People are cities.
Good and bad sections, yes. We ship/receive from others—we choose how much of their internal resources and energy will be devoted to the areas we want.
I choose what I’m about, what imports and exports I’ll allow and produce.
What does a city look like when negativity, the news cycle, and whatever else gets to roam free in it with no accountability?
I’d bet it looks like the average person I meet. Convenienced but anxious. The billboards reflect a culture that isn’t excited about the future. There are idols throughout, devoted to good things distorted and contaminated until they’re no longer good. Water supplies next to sewage plants. Priorities out of place.
Trojan horses have caused enough tragedies that I’ve taken a cue from one political leader and sworn off any/all horses entirely—lies dressed as truth had all but convinced me to hate the truth itself. No good deed goes unpunished and even kind thoughts are met with cynicism.
My initiatives to protect myself this way do just the opposite—the worst attacks come not at the hands of “immigrants,” but those city projects I myself have planned.
Oh, but the hope of being a Christian.
A city that’s bonded itself to Jesus Christ. The transition can take months or decades, but it immediately considers a reconstruction of everything. In other words, moving around here will take time, especially when dozens and dozens of thoughts from wherever take up valuable space.
The highway of my stream-of-consciousness would be relaxed, but the taxi cabs of social media and news and all of your opinions (as well as I can predict them) and shows and information—good or bad—clog everything up.
Thankfully, for the Christian, there’s a church somewhere in this city.
Sadly, for the average Christian, that’s where the construction starts and ends.
So the city goes on operating just as it did before, except with one or more parking lots being filled up once a week—a generous initiative here or there. Collaborations take place as well, but their intended ends are never reached due to their confused means.
Altruism? Helping others? The church liked the idea enough to open its doors, but the companies in this city that hoped to serve as sponsors clogged up the streets again—
I know I’m being almost entirely metaphorical here, so let’s take a break from the image I’m trying to paint in your mind and reflect on what this could look like…
It could look like what it’s looked like in my life—hoping to become Jesus’ pimp so his tricks (miracles, messages, etc.) will garner me the attention/currency/delight I’m really after. Setting aside countless hours of prayer so Jesus may entrust his power and kingdom to me so I can do with it what I like.
It could look like building an influential empire of your own in the name of “serving God’s kingdom.”
I harp on this almost all the time because the things about which I was warned every day throughout my childhood—drugs, alcohol and promiscuity—have just about left me alone while these putrid motives wreak havoc until I can’t tell the difference between loving Jesus and selling my gifts for your attention.
I’m funny, yes, so how can I make you laugh until you think you want me around more often?
I’m good at speaking, yes, so how can I convince you to listen to me more often?
I’m good at writing, yes, so how can I convince you to read more of me until I’m someone of notoriety?
It’s all aimed at getting someone else to vindicate/validate/appreciate/spread the word about me.
Until, of course, more construction is finally permitted—and everything in this city, from it’s inhabitants to the water lines beneath the surface to the bodies of water, are evacuated, destroyed and drained.
It used to look like a city—or a young man who shows enough promise to be trusted with scholarships and attention and microphones and money and even, “Hey! You should really meet my daughter.”
But after God has his way; his actual, all-consuming way, this place looks like a desert. Everybody moved out. Stadiums torn down. No one’s going to any events here. You won’t need this hotel, no one’s visiting.
Nothing left standing except that church—and in time, even that is torn down.
“It’s too small. And I’d rather put a garden there.”
“Why couldn’t you put the garden somewhere else so you wouldn’t have to tear this//my entire view of you and who you are//down?”
“There wasn’t any room at the time. Now, there is.”
“Yeah, you made sure of that.”
Of course, what’s happening now is God keeping his promise from Hebrews 12—
“Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also…until only what’s unshakable will remain.”
He seems to show up and ruin everything.
//a grand opening dedicated to him was quickly and almost mistakenly evacuated before he tore your life and your view of him to pieces over and over again until the remnants were only visible on a molecular, post-human level//
“Since we are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.”
He sure is.