Despite the title parody, I wasn’t thinking of environmentalism or the planet. I was thinking of the fact that I suffer for fear of inconvenience and have the growing suspicion that this could prove to have negative effects for the way I live out my faith.
I’ve been in a mild season of self-loathing recently. Let me explain.
I wrote not too long ago about the experience of my housekeepers having to be at the mercy of increasingly aggressive immigration law enforcement in the state of Georgia.
I had hoped to keep the blog posts on this couple’s struggle going and to walk with them through this journey that really has awakened them from the American Dream. For a while, I was on a roll: I faxed a letter to the governor signed by our church leadership team expressing our concerns for the children of deported parents; I preached on the matter of justice in my home church (twice!); I helped the Hispanic church with whom we share a building host an immigration attorney.
But the truth of the matter is that I was finding the outer limits of my generosity and neighborliness. I found my compassion wearing thin with every interruption, tedious phone call, frustrating conversation in broken English, and surprise visit. Hours of work had been compromised. Several trips to a part of town I was unfamiliar and uncomfortable with were also a part of this process.
I wanted to be free of the heavy burden of anxiety, the specter of fear, and the horrible hole-in-the-gut of uncertainty. And of course, that was part of the problem. I could always opt out. This was just temporary for me. It was just a bump in the road, a slight inconvenience. And I still hated it. I still bristled at it. God spare me from a real test of my ideals.
I think I have always assumed Jesus bore the cross as the ultimate sign of love, or atonement — a cosmic reconciliation of what had been broken in the garden, but what I forget is that cross was meant for me. That was my problem and my destiny and yet it was taken from me. And yet Jesus never made me feel as though he were inconvenienced by it all. In the process of sanctification, could we be like Christ without this inconvenient truth? Isn’t this what the ministry of reconciliation is for?