Friday, November 21, 2003

I went to a concert at Covenant Presbyterian with my son and Christian friends from our fellowship last night. We heard Derek Webb sing some of the new songs off his new SHE MUST and SHALL GO FREE album, which is all about the church. Everywhere I turn I hear the same message. People are calling for change, but it's not a rejection of church for an intensely personal and individualistic Christianity. That would be tragically self-centered and un-Christlike. I hear a longing for the total recreation of the church into something much more real, authentic, and God-focused. I also hear from many a recognition that the Christian culture which is televised, sold in stores, and pre-packaged so that we might be an enclave unto ourselves is an abandonment of our calling. We rightfully have seen the fall of Christendom - that we might rule the world (we made a mess in the process and tarnished the person of Christ) - and some are retreating to a segregated existence. The idea of aliens, sojourners, pilgrims, of being salt and light, and of an incarnational church seems not an option to those who wanted to rule. I guess it's "if we can't rule the world, we'll create our world where we do rule." There is another option, of ruling with Christ as he rules in mystery over a world seemingly not as responsive to his sovereignty as we would like. We can simply be the people of God and embrace all the distress of being foreigners in a hostile world. A world of enemies we will serve and sacrifice ourselves for, as Christ did not only for us, but for all.

Something else: One of Derek's unrecorded songs, "I Repent", was so compelling I include the lyrics for you. I pray that God helps you know in your heart the truth of Derek's words.

i repent

i repent of my pursuit of America's dream
i repent of living like i deserve anything
my house, my fence, my kids, and my wife
in our suburb where we're safe and white
i am wrong and of these things i repent
i repent of parading my liberty
i repent of paying for what i get for free
the way i believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent judging by a law that even i can't keep
wearin' righteousness like a disguise to see through
the planks in my own eyes

i repent of trading truth for false unity
i repent of confusing peace and idolatry
of caring more of what they think than what i know of what they need
and domesticating You until You look just like me
i am wrong and of these things i repent

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