Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why I can't "Imagine"

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
1Corinthians 15:19

I know I'm about to ruffle some Beatle fan-feathers out there with this post.  To be fair, I am not a huge lover of the Beatles-- especially their early work. *dodges rotten tomatoes*  I find their later work to be much more musically appealing, and with better lyrical imagery.  "In my Life," for example, is wonderful.  "Blackbird" is one of my favorite lulabies to sing to Wyatt.  But a song that seems to hit every telethon, American Idol season, etc., is the infamous song, "Imagine."

This is a song loved by so many, but honestly, I find it depressing for the most part.  The very thought that unity, peace and happiness can only come by stripping the world of God just frankly, doesn't work for me.  Here's why: 

Imagine there's no heaven?  Um, no.  No, I'm not doing that.  I find such comfort in knowing that I will see my departed loved ones again.  My heart is a little less heavy in knowing that the children in our family who left us before we could ever hold them are bouncing on the knee of my Grandma Howard.  To know that healing in my body will take place someday, be it here or in the afterlife, gives me strength to push on for another day.  

There is a stanza within this beginning theme that reads as follows: "Imagine all the people living for today."  This implies two falsehoods, I believe: one, that people of faith only look to the afterlife, and two, that your actions don't affect others for generations to come.  Knowing that I will answer to how I lived my life makes me want to do more, not less, in the here and now.  Not because I fear judgement, but because I am so thankful for the love of Christ, I want to share it by loving and serving as many people as I can.  If we're only living for today, why choose environmentalism?  Why have communities?  Why bother loving anyone beyond yourself?  Truly, a balance between living exclusively in the present and "being so heavenly-minded that we are of no earthly good," is in order. 

"Imagine there's no countries ... and no religion, too."-- Yeah, this one doesn't jive with me, either.  While fighting and strife among peoples is something that I believe breaks the heart of God, I don't think diversity does.  Differing opinions, cultures, personalities and expressions of faith bring so much to our world.  Living side-by-side doesn't necessarily mean overlapping.  Peace doesn't necessarily mean homogenizing the planet.  True peace involves, I believe, a philosophy best summed up in the words of my buddy Pastor Paul: "Diversity without division, and unity without uniformity."  When I think of all the differing styles of worship that will take place in heaven, I get excited!  Christ urged his disciples to go into all the earth and spread the gospel, not to bring forth universal sameness, but the joy and freedom that comes from knowing Him.  While the church, as an entity of flawed human beings, has often confused her mission, that's on us, guys.  Not God.  Faith didn't divide, man did.

It is not in spite of my faith that I love and serve people who don't agree with me, but because of it.  It is my job to shine His light in love, service and sharing His gospel, but it is not my job to change hearts and minds.  The gospel is a means of loving out loud, not a rod to beat over the head of others who don't agree.  If you decide Jesus isn't for you, I'm not going to hound and harp at you.  If God himself doesn't see fit to force people to love Him, it would be pretty arrogant of me to attempt to!  If you think I'm a complete idiot for believing in God, I'm okay with that, too.  But it is my hope and prayer that perhaps those of you who have been hurt by others in the name of religion can see that the true practice of Christianity longs for peace-- just as John Lennon did.  However, in stead of taking God out of the picture entirely, we choose to make the Prince of Peace our focus.  Like the attempts at harmony in the chorus of "I wanna Hold Your Hand," I fail often, but clinging to Jesus, I will press on. 

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About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)