(It is best to point out that I will not do the title justice just now, but one has to start somewhere.)
One corner of the living room. A rather long, strange-looking purple chair (those of you who’ve been to my house need no further description). To the right, variously strewn across the floor and the nearby furniture: my Bible, my “commonplace” notebook, stack of random Christian books, writing utensils, cell phone, a bottle of clear nail polish, a glass of water, and somewhere amid a flowery blanket and a pile of scrunched tissues–me.
But I won’t bemoan my ailment any longer. For you see, among the books in my pile of books, were “The Bravehearted Gospel” by Eric Ludy, and “The Art and Science of Finishing Last” by Jakeb Brasee. Jakeb Brasee’s book is probably less familiar to most of you, and I should first and foremost admit that it is written for guys. (Okay, and it’s not one of “those” books, in case you were wondering.) Actually, it’s about restoring the role of Christian brotherly love and servitude, and how to be stealthily useful–without being a creep. 😀 He refers to being a “ninja gentleman”, or a “shadow gentleman” (as in, one who loves and serves without receiving credit for oneself) and honestly doing it for God. I haven’t finished reading it, so I won’t give my full recommendation yet, but if you check out his website (http://ninjagentlemen.com/) you can preview for yourself some of the main points in his book. He is a bit of a dork, actually, but his main points are pretty good. And if you must know, from one ninja to another, the reason I am reading it is because a lot of the themes he covers are ones that can also apply to how girls treat their Christian brothers. Aha…so my stealth skills need some improvement. 😉
Well anyhow, I’m about a third of the way through that book.
The other book I was reading, amid my pile of tissues, was by Eric Ludy…and wow, it’s intense. I’d purchased the book earlier last summer but never got around to reading it, shame on me. I wish I had! “The Bravehearted Gospel” is essentially a wakeup call to bold, courageous, undying allegiance to Jesus Christ. He writes, in an admitted awkwardness, how we have “castrated” Christianity; how we have traded the power, the potency and sheer force of the Gospel, for a non-offensive, feeling-oriented, self-saturated, mushy lump of religion. (A realization which, I believe, should alone cause us to fall to our knees and cry out, “Father, what have we become?!”)
Continuing on, he also writes about how our society has rejected the true form of masculinity. (I won’t say we have “lost” it, because I know examples of “real men” who live as such.) We have maintained this notion that, when it comes to relationships, men want to fix things and women want to be listened to and understood…and we have carried this over into other aspects of life, too. I mean, yes, there are times people just need to vent–and that’s okay–but we’ve created this new mentality of “not fixing” what needs to be fixed, and not fighting for what needs to be changed.
I’m similarly concluding that femininity has also suffered from this, because it thrusts women into the strong, leader-like positions, leaving the guys no choice but to follow. Now, this is not to say that women should be helpless, squeaky wimps–heaven forbid! Rather, a woman’s valor and noble-ness and courage should be evident, complementing and inspiring the alpha-leader in a guy. “Strong” and “submission” are not synonymous concepts in today’s society…but then, most of God’s ways are not synonymous with this culture.
After all, it’s God’s strength that allows us to be more than we could aspire–and for His glory, not ours. Our weakness allows His strength to pour through and give Him the credit, which is how it should be.
So in conclusion, my mind has been re-stimulated with the recognition that I cannot continue to be a lazy, wimpy (for lack of a better word) Christian who is far too concerned with self-interest and accolades. It’s about Him, not about me, and I would be wise to apply that to not only my thinking, but to my actions.
Souls aren’t saved by nice people with good intentions.
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As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit–
Just as you were called to one hope when you were called–
one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
– Ephesians 4:1-6