Hey, this is a red letter day. I have a guest blogger! I read Nathaniel’s post on Facebook and I felt inspired to write another post about The Liturgists here. I asked Nathaniel Stone, who is a millennial and owner of Stoneridge Studios if I could post his writing on a blog, and I was thrilled that he said yes. The support for what he said was amazing.
I believe that The Liturgists are saying almost exactly the same thing in their unique way. I am sure that there are many people who have similar views as Nathaniel here in Northwest Arkansas. Many of them may have fear that if they will share their hearts this way, they will be rejected.
I value Nathaniel, Mike Gungor and Science Mike (who host The Liturgists Podcast) because they have the courage to share what is on their hearts in spite of the fact that many will criticize and reject them. Those who are wondering, “am I the only one who believes this way? Am I crazy?” can summon the courage to join the conversation at some point.
The need to belong is one of the most powerful instincts. The fear of rejection comes from this need. Our survival appears to depend on being accepted by a tribe or a group. Yet some of us decide to take The Hero’s Journey as Joseph Campbell describes it. Stepping out our comfort zone into adventure helps us to be more alive, and thus more likely to connect with the real Jesus that Nathaniel talks about. Jesus was pretty wild!
Here is what Nathaniel posted. I welcome your comments.
I’m okay with brokenness, in fact I love it, because brokenness is what drew me to something real.
I think most people are afraid, if we show our weaknesses, others will see that in us. So we try to put on a good show, separate our “goodness” in a corporate setting like church or business. My generation, but even more so, the generation below me, is looking for something real. We see through all the phony attempts at being good. We have experienced the most divorce, the most …struggle. And we couldn’t hide the struggle as much as we tried. Now, we are okay with being real. To the religious world it may seem pretty horrific.
My youth leader’s phony smile and pat on the back didn’t lead me to something real. All the games and snacks to make church seem fun, didn’t lead me to an encounter with Jesus. Perhaps that even lead me away from Him? It wasn’t until I left the religious community and started looking for something real that I found it.
Some find drugs, some alcohol, some sex. All these things that are just as pointless as the phony religious smile. And guess where I found Jesus? Out there! You can try to bring out programs and our ministries “out there” but that will drive us truth seekers farther and farther away. Not until we find the real Jesus will we stop. Bringing man-made programs about Jesus only make us look for something else because it seems phony to us.
Perhaps most in the church have not truly encountered a real Jesus. If you have, you know he’s not tied to religious ceremonies, catchy talking (preaching) or emotional musical serenading. If anything, those things mask who Jesus really is. He was a form of God, born in a nasty stable, from a virgin girl, who to the world without faith, he seemed like a bastard child. God came in the lowliest of forms, not to bring perfection by conquering Israel from Roman persecution but for real life, aching, searching, desiring, perfection of the heart, as we are drawn to the Father.
Because we’ve seen who our Savior is, real, beaten to a pulp, bloody, and hurting for our hearts to be joined to His, now, the only thing we want if we are truly searching… is Him. We can try to create a conquered Jerusalem by expanding our churches. Bringing the masses in front of our stage for all to see our strong king by our earth-shaking music and our powerful preaching.
But then I think of what Jesus said, “love God and love our neighbor” and I wonder, have we missed the simplicity of the gospel? Did he want us to conquer at an earthly level? We can regroup and think of different ministry tactics but do we even KNOW Jesus? If being real brings us to a low place in order to find Jesus, I’m okay with that. Because I want to experience, for real, the Jesus who didn’t come to conquer kingdoms, but to conquer sin and death! He is all I want. Maybe this Jesus is enough? #jesusisenough