Some thoughts on the passing of DMX

I was never the biggest fan of his music, though he had a few songs that I really loved. As a kid my dad always gave me grief for listening to him, haha.

I never gave much stock to him being a person of faith, apart from the rough image he portrayed. Hell, I wasn’t even a Christian at the time that he first mentioned it publicly.

I also didn’t know that he wrestled with addiction, drug addiction at that. In my own faith journey, I realize that every one of us has things that we battle with every day. Be it pride, food, praise from others and the like.

And yet , the responses of some Christians truly shock me. Coming off as though they never wrestled against anything bigger than themselves.

Yes we need to be doing everything we can to make war against sin that so easily entangles. But to speak as though you are righteous in yourself is not the heart of God.

I think so Christians either don’t know or have forgotten that, when Christ was on the cross. He became the propitiation for our sins. Meaning that he took on the filth of our sin that we deserve on himself. And in exchange gave us his righteousness so that when the father looks at us. He sees the perfect and beautiful image of his son Jesus.

And dare I say that any of us will make to the presence of Christ 100% perfect. It’s because of his finished work and presence of the spirit that carries us home that final day. Not our own works. Let us make every effort, not to look on others with self-righteous eyes.

Removing The Mask on The Christian Life.

For the last few years of my life, I have found myself increasingly frustrated with both myself and Christians in general. I’ve attempted to sit down and write out my thoughts in the form of a new manuscript, but nothing seems to be coming to completion. At best I am a complete paradox, to say the least. I’m packed with joy and various sorrows, I’m happy and angry at the same time, I want to laugh and scream all in the same breath.

I have never been that steady Christian that always seems to be happy and with no real pressing issues or things that bother them. If such a Christian even exists. I’m frustrated with myself that I have such a hard time forgiving others. Rather, I keep a record of wrongs and hold onto grudges. I’ve never been that Christian or person who can only forgive and forget. Though, other believers would suggest that I need to move on as though nothing happened.

I long to follow Christ with all that I am, yet I still become increasingly entangled in my sin. The everyday Protestant Christian would say “well you’re are not fighting back against your sin hard enough.” And there right, but my sin still feels good.  Atheists can call me a hypocrite all they want, but they have struggles and flaws too, I’m just not afraid to admit my own. Nor are they under as big of a microscope as Christians are.

Go ahead and call me a freak for believing in God, go ahead and make fun of me for believing in something that I have yet to see with my own eyes. In the end, I’d rather be wrong about the existence of God then only living for myself and my own passions.

But I regress… The fact is, I know that myself and the body of Christ as a whole are hypocrites. I believe that should be all the more the reason to place our faith in the Lord Jesus. For he came to call upon people who were sick and knew it deep down inside their souls. Not for those who believed that they were without flaw or blemish.

The church, though it is full of broken, sick and twisted people. Is capable of bringing about the most change in this world. Not only are we be able to bring a healthy balance of

social justice in the world, but also we would be doing so with the love, truth and mercy of God. Which is what this world so desperately needs. While this all sounds well a good, this generation of believers must come outside the four walls of our church buildings and engage the society around us.

We must put down our cell phones and notice the lonely and hurting people around us. Furthermore, we must develop a good sense of people skills.   At least in the Christian community that I am currently, people skills seem to be few, far and between. Everyone appears to be so caught up in their worlds. Myself included.

In my estimation, this should not be the reality of the church. At the heart of the matter, the church can and should be a reflection of Christ. But again, in my estimation we are not, in fact, we are far from it. Or maybe it’s only me that is far from the mark. Regardless, I long for revival to happen among Christians and even our country.  The fact of the matter is that there is no secret formulate to obtain such results is to (as Christians) is to seek God actively in faith and repentance.

Then, we must actively seek one another in a community and learn the art of vulnerability. Far too often it appears as though we Christians smile and act as though everything seemingly perfect and in it’s right place. But I think that for many of us (Christian and not) that life is extremely messy, even if someone of us are not good or willing to admit it.

When it comes to great examples of what vulnerability in the church should look like, the example that I go to is recovery movements. A place of utter honesty and transparency, a place where people let down their facades and find community and the possibility of healing. I’m in no way saying that recovery movements are perfect, for nothing in this world is.  But they are a starting block that Christians and all people can glean from.

Vulnerability is something that I strongly feel (is still) lacking from the Christian life. I know that people don’t enjoy being open with others, but it is how we experience both growth and healing. With God and others. The truth is, (I believe) is that we are scared, to be honest about our pain and what plagues us. I am always going back to the story of Adam and Eve, the fact that when they sinned, instead of running to God and seeking forgiveness they covered up.

The funny thing is we do the same, rather then being open and honest with one another. We hide. And for different reasons, one reason might be that we feel we have to have it all together and can’t show who we really are and where we are at in life. Another reason might be that we are afraid that if people see who we really are they might run away. Let me submit to you that, if people ran away after seeing who you really are then they never really loved you in the first place.

Regardless of what our reason is, we must learn to rake the mask of that we some comfortable wear and stand bare before others.

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Confronting The Double Standard

 

I can’t pin point the exact time anxiety came into my life; all I can tell you is that it has been in my life for quite some time. From little to severe. Little, as in the nagging feeling inside you that every one is upset with you and it would be better for you not to be apart of human existence. Or on the extreme side of things when your chest becomes tight, your breath becomes short and have a hard time controlling the speed your mind races at. Living with anxiety has seemed like an impossible puzzle in my life. Things seem hopeless when nothing seems to work, right? Even sitting in front of a professional counselor can see like a waste of time. Worse yet, when living with anxiety we can throw depression into the mix. And the both seem to work off each other in strange ways.

At this rate, it seems easier to start digging your grave and laying in it, right? I’m not so sure, you see as much as I am flooded with suicidal thoughts, I don’t actually want to die. I’m actually just scared and don’t feel like there are any solutions to the problems at hand. I think others are like that too, were all scared and afraid to admit that life is spinning out of control. I’ll admit that here and now, I’ll admit that the future scares me and that I want nothing more then to hide from society. But maybe it’s those of us that want to hide that the world needs most. After all the most amazing lessons in life can come from those who we least expect.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think what we need are more suicides, or people living in silence because they live with anxiety, depression or any other form of mental illness. What we first need is the courage to confess that these forms of suffering have had their ways with us for long enough. What we need is for people to actually listen, what we need is for people to jump to conclusions but to seek understanding. I believe were all looking for answers as to why mental illness in any capacity exists and how we can eradicate it from our lives. Some on the endless pages of the internet claimed that they have, whether that is true or not is beyond my knowledge. There’re even those in Christian communities that claim that God healed them of whatever mental illness they were faced with in their lives, whether that is true or not is not for me to know. As a Christian, devoted to following Christ. I do believe that Jesus healed on the pages of the new testament. I even believe that he still heals today, it might just not look the same as it does in various media outlets or conferences. Being a Christian and living with anxiety can sometimes seem counter productive, aren’t Christian’s meant to be the most joyful people alive? Well, that really depends one how one looks at joy. If you presume, that joy is always someone smiling and jumping for joy, I don’t believe that is the fullest reality.

Joy does not always have to have outward expressions; joy can sometimes be a quiet radiance. A knowing that a king knows your pain, that you are loved, forgiven and that the greatest reality is yet to come. As a Christian living with anxiety, I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter how I feel about myself on any given day, it doesn’t change the fact that I am loved and that nothing can separate me from the father’s love (verse here). It’s also tempting as a Christian living with anxiety, to try harder and do more. In order for God to love me. It’s interesting to me how the most well meaning pastors say “if you just made Jesus the center of your life, then you wouldn’t be anxious.” That sounds well and good, but we don’t say that to people who are diagnosed with cancer. In fact that would be a slap in the face, because there are many devout believers that have faced the grim reality of cancer, only to be swallowed up by it. Yet they did not seize in living a life of prayer and various spiritual disciplines.

See the double standard here? We cannot allow it to exist any longer without calling it for what it is. Bullshit.