A few things going on in the pop culture/faith culture that have captured my attention. Congresscritters are still trying to impeach the President, some Christians are questioning Kanye West’s conversion to faith and whether or not they really want him in the family, and Brandt Jean forgave Amber Guyger for murdering his brother, in what was a beautiful act of grace and mercy.
You may wonder what these 3 unrelated events all have in common. They all represent our human thirst for justice. I like to observe the chattering classes mostly to try to gain some insights around what is going on within people, and how it all relates to me, me, me. Just kidding, but there is some truth there. Iron sharpens iron.
I have my own issues around justice, that frustrating wail within your soul that wants to enforce some sense of order in our world, some kind of fairness. Also, some way of stopping bad things from happening. Justice as control in a world gone mad. Season all that with the aroma of envy, pride, offense, revenge, and power, and you’ve got a real toxic stew.
I don’t wish to start a fuss here, but impeachment of the President is really just a totally futile pursuit of justice hunger, aka, revenge. You can’t embarrass the guy, you can’t cost him money since he doesn’t even get paid for the job, and should you “win” your impeachment, he simply resigns and we wind up with President Pence. So impeachment is one of those exercises in justice futility, where all your efforts just cause you to suffer far more then the alleged “bad guy” ever will. In fact, should you succeed, the “bad guy” is actually even more blessed then he was to begin.
There are perhaps 10 thousand tweets along the lines of, just impeach him and all will be well with my world. Now that’s just cray cray. Your own personal world is not going to change one bit either way. If you’re not okay now, you won’t suddenly be okay once the Prez is impeached. Sheesh, people.
Then we have Kanye West. His conversion kind of makes me laugh because it is the classic, “grace for me, but the harshest justice for thee” scenario. Or as the Babylon Bee quipped something along the lines of how, a bunch of wretched sinners now angry that…. God saves wretched sinners? All in good humor, but I totally get that. It can be most annoying. Just ask Jonah.
It really bothers me however, that we have so many people, Christian people, who don’t seem to understand how to answer the question, “what must I do to be saved?” Worse, we seem to have a whole lot of Christian people who really don’t want “those kind of people” in their country club. I was actually shocked by the number of tweets along the lines of, “he can’t be a Christian, he hasn’t earned it.” C’mon people, this is basic theology 101!
Then we have Brandt Jean’s beautiful act of mercy, and how incredible that was to see. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, indeed! Now that’s what Jesus died for. That’s what being a Christian is all about. It was so good, so pure of heart, so beautiful.
So naturally I really hate to say anything, I hate to be a spoil sport, or a “bad Christian” here, but that mother’s heart of mine just won’t let it go! Nobody is sharing the video clips of Allison Jean, of a mom’s anger and grief, of her own cries for justice. Her pain did not just magically go away. Her son is still dead. All is not right with her world.
We in the Western Christian world kind of tick me off sometimes We like the grace and mercy part, the good stuff, the forgiveness without all the mess. We like the Jesus who holds hands with us and sings kumbaya, but not the one who speaks of white washed tombs and broods of vipers. We like forgiveness as an eraser, as a way of just making things go away, but not so much, forgiveness as a mirror, forgiveness as a call to repentance ourselves. We don’t think too much about the price that Jesus paid, the suffering He endured, the actual blood He spilled.
Far too often I’ve just seen forgiveness weaponized, cheapened, used as a way to avoid our messes rather then to confront them.
We should all honor Brandt Jean as he himself honored Christ, and honor that purity of heart that calls us to repentance ourselves, to service. But this is the piece that is so often missing in the West, the idea that grace is really a mirror that calls us all to repentance ourselves, and not just a paper towel we use to drape over a mess so we’ll all feel better about it.