Guest in the backyard: Jarrod McKenna
Hamo has bravely invited me to hijack his blog occasionally with provocations of love, questions of grace and rants of a recovering sinner seeking to relate to myself, my neighbour, my enemy and all of creation with the love I’ve experienced in Jesus… needless to say it’s a work in progress. But I’m praying that the waters of God’s healing love that have gushed into the world through Jesus might start to dribble through the broken cracks of my life.
I’m aware that to many my life might seem a little, well.. strange.
An evangelist who is given a peace award? An activist serious about intercessory prayer? A preacher whose artwork gets talked about on Triple J? …strange.
So I’m hoping to invite you to the strange places and with the strange people where I’ve started to wade in the waters of the new creation, the places where I’ve met Christ and it’s messed me up.
Be it in a ghetto in America, a slum in Cambodia, the wonder of the outback, the witness and writings of the early church, with those without a home on the streets of London, Paris or Perth, the internal protests of scrubbing pots in a soup kitchen, the external sounds of worship sung in front of riot cops, detention centres for the innocent, maximum security prisons with the guilty, in the smile of a child with a intellectual disability, the hand of the elderly, the face of a murderer, the fist of a cop, the reality of my own sin, the feeling of God’s good earth between your toes in the morning, warm tears of a heart longing for real change, warm tea with a neighbour, the joy of a good dumper scavenge, the laughter of local kids learning their skin is not a curse, the sweet sound of earnest praise accompanied only by creation, prayers of an indigenous elder for the drug dealers in our neighbourhood and the other more ordinary ways that God’s love gets at us. Messes with us. And empowers us to live a little more like Jesus, a little more like the world will be when God’s love finally floods all of creation.
What I hope these post will NOT be:
1. a ‘how to’
The only book our community and I feel qualified to write is ‘now not to’. I’m too young to know anything and too old not to take responsibility for putting the little I know into action.
2. a Church bashing session
If church is not a building but God’s people, and by grace I’m a child of God, then beating the church up is a twisted sadomasochistic self beat up trip projected onto a community that’s always “them” and not “us”. It’s to easier to distance ourselves and set ourselves up as the Church of the “this-time-we’ve-finally-got-it-right-fellowship” and project onto others all that needs transformation in ourselves. which leads into…
Playing the Pharisee in the temple might have the short term pleasure of being ‘right’ but I don’t think it ever has the long term affects that taking the log out of our own eye has. Besides who wants to hangout with a self-righteous wanker? Whether its Bin Laden or George Bush, Mega-church or Emerging Church it’s easier to create scapegoats than it is to experience the the blessings of weeping over ourselves, our church, our neighbourhood and our world’s need for change. Talk is cheap (unless your paying someone to do it then it can cost a bit) scapegoats are even cheaper but critiquing bad by joyfully living the better I think is priceless.
So if you hear me projecting instead of confessing or any of the above it’s probably a good sign I need some prayer, a hug, and to be lovingly corrected (that’s an invite). If I go there, feel free to slap me round a bit (nonviolently in truth and love of course).
Did I leave anything out? Any questions? I might post at a later date “reasons why you shouldn’t listen to me”, there are a few. In the mean time I’d like to intro you to some heros of mine.