Smashing TraditionMonday, October 1, 2012
Lately, I've been noticing a new generation of young people rising up. It's a group of people that don't look like the 'traditional' Christian. They don't all look the same, but a great many of them have the same uniform: ripped up jeans (or skinny jeans), beanies on messy hair, tats, piercings, and TOMS. I mean, there's some give and take to this 'uniform'...but it's the basic make-up of a good many of them. Some of these kids/ adults might even be more 'traditional' in their appearance, but one thing unites them: They're tired of a religion that's stagnant. They are Abrams. I am an Abram.
If you grew up in church, you know the children's church song 'Father Abraham'. Oh, come on, you know..."Father Abraham, had many sons. And many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them. And so are you. So let's just praise the Lord!" ((I know you just sang it in your head...half tempted to get your right arm going as you march in place.))
Here's something you might not know about Abraham: He was tired of stagnant religion too, tired of nothing real or effective. His father was an idol merchant (according to Jewish tradition). Imagine being a kid and helping your dad run his store as people come in and out, buying little gods made of gold, bronze, wood and other inanimate materials. People valued these trinkets lining the shop walls; they handled them with the utmost care. But Abram wasn't convinced. All he saw was wood and gold and bronze. He didn't see the breath of life in the idols. They were not capable of creating the world he lived in; a world abundant in life. Maybe he heard stories of a one, true God? Maybe he simply heard the whispers of the Lord deep down in his bones? Who knows. But either way, he knew his dad had it all wrong. He realized there was only One.
It isn't easy to go against the flow. It isn't easy to stand against tradition and say, "Hey! Nothing real is happening here. I don't want any part of it. I want to follow something, someone, that has life!" Abram's father certainly wasn't listening to his son. In fact, one day when his father went out, Abram took a hammer to his father's store, smashing all the idols. Then, keeping the largest idol in tact, he placed the hammer in it's hand. When his father returned, he asked what had happened, clearly furious and shocked by the destruction. Young Abram calmly stated, "While you were gone, the idols got in a fight and the big one smashed all the other ones."
((Just take a second to picture how ridiculous his father must look right about now.))
"Don't be stupid," his father would have said, although probably in whatever lingo was hip in the city of Ur at that time. "These idols have no life in them! They can't do anything!"
It must have been hard for Abram not to shout, "EXACTLY!" Instead, he asked, "Then why worship them?"
In my world, I see God sitting on a shelf all over the country. He isn't doing anything. It's not His fault. I think it's our fault. We are shelving Him in our churches and our lives. Maybe we are afraid of what He will do, how He will 'upset' our lives if we let Him off the shelf...allow Him to truly be God?
But then there's this generation of Abrams rising up. They're tired of everything. They reach down and pick up hammers in angry fists. They are ready to bust up everything we are allowing to replace the effective power of God in our word, churches, families and lives. They shout, "Why worship Him at all if You won't let Him truly reign?"
Because here is the thing...
If God was truly off the shelf, this place would look a heck of a lot different. Church would look different. You would look different. Our country and world would look different. There would be true life and power. There would be revival. There would be a whole lot of love cycling from church to church, from people to people. Open your eyes and look around; there's a whole lot of hate, drama, hurting hearts, broken people, social groups abusing other groups...
There's nothing real happening.
There's no real life...
No real worship.
It's there somewhere. But it's not shining bright. There's still too many people shelving God in their lives and hearts, churches and cities.
So watch out. There's a new generation of Abrams. They don't like tradition. In fact, many of them despise tradition. They want something new. They want to see God lifted up in such a time as this (which will not look like it did in the PAST). They're tired. They can't be fooled. They refuse to allow something counterfiet to replace truth. They want scripture that COMES from scripture. They don't want comfort. They're not afraid of storms and bruises. They want something real.
Why does any of this even matter? Because He loves us too much not to bring an army of Abrams to life. There's too many people in bondage; mummified in brokenness. God's love is too valuable to pack away, especially when He COMMANDED us to love Him and then love others.
I'll gladly lead the way with hammers in fists. Because there's no more time to waste. I'm over tradition. I'm ready for His love to shine through me and set the captives free. And maybe...just maybe...set the church free.