I am struggling right now at my place of work. There are many issues with which I disagree, but which I believe I have very little power to change. I watched a TED presentation yesterday by a man named Dave Meslin who is a self-proclaimed rabble-rouser whose speech was merely 7 minutes in length, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since. He made the point that the reason people do not do anything about what they really believe in is because there are cultural barriers that reinforce disengagement. I thought about that long and hard in regards to my work situation, but, here, I want to think about it with you in regards to my faith.
Colossians 1:28 “He is the One we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” Just before this verse Paul says that [God has chosen the Lord’s people] “to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Do I proclaim Him?
Proclaim means to announce officially and publicly, to indicate conspicuously, to make plain, to announce or declare in an open or ostentatious way.
The only time I remember the word “ostentatious” being used as a descriptor for me was when I mentioned I would like to own a Jaguar. Proclaiming Christ means that He ought to ooze out of every pore. That I belong to Christ should be clear and plain to the point of being conspicuous, perhaps even ostentatious. People ought to know that they have been in the presence of one who loves Jesus when I pass, but, sadly, they don’t know; or, they do, but they are getting the wrong message. I know I fall so short of that high calling, but why?
Dave Meslin made me think about cultural barriers in regards to my faith. The world in which I live and work today is so different from the world of my youth. There are a lot more shades of gray. Instead of definite “rights” and “wrongs” we have everyone setting up their own standards, and, in the name of tolerance, we are forbidden to judge the rigor of those standards. In such a climate, proclamation of allegiance to any one belief is seen as simple, at best; and bigoted and arrogant, at worst. Arrogance and bigotry aren’t personality traits I want to espouse, but if I steadfastly hold to Christ as the only way, what choice do I have? Dave Meslin says that one who really wants to stand up for what they believe in must be willing to follow their dreams uninvited. He mentions that it is best to form a collective with like-minded individuals to effect change (yeah, Church), but concedes that sometimes you will be swimming upstream alone, and, sometimes, at great risk to your personal well-being.
Ah, didn’t Jesus go ahead of us? Didn’t He ask His disciples if they wouldn’t be willing to drink the cup that He had to drink? I reflect on this as I head to the cross during this season of Lent and as I am memorizing the end of Colossians with some of you in the Colossians in a Year group on Facebook this week. May we all “[be] strengthened with all power according to His glorious might that we may have great endurance and patience.” Col. 1:11
I’m praying for the church today. Please feel free to join in,
If you’d like to watch Dave Meslin’s presentation for yourself, here is the address: