesus -- to befriending their Savior. I, in different seasons of my life, have found myself very much entrenched in either one of these two extremes. I knew them both well. What has since kept me in the narrow way, a way which winds itself through the clutter of these clamoring voices, has been setting my heart on being friends with God. This friendship is not based upon two equals. No, no. My Friend is also my sinless, blameless, perfect and all-powerful King. Yet our friendship is still based on mutual disclosure, time, investment, trust, listening, speaking, and seeing one another deeply.
The longer I've journeyed with Jesus, my life has been deeply transformed by the power of what I call the "disclosure dance of friendship." In this daily movement towards one another, I've found that as I come to Jesus and disclose myself to Him - my fears, hopes, issues, failures, and dreams - He too draws near to disclose Himself to me. It's the mutual disclosure which also leads me to exchange what I've revealed of myself for what He's revealed of Himself. This exchange ultimately results in my transformation into the likeness of my friend.
Choosing to be exposed daily, in this disclosure dance with Him, my nakedness is always covered by the One who knows better, sees more, loves stronger, and ultimately, is eternally committed to me. This has transformed me over and over and over again, and no doubt will continue to.
In the end, as we sway together in friendship with Jesus, a world is watching; and as we dance we "shine like lights in the universe, in a crooked and depraved generation." Shining in friendship with Jesus, we may just find the desert of our modern culture has been provoked to do that same -- slowly becoming a dance floor of disclosure along with us.