Subversion of the Day- Be a Friend to Somebody

Friendship is a strong sign of the Kingdom come.  Christ even said that there was no greater love than that someone would lay down their life for their friends.  And really, that was Christ’s purpose- to lay down His life to make us friends of God.  And by proxy, friends of each other.  But for some reason, those of us who love revolution, who love waging war against the forces of darkness and corruption in this world don’t always see that friendship really changes anything.

However, friendship changes everything.

To really be someone one’s friend, means that you are willing to lay down your life for them.  If we are talking about bullets, most say that they will jump in front of the oncoming onslaught to save the life of the one’s they love.  They would be willing to die for that person, no questions asked.

But what if you are the one firing the gun?

See, we sometimes through ideas, accusations, obstacles, and an assortment of other nasty things that start with vowels at those we love, and refuse to be the one to stop those bullets.  Or, maybe we stop before that.  Maybe we refuse to love our friends, and fire it will.  (I like Will, whoever he is.  I don’t want to shoot him.)  I have experienced some who suggest that those in ministry (and also in the social work field) should avoid “enmeshment,” which means to get to connected with a person you are having a semi-intimate, professional relationship with.   But Christ is not a model for such an activity.  He did a whole bunch of enmeshin’; he spent most of His time with His disciples, ate with them, walked with them, probably had to run away from a few conflicts with them.  The greatest example of being enmeshed?  Yep, He died for them, even when they ran scared from dying, and left Him alone.  Some friends.

Christ was enmeshed.

And His cry to us is “Come, follow me” and “Take up my cross.”  So what does this look like in practice?  It depends on the two persons and their situation on specifics, but really the focus is to make a person a part of your family.  Eat with them.  Laugh and cry with them.  Be honest and gentle with them.  Be willing to listen to their stupid, repeated stories and their struggles.

Die for them.

Friendship will help us see the foundations and the walls of the Kingdom of God.  Subvert the powers today.

Love consists in this: not that we loved God,

but that He loved us and sent His Son

to be the propitiation for our sins.  

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.

 No one has ever seen God.

If we love one another,

 God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:-12

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American Idols

Here is a song that I wrote that falls in the vein of yesterday’s suggested subversion.  Let me know what you think-

 

American Idols

 

Well the talking heads are talking their heads off

About the latest fashion and who was wearing what

And I tried to speak my mind but I couldn’t get a word in

They said if it didn’t “pop” i should keep my mouth shut

 

So I climbed up a mountain to tell a dying world

That Christ died and rose again to bring us peace and love

And as soon as I thought my brothers were shouting with me

They told me to be quiet as the turned their TV’s up

 

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord

 

 

Well they shake it on the Left and they shake it on the Right

So it seems there ain’t no middle cause everyone wants to fight

And politicians are wishing no one senses their precision

At collision and division so there pensions don’t go missing.

 

So there’s battles of the rich going up against the poor

And the black folk and the white folk are still engaged in war

And the genders are in combat but neither one of them are right

Cause there’s no Jew or Greek or slave or freak cause we’re all one in Christ

 

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord

Subversion of the Day: Worship Only the One True God

 

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To begin, this is not a critique on other religions.  That is an issue to discuss, but not one for this day.  No this daily subversion strikes a little closer to home.  The axe is laid at the trees in your own back yard, not in your neighbors. 

This is about idolatry.

So what, you may ask, does idolatry have to do with subverting the powers on a daily basis.  Everything, dear reader, everything.  This is an issue of Kingdom and the king that we serve. You see, most people have this understanding of an idol in a biblical sense; idols are figures that are used for the purpose of worshipping a deity that may or may not be in that object, but does bear a resemblance to the object that is created.  So, if I worship dogs, I have a little dog statue.

But many take a different understanding than this ancient one.  I actually pose the question “what is an idol” on my Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/joshua.coffman.5 ) recently, and received several interesting answers.  One person said:

“Anything or anyone that u put before God….Sumthing u can’t do with out or live without….anything u put first or is ur first priority over God”

I think that is pretty much spot on.  I especially like the statement of something you can’t do without or live without.  Don’t take this out of context and say that we all idolize food, water, and air.  But the truth is that if we said each of these were more important than God, or that we decided we would rather have any of these than God, then we have pretty strongly indicated that which we worship.

The interesting thing is things that we say we don’t need, but act as if we do.  If you read yesterday’s post ( https://everydaysubversive.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/subversion-of-the-day-rest/ ), you could see that I acknowledged something that had the potential to be my god, which was the computer/internet access/ whatever.  I decided to take a break from it one day a week.  I am conveying to it, myself, and the whole world that I can do without it, but I cannot do without Christ.

So what is your idol?

This is where we have to really assess ourselves.  We can really idolize anything, and the fact of the matter is the more we perpetrate this false worship, the more we give room for the powers of this world to consume and control us.  We have to take a stand, and dethrone our miniature kings, and tell them there is only one King.  The possibilities are endless to what we can idolize:

Clothing

Money

Friends

Family

The Government

Celebrity (ies)

Prestige

Security

Convenience

Low Cost

Self

 

That last one usually is at the epicenter of the others.  We make ourselves our own God, and prescribe to ourselves worship.  So, figure out what you worship other than the one true God, and tear it down.  Subvert the powers today.

 

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness!

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.

Matthew 6:19-24

 

Subversion of the Day- Rest

 

We live in a culture that believes that consistently going is the best option, and that to slow down means death.  This, I must say, is corruption.  And I for one have fallen hook, line and sinker.  For example, I am writing this at 3 o’clock in the morning, and I have to get up to point kids to Christ in about 5 hours, and teach them how to fight the darkness.  I don’t plan on going to sleep for another 2 hours.  If we do not slow down, we die.  It is true; machines break down without maintenance; relationships tear without passionate investment; people die from exhaustion, literally and physically.

We need rest.

So the Subversion of the Day is to have a day of rest.  Now before you start calling me an out-of-touch bible-thumper or something equally as true, slow down a sec.  See what I did there?  I do not seek to be dogmatic about day of the week, or provide a list of activities accepted and not accepted.  This is about what allows you to rest, or recharge.  If being in the woods rejuvenates you, make that a part of your day of rest.  If it doesn’t, don’t.  The important thing is to see the importance of the activity: allowing ourselves time to recharge maintains us as a vessel to be used in God’s Kingdom.  It enables us to let out deal with pain and struggle of our week, so that we can consistently be an example of what Christ wants His people to be.

To subvert the powers, sometimes you have to take a break from subverting the powers.

So here is, for those interested, my example of what I will be doing to rest.  In a way I have split my day of rest into two parts, because in a way, neither is really a full day of rest for me.  On my day off during the week from acting as the Youth and Outreach Director at The Salvation Army, Richmond KY Corps, I spend time at a bible study I don’t have to prepare for (and I get to eat at), meeting with a similar saint that can encourage me, and spending copious amounts of time thinking, reading, and writing at Purdy’s Coffeehouse, drinking copious amounts of coffee.  This is super restful.  This isn’t giving to others, this is about me.  But one thing I need rest from I do not rest from on that day.  I will give you a hint to what that is: I am typing on it.  If you read my previous post Ode to the God of the 21st Century, you can see that I am prone to idol worship.  I need to cut ties with this device at least one day a week, so that way it doesn’t try to climb up on the throne of the King in my life again.

I am going throw back with this one.

This will officially be my first and last post for this blog on Sundays.  I am severing my connection from the internet on the commonly accepted Sabbath day to rest, and remember the God who can communicate to me without bright screen and a motherboard.  I am going to trust that He wants me to rest, and that the world won’t fall apart in that time frame.  I hope it doesn’t.  But if it does, I won’t know, because I won’t be checking Facebook.

Pick your own day to rest, and really find those things that allow you to recharge and be prepared to fight away the darkness and stand for the Kingdom every day.  Subvert the powers today.

 

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.  The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?  In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat.  And he also gave some to his companions.”

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Matthew 2:23-27

Subversion of the Day, and The Campaign movie review

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Last night, my wife and I went to see The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis for a date after a long week of work.  I expected it to be pretty low brow, and it was more or less off my radar other than thinking the trailers looked funny, but nevertheless, we chose to see it.  And at the end of it, I left the theater feeling like I had fallen in a septic tank.  The copious amounts of invasive, sexual humor just coated me in this film that made me feel disgusted when it was over.

Their plan worked.

See, I am pretty sure their plan was to make me feel uncomfortable.  But what I don’t think they intended was the commentary on the filthiness of the American political system.  Greed, corruption, adultery, deceit, violence, slander, religious posturing for votes, embellished patriotism for supporters; these are all things that are present in our current political conscience, and many of them are a part of campaign tactics.  But the movie plays Galifianakis’ character Marty Huggins as the goofy, loveable imbecile who is the one who stands for what he believes.  And in the end, all is made right.  (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) Marty doesn’t “win” the election, but is handed it by his opponent because he sees goodness in him, and then Marty lets the dogs out on the corrupt business men who tried to manipulate the whole thing.  Things are right, all is well, the political system is upheld.  This is all well and good, except one tiny problem.

This is fiction.  Not reality.

Marty Huggins was prone to corruption during the campaign.  He stooped to the level of Cam Brady (MORE SPOILERS); getting him drunk and allowing him to drive home, shooting him with a rifle in the leg, manipulating his son for a campaign ad… there is more, but it is irrelevant.  He was brought to the low level of his rival.  And he also left his financial backers when they said they were essentially selling his district to China, and he went after them later with his newly gained power.  But, he was still corrupted.  So, what now stops him from succumbing to other pressures, like lobbyists pushing him to sign into law something that would keep his constituency, but goes against his morals, or even his desires for his office as representative.  No person is an adequate representative of the desires of another.

Except one.

 

And this is where the Subversion of the Day come into play.  Let’s give it it’s own title-

 

Subversion of the Day: Engage in Critical Conversation Over

Popular Culture, and Point it Back to Christ

 

Christ is the only legitimate, accurate representative we have.  He knows our best interests, and actually wants them to come to pass.  He is not bound by the continuance of His office as King of Kings- it is eternal, and without realistic challenge.  He does not have to uphold the whims of his constituency, but instead, works together all things for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.  He is King.  So why do we think we need people who are prone to corruption because their OFFICE is prone to corruption making decisions that relegate our freedom?  WE ARE ALREADY FREE!  To live in the Kingdom means not to challenge the authorities in a violent, aggressive way, or even really in a political way.  It is to live differently.  To not disobey laws, but live as though legislation is not necessary, because grace fills our lives, and we guide each other. 

One last thing.  Marty Huggins is a good example of change though, in his pre-corrupt stage.  He is weird, he is a little dumb, and he is viewed as weak and silly.  But he cares.  This is foolishness to the system he works in.  And the cross of Christ is foolishness to the world- it is weak, shameful, weird, dumb, and silly.  We must be these things to point out the corruption and death around us.  We must be like Christ, and live differently, and not allow ourselves to be corrupted by the systems of this world.  We must be subversive.

This brings us full circle to the Subversion of the Day- engage in critical conversation over popular culture, and point it back to Christ.  Use the interests of the world around you to point others to the truth of reality, which ultimately, is that Christ changes things, and His Kingdom is better than all others, and it will reign after all others crumble.  Subvert the powers today.

 

“My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.”

“You are a king then?” Pilate asked.

“You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”

“What is truth?” said Pilate

John 18:36-38