Repenting

I have been thinking a lot lately about Derek Webb‘s song Repent.

I’ll quote it at the end of this, but I just want to say it’s been really challenging for me. I know, that to some of you who know me, this may seem odd. I don’t believe in a lot of things that Webb is repenting of. God knows, I don’t want the white picket fence in suburbia. I don’t usually trade truth for unity. But in some ways I’ve realized that doing differently, doing the opposite, is just as wrong.

I had a boy say to me recently that I like to do things because they are different. Well, that’s no surprise. My mum has said that for years. I should’ve listened, but since when do children listen to their parents? Especially during a second adolescence? Bah. But this boy, he sat across the table from me at Garbanzo’s as I shoveled falafel in my mouth and nearly caused me to choke as he said it so simply. “I have this impression that you just like being different.”

Have I made an idol of my differences? Have I become obsessed with how I see God, rather than how God sees himself?

Webb talks about domesticating God into our own image. Molly read to us last week from The Barbarian Way that the safest place is in God’s will and that may not be what we deem safe. Have I turned God into one who pulls me out of America which is the place that terrifies me most of all? Have I made a saviour of him only in so far as he does what I need and sends me to danger and adventure?

Of course, I think I do genuinely have a heart for these places. And I’ll be the first to say that Pak scared me a lot. A lot. But perhaps, maybe the challenge for me is in repenting of who I wanted to be: different and exciting; and realize that God calls me to serve him and his glory, not mine.

I thought of it on the way to work this morning, tired and bored and loathing the job to which I went because it is the same monotonous work each day. I thought of how I’d rather be in school, or teaching, or dodging bullets and binding wounds in another country. I know this is messed up. I know, as Davis always said, I have a martyr’s syndrome. It’s just, on the winding road that wraps around the mall where I work, I’m so bored. There’s no challenge here.

But then, I did spend Friday night at a party with friends who hug me and love me and want to be with me–and though they don’t know it–it’s because they see Jesus in me. It isn’t me that draws them in, because I”m not much. I was given the chance to love on one of my workers this weekend in the church nursery I run, and that is such a good thing.

Maybe, most of all, I should repent of thinking so little of Americans.

After all, they have worth too…oddly enough.

I repent of my pursuit of America’s dream
I repent of living like i deserve anything
My house, my fence, my kids, and my wife
In our suburb where we’re safe and white
I am wrong and of these things i repent

I repent of parading my liberty
I repent of paying for what I get for free
The way I believe that I am living right
By trading sins for others that are easier to hide
I am wrong and of these things I repent

I repent judging by a law that even I can’t keep
Wearing righteousness like a disguise to see through
The planks in my own eyes

I repent of trading truth for false unity
I repent of confusing peace and idolatry
Of caring more of what they think than what I know of what they need
And domesticating You until You look just like me
I am wrong and of these things I repent

Oh I am wrong and of these things I repent.

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