Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Jesus Circus

words and music by Sean Taylor
(from my time with the band 22FIVE)

Sunday morning USA
We kick things off in the usual way
Dress it up or tone it down
To prove we've got the biggest show in town
We don't need a Shepherd
When a ringmaster will do
'Cause being clowns and acrobats
Beats dying to ourselves for you

Come to the Jesus circus
Have we got a show for you
Come to the Jesus circus
And dig the tricks we do
Here at the Jesus circus
We'll bring out the dancing bears
Here at the Jesus circus
We hope the Lord won't care

Sunday set up, here we go
Time for the Holy Ghost magic show
Watch as we jump through hoops
It's easier than living the truth
We make a bunch of clanging noise
But man we have some high tech toys
We like to say we know the King
But miss the reality of the thing

Come to the Jesus circus
Have we got a show for you
Come to the Jesus circus
And dig the tricks we do
Here at the Jesus circus
We'll bring out the dancing bears
Here at the Jesus circus
We hope the Lord won't care

Sunday morning USA
Let's kick it off in a brand new way
Let's really get to know the King
Live the reality of the thing

We may be a Jesus circus
With a long, long way to go
But here with the Lord’s anointing
We’ll move beyond the show
No longer a Jesus Circus
We’ll pack up the dancing bears
And live like the Lord’s own children
And seek His will in prayer

It really is shocking to me how often we Christ-followers miss the main idea of church -- we can have a relationship with God and he loves us enough to interact with us no matter how undeserving we are. We tend to do all we can to turn it from something that God does with us to something that we do for God, or sometimes, something we do to others to show how 'Christian' we are. We are creatures of 'things' and 'actions' and as such we're far more comfortable with doing stuff than being something new. That's why I think we condense our faith into things to do or not do and rituals (every church has them, even the churches who market themselves are being contemporary and unchurchy) instead of really focusing on loving on God and being loved by him and sharing that love with others as we seek to follow his ways.

For me, this has to be one of the most frustrating things about the church as I've always known it, this dividing people up into clergy (or even professional denominational workers) and laity (or "consumers"), and then expecting each to meet different models of "behavior" instead of realizing that they're all the same.

As my pastor and I were talking the other day we both brought up the point that the church model we use today isn't based even loosely on the New Testament. It comes from Constantine. It comes not from a fellowship of like-minded believers hanging onto their faith in a time of persecution. It comes from the politically powerful, suddenly safe, no longer under siege, watchdogs of morality that became institutionalized.

That's why I think Christianity is growing so quickly in other countries and is so insanely stale here in a so-called Christian nation. Because it hasn't been turned into an institution. It's still just people. If you want to kill the spread of Christianity, give it power and structure and the authority to enforce something (morality), not just dispense something (grace).

Every Sunday for a year I have run away from home and joined the circus as a dancing bear. We dancing bears have dressed ourselves in buttoned clothes; we mince around the rings on two feet. Today we were restless; we kept dropping ont our forepaws... A high school stage play is more polished than this service we have been rehearsing since the year one. In two thousand years, we have not worked out the kinks...week after week, we witness the same miracle: that God is so mighty he can stifle his own laughter. Week after week, that God, for reasons untathomable, refrains from blowing our dancing bear act to smithereens. Week after week Christ washes the disciples' dirty feet, handles their very toes, and repeats, It is all right--believe it or not--to be people. Who can believe it?"
           -- Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone To Talk

Going through the motions doesn't please you,
      a flawless performance is nothing to you.
   I learned God-worship
      when my pride was shattered.
   Heart-shattered lives ready for love
      don't for a moment escape God's notice.
(Psalm 51:16-17, The Message)

"In this dichotomy you have the essence of our religion
— Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise — in a nutshell:
the clergy are paid to give and the 'laymen'
pay in order to receive."
from Christian Counter Culture online

Okay, rant over.

No comments:

Post a Comment