re-glory

Well, this quarantine project/2021 resolution is coming to life a bit sooner than I thought because I simply can’t stay quiet after today.

I wrote and blogged a lot when I lived abroad but hadn’t really found my writing niche again since returning to the States four years ago. But today’s events, and really much of the last several years, have made me want to use my voice to remind people that there is more to being a Christian than the hatred and hypocrisy they see on social media. To reclaim our identity and re-center it back on Christ. To rewrite the narrative of what it looks like to live and love like Christ in this unique time in our history.

The word re-glory (though I guess it’s not technically a word) came to me when I was scrolling through social media and realized that a majority of the content I was seeing from many Christians was in fact not about Christ. It was about pushing political agendas and opinions. About whether or not Black Lives Matter. About deciding what’s fact and what’s fake. About who Christians should vote for. About conspiracy theories and bizarre prophecies. About how masks were a threat to the church’s freedom rather than a thoughtful protection of its vulnerable members. It was disappointing to me as a Christian, and I can only imagine how confusing it was for non-Christians. Now, please hear me when I say that there are courageous Christians and leaders stepping up and speaking truth during this time, my pastors being some of the first that come to mind. But the loudest voices are unfortunately the ones that get noticed.

The concept of glory in the Bible is expressed with several different Hebrew words. One of the most common is the word kavod, which means “heaviness” or “weight.” However, it was also used to express the worth of a person and the ideas of radiance, greatness, honor and power. My straightforward, modern day interpretation? To not take something too lightly.

I fear that Christians today take the name of Jesus too lightly. We are failing to recognize the weight that comes with his name. It should not be tossed around carelessly to reinforce a political agenda, push a conspiracy theory or spread hatred towards those who believe differently from you. In doing this, we are not bringing him glory, and we are therefore missing out on his glory.

I also fear that Christians today are taking their witness too lightly. I can’t help but mourn what we compromised this past political season to push our own agendas and to win people over to our political party rather than to the kingdom of God. People missed out on Jesus because political opinions mattered more than their salvation. People left the church because the political rants and judgmental Facebook posts were the final straw. People stopped listening because being right became more important than being kind.

Like C.S. Lewis said in his book The Weight of Glory, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We have been far too busy making mud pies. We have missed God and his glory. We perhaps have caused others to miss God. We have settled for much, much less.

I don’t want to miss out anymore. I want to re-center myself first and foremost on the deep, weighty, heavy, beautiful glory of God and not let the shallow views and opinions and principles of this world distort it. And I hope that in sharing this, it encourages you that there is more to Christianity than what is hitting your newsfeeds. I am heartbroken but I am hopeful. I am hopeful that when we re-center our gaze on Christ rather than a political candidate, when we re-focus on his kingdom rather than America and when we re-prioritize to put him first even above our own opinions, we will once again give glory back to him.

I recorded this blog out loud on Siri on my way home from work tonight because I didn’t know what else to do. I am so sorry to those who have been hurt by people who have called themselves Christians but acted just the opposite. There is more to the story than what you’re seeing. I promise you there is more.

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