Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Day (Almost) Everyone Got Wrong

"That's just how it is."

We humans are interpretive beings. We make meaning, add meaning, ignore meaning and search for meaning. Over time, if our interpretations prove true time and time again, we figure that our interpretation is reality (or at least really close to reality). And reality is a high-stakes game. Wars are fought over interpretations of reality, everything from slavery to a master race spawn wars and rumors of wars.

In the Christian faith, interpreting reality is a very high-stakes games. We Christians give our lives to the reality that Jesus is Lord, reigning in the cosmos as risen King. Whether or not we say it out loud, we also believe that Jesus' lordship is a reality which impacts every single human life. It's tough to get more high stakes than that.

So it is no wonder that Christians argue so vigorously about interpretation of Scripture, nature, God, etc. Being wrong could be high stakes. But being wrong is also the first step to learning.

This season is Advent. We often remember Advent as the approach of Christ, the fulfillment of prophecy and the rescue of humanity. Advent is also a humbling experience. Consider this: Virtually no one predicted Jesus' coming in the way it happened. In fact, the people who knew the Scriptures best were also the people who wrote Jesus off a Christ-imposter, an anti-Christ. Jesus is the One who would defy the "plain meaning" of prophecy and would even say "You have heard... but I say..." about basic Scriptural passages. Jesus defies any attempt to control or master the truth- declaring in one swift motion that truth is not an idea, Truth is a person.

So much of life is about domination and control. This season betrays a predisposition for control: "Keep Christ in Christmas," "Come to our Christmas Eve service, not another church's," "Have the perfect Pinterest house and throw the best parties..." and other messages keep the desire for domination in the forefront of our minds. Add to that the Church's ongoing dialogue about gender equality, homosexuality, race, civic disobedience, and other topics and there is much which can be said about wanting to dominate the conversation.

But what if Advent can teach us some humility? After all, if centuries of faithful observers could be wrong about the coming of Christ, if the experts in the law could be wrong about the ways of God, certainly we can joyously embrace the notion that we can be wrong. And if we can be wrong, and still belong in Christ, then perhaps we can truly love as Christ loved us.