I grew up as southern Christian as southern Christians come. I was in the church every time the doors were open, went to a private Christian school, and even went to Bible college. My summers were marked by missions trips and church camps, and I grew up thinking that to be a believer meant thinking a certain way about a lot of things
If I’m being really honest, the last couple of years (since a certain night in November in 2016) have been ground breaking for my faith. I’ve found a lot of things that I thought I knew for certain, to be things I suddenly questioned. It was like I woke up one day, and it felt like everything I had been taught growing up, was different than what I saw the majority of people I knew supporting.
It’s been a tear filled, emotional journey over the past two years. I feel like I’ve had to examine every issue and thing I thought I knew what I believed in growing up, and re-examine it. What I keep coming back to, time and again, is a Jesus that was moved by compassion when he was surrounded by crowds of people. It’s a verse I can never get away from. It says that Jesus was MOVED with compassion. He wasn’t moved with judgement or anger or a holier than thou attitude. He was moved with compassion.
I feel like the frame work of my life has been changed the past two years, by examining the life of a dark skinned immigrant Jesus who was moved with compassion for the people he encountered, and looks nothing like the sanitized, pretty boy Jesus I grew up seeing in paintings. If anything, I’ve come out of these past two years with my faith stronger than ever.
I wanted to share one of the most deeply comforting things I’ve found, that one of my favorite authors Shane Claiborne wrote – I’ve probably reread it a dozen times in the past couple of years.
“Lean into Jesus. Allow Jesus to be the moral framework for how you think about every issue. What does it mean to worship a savior that was born a refugee in the middle of a genocide and who was executed on a cross? I worship a Jewish, Palestinian Arab with brown skin who spoke Aramaic and went to the synagogue. What does that mean? How we think about these issues has to be shaped by our central allegiance to Jesus. Jesus lived near suffering. The gravity of the gospel takes us towards the suffering of the world. I think we have to live in proximity to pain. That’s what Jesus did from the moment he was born until the moment he died. He was entering into the pain of our world.” – Shane Claiborne