Monday, September 12, 2016

Autonomy

My husband and I went to see the movie Ben Hur and I found myself envying Jesus. I asked myself why because hiding under envy is always a longing for something we need. Of course the object we envy is often just a symbol of the need. "I wish I could sing like Jayna Brown," may just be the need to know we have something special to offer the world. But back to Jesus.

Jesus' appearances in the movie were short, but rung true to what I've read and it was jaw-dropping. Director,Timur Bekmambetov and actor Rodrigo Santoro did an incredible job portraying Jesus' ability to remain autonomous. He didn't bow to or fear anyone, but there wasn't trace of rebellion in him either. Actually, an inordinate amount of submission and service surrounded him. It was otherworldly...kingdom of heaven kind of stuff. 

What would it be like to be unafraid of people and their opinions? To be beholden to no one? It's initially unnerving when you read how very free he was. It seems unnatural to shrug off the authority of one's church, one's culture, the scary Romans, and even one's family. He moved in and out of these groups, but never belonged to them by accepting an obligation to behave a certain way. 

He felt free to break any rules necessary to do what was right. If he lived now, he'd be written off for talking to Muslims, getting lunch with a crooked business woman, ignoring popular ways to keep Sabbath, and forgiving a cheating husband. He thought for himself, wouldn’t be quiet about injustices and never overlooked the lesbians, the bisexuals, the transgenders, the gays, the queers, the questioning, the homeless, the bald cancer patient, the hippies, the hipsters, the women or the kids. 

I want that. I long to move that freely, to be true everywhere I go. Sometimes I feel like a radio. People can turn the dial til they find the station they want and that’s what I’ll be. I’ve always had a deep sense of who I am, but placing too much value on keeping everyone else comfortable has felt like I should play to the crowd, at least a little. Meanwhile, I chose them over me so many times I'll never know my own value. I can preach it all day long, but if I never practice it, I'll never believe it.

So I envy Jesus, which means I long for his freedom. I long for the truth I believe to be the same colors no matter who I'm telling it to. So how did he do it?! It's so freakin' hard for us.

Be true to yourself, unless you're sitting next to that person. Then just keep quiet. 

Let yourself look like you might agree. 

It's not polite to disagree. 

Jesus' freedom came from only answering to one boss, his father. That was the opinion that mattered. So all the fickle people (including himself, I'm sure, sometimes) could just say what they required and he could stay off their mad roller coaster. Some of them were startled when he wasn't intimidated, but he just kept on. His mantra may have been, I work for God, I work for God. Being misunderstood and judged still hurt, but it didn't play into his decision making. I can't imagine how much simpler and quieter things would be without trying to please everyone.

Jesus said we can’t serve two masters. Or five or a thousand. He challenged us to choose. He wanted our insides to quiet down and he wanted our hearts to stop hustling and relax. 

You don't have to make everybody happy. 

Just follow me.

Um, okay.



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