Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Not As The World Gives"?

Jesus said, "Peace I give unto you, My own peace I leave with you, not as the world gives do I give unto you."

What is the peace that the world gives, and how is it different from Jesus' peace?

For one thing, in the world's system, you are allowed to be peaceful only to the extent that you are "right." You have to be not merely vigilant, then, but hypervigilant, and not merely competent, but hypercompetent, because you're more or less on your own.

And as well as having at all times the right opinions, mindset, knowledge, and understanding, you yourself must be right, as defined by the culture that surrounds you. In the memoir Operating Instructions, writer Anne Lamott quotes her friend the priest Tom Weston on the five rules of being alive in America:

"The first rule is that you must not have anything wrong with you or anything different. The second rule is that if you do have something wrong with you, you must get over it as soon as possible. The third rule is that if you can't get over it, you must pretend you have. The fourth rule is that if you can't even pretend, you shouldn't show up. You should stay home, because it's hard for everyone else to have you around. And the fifth rule is that if you are going to insist on showing up, you should at least have the decency to feel ashamed....I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed."

By contrast, I think of Paul's description of the Christian community in Corinth:

"Brothers and Sisters think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many of you were influential; not many of you were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

No comments: