Saturday, December 31, 2005


Is this the keyword to Christian spirituality? Vulnerability? Almost, but not quite.

There is something in the broken human heart that desires to satisfy the self. When pushed, it changes from self-satisfaction to self-protection. As I was thinking about the book of Revelation and all the scary developments and all of the anarchy, Christians tend to want to become defensive. As our culture gyrates wildly, Christians get defensive about culture. As any relationship starts to get a sharp edge, most people draw back and become self-protective.

And in Revelation 10, John takes a small book from the rather large angel and eats it. It is sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach. The idea of becoming Children of God is sweet. The idea of following in Jesus path is bitter.

Looking at the core pieces of Christian culture, what do they say about defensiveness or vulnerability? Communion -- celebrating Christ's death. Dip the body in the blood and eat it. Baptism -- drown the old man. kill yourself. Feetwashing -- this may be the epitome. We start to feel like a doormat with so much vulnerability, but Jesus says yes to the doormat of wiping feet, but don't just let people wipe their feet on you, wipe their feet for them before they ever ask! The whole sermon on the mount is intentional doormat stuff.

What was John to prophesy to the nations after he ate the scroll? That time was coming to an end. That anarchy would push us to become self-protective and at some point that would mean to do what we needed to do to survive. But following Christ would mean be vulnerable and to do it intentionally. And this is the path that leads to a true wholeness.

The obvious response to Jesus is love. It is demanded over and over that we love God and love one another, even our enemy. But we do not know what that means. So I'll start with the word vulnerable.


Dan H. said...

Hmm. That sounds like a good definition of love -- being 'intentially vulnerable.'

I watched the dvd of Donald Miller's talk about Catalyst 2005. It was very much about this subject. I think you would like it. I am currently borrowing it from Bob Eatherton. Someday maybe I'll give it back. :)

Kevin J. Bowman said...

Wonderful post.

I think Christianity would be more on target if it would shut up and start serving.

Thanks for the great words!