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The Realm of Maximum Impact


Genesis 1:1, according to my translation of the Masoretic text of the Jewish Bible (Old Testament), states "In a beginning when God created the heavens and the earth..."  From there it goes on to describe one of two creation stories.  The usage of the indefinite article "a" instead of the definite article "the" prior to the word "beginning" is a change from most English translations of the text and also our understanding of its meaning.  This interpretation of the Hebrew writings asserts a view of many beginnings, many creations, but one God.  It speaks of an all powerful God who is well beyond definition.
Throughout my spiritual journey in life, I have experienced many beginnings and many times I became a new creature in Jesus Christ.  Those beginnings have come in several forms: Baptism into my faith; Communion with all believers; confirmation of my faith as an adolescent; the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, journaling, and meditation; and my worship as a creature of the Creator and a steward of creation.  These means of grace, as John Wesley would describe them, act as reminders that we are constantly in relationship with God in many ways. The means of grace made me and continue to make me anew as I fight against racism, sexism, ignorance, greed, intolerance, genocide, the devastation of our ecology, foolish pride, and all other forms of sin.
As an African American Christian minister, the context from which I view all things religious, spiritual, and theological differ from many views.  The road I have travelled has resulted in my viewing all things from a pluralistic perspective.  My social context is suspicious of views intolerant of people who are different than mainstream and conservative evangelical views of Christianity in a "modern/post-modern" context.
Don't get it twisted - I am an evangelist who is unashamedly African American and unapologetically Christian.  I have a high Christology.  Nevertheless, I assert a challenge that everything considered by societal norms to be Christian may not be so.  Unlike societal norms of today, the gospels of the New Testament from varying social contexts remind us that Jesus accepted everyone although he did not affirm the practices of everyone.  Going back to the creation story mentioned above, all of creation, including humanity, was good. This is what Jesus saw in everyone.
In this blog, I wish to dialogue with any and everyone who wants to go a little deeper than Sunday school, Sunday sermons, and weekday Bible Studies.  I want to take it to The Realm of Maximum Impact.  This level is like no other. It is not the road of popular religion. It is a road of humbleness and humility. It is the road least travelled.
In the film, The Matrix, the protagonist, Neo, had a choice of one of two pills to take. The blue pill, would allow for him to awaken to his everyday mundane existence. The red pill would take him to another level of existence. In this paradox of religious matrices, we have a free will to consider either the blue pill that will keep our Christianity at an elementary, intolerant level or the red pill that will take us to a place where homogenized Christians dare not travel.
There is a prophetic disclaimer.  The result of the blue pill will be the status quo.  The Christian faith will continue to decline around the world at alarming rates per the Pew Reports while humanity, with all of its great accomplishments, will continue to spiral toward animality.  Million dollar theatrical edifices and Cessna Citation Jets will continue to be used for the work of ministry on the backs of those who cannot afford rent, medication, or food. A god that provides financial rewards to the faithful few for a fee will continue to be worshipped as The Least and The Last of These continue to suffer.
The result of the red pill, however, will be an adventure like no other.  With the red pill, we might taste and see the goodness of God.  We might see the image of God in others, even those who profess other faiths or no faith at all.  We might appreciate and care for God's creation.  We might be convicted that God wants us to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.
Even amidst the trials and tribulations we face, we might just want to share the love shown to us by the one God, who, through means of grace and new beginnings, provides blessings from our cradles to our graves with the promise of an everlasting life.  We might get anointed to bring good news to the poor. Those who are captive might actually be released. The blind might regain their sight. The oppressed might go free. The lion might lay down with the lamb. We might even realize heaven on earth.
What about it?  Which pill will you choose?