There are two incredible sci-fi events that every human experiences and yet no one remembers. Even more curiously, the majority of us fill our lifetimes with a myriad of activities designed to either help us make sense of these two events or help us ignore them altogether. Regardless of the tactic of choice, everyone considers them “normal.” Birth and death. From the start we are book-ended between two things we won’t remember and the two very things that will define our way of living.
Religions, philosophies, science have all tried to grasp existence. Evolution, the afterlife, the cosmos, biology, the human psyche, quantum physics – infinite questions and curiosities that all, at their core, are attempting to make sense of these two remarkably insane moments. I am in no way attempting to offer any insight into either of these. I can’t convince you one way or another as to what comes before or after these moments, though I do have my beliefs on the matter. You most likely have your own religious beliefs, philosophies, or opinions fairly ingrained at this point. And if you don’t, that is completely understandable. Because if you pause to acknowledge the incomprehensibility of birth and death, you will suddenly see past the baby showers and funerals to acknowledge the absurdity of these two sci-fi events. And there is nothing “normal” about them. A human literally emerges from another human and later decomposes into some mystery. We slowly time travel from one event to the other–taking with us the “in-between.” And that is what I want to briefly touch on – the “in-between.”
As I have mentioned previously in the post “The Mystery of God,” we are not comfortable with mystery. And yet that is what we have been handed–a life that begins and ends with the incomprehensible. For creatures that are wrapped in this incomprehensibility, we sure do our best to climb into boxes and confine ourselves within borders of willful ignorance or compromise. This in turn prevents us from becoming more human as we neglect that piece of the divine within us that needs to live in that mystery. That place that needs fellowship with God. Intertwined with the here and now. Why do we make the “in-between” unworthy of the divine?
Speaking from my personal experience in the United States within Christianity (especially evangelical circles), the majority of followers of the Christ have succumbed to a dualistic mindset that sees the spiritual and the physical as separate worlds. It is not necessarily our fault since it has been propagated intensely since the Enlightenment of the 18th century. God is “up there” and we are here. However the scriptures teach that we are temples. And temples are where heaven and earth meet. We can easily agree with that statement, but to actually believe it means living in both the physical and spiritual worlds which would require each moment, each choice, to be intertwined. Inconvenient to say the least. Not living as temples intertwined with heaven has resulted in living “belief-light.” Incorporating just enough to fill the societal requirements. Incorporating just enough to feel good about ourselves. Incorporating just enough to make sure we are “in.” Incorporating just enough to make sure we are sincere in our activities with church. Just enough to not be inconvenienced. This survival mode of making sure we don’t lose ourselves in the mystery has resulted in us leaving the divine out of our everyday tasks.
Churches say they embrace what Jesus taught about living a lifestyle of helping the poor, taking care of the widows and orphans, dying to self, being transformed into the image of Christ, etc…, but this dualistic mindset has lead us into twisted practices and beliefs in the church as we attempt to mold the church into our “normal” world.
Why do we engage in just a few serving events a year instead of making it a lifestyle of service?
Why do we try to make church relevant, attractive, or popular when it is supposed to be life-changing, counter cultural, and dangerous?
Why have we turned “sharing the message of Christ” into just “inviting someone to church?”
Why have we allowed “pastors” to make millions of dollars on the back of the Gospel while there are poor and needy in their very congregation.
We take the “in-between” and make it and ourselves unworthy of the two sci-fi events that contain us. We are more than this. We are better than this. We must decide to live as temples because that is what we are. God created us to live here in fellowship with Him. Living otherwise is not living as a true human, but something else altogether. The church becomes something else. And people die without hope. People suffer without help. All because we don’t want our “normal” world of the “in-between” to be too inconvenienced. Accept that you live in a sci-fi film and do not let yourself climb into the box of “belief-light.” I, for one, do not want to die in a box.