On this week’s installment of Dismantling Christianese, Because it’s Worth it.
I have strong feelings about this word.
I don’t like it.
I don’t like it in the same way, oh I don’t know, I wouldn’t like a snake laying eggs in my spine and then all of them hatching at the same time and having snake babies float around and swoosh at your spinal cord.
Yes. You’re welcome.
Sorry to do that to you, but now I’m not alone in my misery.
That’s what the word does to me.
I know it’s in the bible, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the Christian culture rip off. In my ten years of professional ministry I have never heard this word used in a way that builds the kingdom.
Lukewarm perpetuates the myth of “thereness” which, as Christians, is everything we say that we are against. When are you engaged enough or working hard enough to get unlukewarm?
Also, isn’t it a sign of healthy faith and healthy life when you can look back at yesterday and say that you understand more today than you did yesterday? That you are more of the person you were created to be today than yesterday, or last week, or last year. That’s called growth, not lukewarm.
Yes, yes I know. We feel the need to have a term for those among us that aren’t trying as hard as we think they should and for those that don’t have quite the devotion to God and understanding of salvation that we do or how else would we condemn them?
As with any word it comes from a greater compilation of things we are trying to wrap our heads around. None of them ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ but far more nuanced and soul striking than the sweeping brush of Lukewarm that annihilates real discussion and leaves only the ashes of our own inadequacy in its path.
What is it that we are trying to say? Let’s say that instead.
We want more.
We want to feel more. More beauty, wholeness, truth. We know when you open yourself up to the world, the pain and darkness will come in too. We know, but we want to believe that doesn’t mean we’ve failed, it means we are really living.
We want to care more. We want to cast off our apathy, our ability to ignore the things that don’t punch us in the gut because we built towers of safety and put miles of distance between us and those Jesus calls us to. We want to tear down the walls and open our doors and not hide any longer.
We want to love more. Period. We want to see people and love them. See them, love them. See them, love them. We want this to be a rhythm that comes to us as natural as breathing. We want to tear down the barriers in our heads that scream “BUT WAIT” and just show up.
We want to follow Jesus better. We want to say yes every time we get the call to “come and see,” we don’t want to keep turning around and looking back.
We don’t want our fear to keep us in our seats, we want to march and dance and run forward.
We want to learn to be courageous. The slow, hard, holy way. We want to see the things we fear and walk toward them anyway. We know the right thing is not always the easiest thing, but we want to do it anyway.
We want to live life in honest community. We want to surround ourselves with people who care deeply about each other, and who wont let us cut corners and reach for less than we can. We want to believe the best in others and have the do the same for us, and will love us every time we screw it up. Which is often.
We want to encounter the Holy Spirit more. We want to feel the transformation of ourselves becoming less of who we were and more of we were created to be. We don’t want to ignore the opportunities we are given. We don’t want to turn away, even if its messy and painful or small and boring.
We want to show up more. We want to be ok with not having the right words and just being present. We want to fight against the urge to stay home because it’s easier and hurts less.
This is what I will accept. These are the words I will speak. Not some manipulative, less than, blanket word that makes us feel less worthy and less call than we are.
Good bye, lukewarm.
I wont miss you.