Where’s The Intersection?

Where are you journeying for Lent? These 40 days that we’re called to specifically set out and move with God’s Holy Spirit are both formative and highly challenging. Me? I’m looking for an intersection in this year’s journey. Not a physical intersection, but a theoretical one. Specifically, I find myself looking for the intersection of the concepts of grace, reality, and accountability. These three items are not easily spotted in our modern world. “Grace,” usually has but a whisper of presence in our lives. “Reality,” or how we see things, has become almost entirely subjective at the cost of anything objective. “Accountability,” usually is either a brief flash of actuality -looking at you, Ted Cruz (amongst others)- or it’s something that quickly descends into an act of judgement. Nonetheless, these concepts are all things that pervade the corpus of Christian literature and our myriad histories. These are things we’re called to be, as Christians, but, very often, find to be almost alien.

Case in point: Rush Limbaugh recently died. I am not and have not been a fan of Mister Limbaugh. In fact, I find his work vile and entirely un-Christ-like. I recognize, very clearly, that his work and his actions caused myriad suffering for a huge swath of people. (Of which, I am one.) At the same time, I believe in a grace that is greater than all Rush’s sins. I don’t always like that grace, because a part of me would really like to see him get his comeuppance. Still, I know that, if grace is really what we claim it to be and if salvation is as powerful as we say it is: Rush Limbaugh is as much a beloved child of God as you, me, and anyone else. He was and is covered by that grace and salvation, whether his life reflected it or not. The workings of Christ have destroyed the power, guilt, and death of sin – even for Rush Limbaugh.

I think that’s good news, at least for some folks. I think it speaks of an amazing God, at least to some people. Still, I have been left wondering how to juxtapose that miraculous grace with the accountability and reality that a destructive person like Limbaugh needs to be bounded with?

With a grace so grand, how do we hold space for those who have been wounded? With a grace so profound, how do we call out the ways of sin and destruction wrought by this man? The truth of the matter is: we can’t simply let the magnitude of grace be the sole conversation point when it comes to someone like Rush Limbaugh. (Or, dare I say? You and I as well?)

And this is where I’m wrestling and journeying. My theological mind is comfortable with this broad concept of grace. In fact, it’s central to what I do and think. Nonetheless, my eyes tell me that we need to talk about and hold accountable the lies, conspiracies, and foulness that this man spewed forth. Moreover, my heart tells me that space must be held for those who have been hurt by this man and who are in need of healing.

So how do we do all of this?

Hell if I know! Or, at least I have no idea how we get this all to fit together.

How do we champion extravagant grace for the worst of us, while holding space for the most wounded for us, and being honest about the realities of sin for all of us?

This isn’t something that can be solved by cheap systematic platitudes and trite thoughts.
In fact, it all feels akin to juggling, whilst eating fire, whilst riding a unicycle. (Which, if you haven’t tried it, is a distinct recipe for disaster!)

Thankfully, I feel pretty confident that the Jesus who is Savior of all, Messiah to everyone, and Lover of all souls, has a pretty good idea of how we begin to fit or even mangle these concepts together. And thus it is, that I’m spending these 40 days pondering, reading, praying, and listening. I don’t expect to have all the answers by Easter morning, but I hope and pray that maybe my own heart and mind will be changed, even if ever-so-slightly, so that I might better live and love in these realities.

How ’bout you? Where are you journeying this Lent? We all are in need of some “intersections…”

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