Being A Follower of Jesus-A Poem by John Chuchman
NOTE By Pastor Judy Lee: I like this poem by John Chuchman who is a great supporter of women priests and inclusion. His website is noted after the poem.
Being A Follower of Jesus
by John Chuchman
First, for me, being a follower of Jesus means being Radical.
It’s not for people who want to immerse themselves in selfish ambition
and only break from that consensus at the margins.
It is not for those comfortable with the status quo.
It demands more of me.
It demands an extraordinary commitment to Love:
not the fleeting emotion,
but the force that transforms lives
in both simple acts and by recreating the world in which I live.
It shapes everything from the way I interact with a waitress
to how I view church politics and injustice.
It leads me to find debilitating discrimination by church hierarchy
more offensive than missing Mass on Sunday.
It inspires me to be daring and swim against the tide.
There is always resistance.
A concern for everyone, including the weak and vulnerable,
always leads to the experience of pain and suffering.
Second, I find Jesus’ way and Joy deeply connected.
Being a follower of Jesus does not mean being dour or aloof.
The way of Christ brings meaning;
it incites Passion;
it generates Joy.
A life spent trying to run away from boredom is inevitably a life of drudgery.
I find true joy, not in material things,
but in my encounter and relations with others,
in relationships rooted in Inclusiveness, Understanding and Love.
When I experience loss, conflict or failure,
I don’t entirely escape sadness,
but faith opens the possibility of Restoration, Communion, and Transformation.
In a culture where people seem obsessed with happiness
yet are constantly lured away from that destination by false paths,
the true path to joy can only be found in Love.
Third, following Jesus is 24/7 year-round.
My commitment to Jesus should permeate all my actions.
It should define who I am.
It is not an activity to be fulfilled for an hour each Sunday.
I can’t be a part-time Christian.
Most see going to Mass each Sunday
as the pre-eminent responsibility of a Catholic.
It is important to let them know that this is simply not enough.
This is not the standard for being a follower of Jesus.
Going to church no more makes me a Christian
than standing in my garage makes me a car.
So many people have already turned away from organized religion
because of the obnoxious hypocrisy they have witnessed
by the hierarchy and
from those who spend every Sunday in the pews,
spending the rest of the week acting unethically,
seemingly without any compunction.
Following Christ means embracing Joy.
It means the radical embrace of countercultural values.
It places demands on my entire existence.
Religiosity and spirituality are fused together
and inseparable when pursued authentically.
This message is critical
because people do not need to be split
between those who are “spiritual but not religious”
and those who are “religious but not spiritual.”
Finally, I strive to keep it real.
It’s about setting aside the illusory and superficial.
The message is simple,
I am my authentic self.
I am an entirely unique person with immeasurable worth and value,
not some cardboard cutout.
My real identity is shaped by my character and core,
my authentic personality,
not all the superficial things that distract me
and take us away from who I am meant to be.
My life is not shaped by the expectations and judgments of others,
but my commitment to the values I rightly hold dear.
My relationships are as authentic as I am.
Our culture despises dependency and idolizes autonomy.
The cult of individualism
makes authentic relationships difficult to achieve and sustain.
Yet these relationships allow me to experience real joy and love,
a priceless treasure that many carelessly discard or ignore.
They make me vulnerable and exposed
because they reveal my core being.
But only in this state can I connect
in the most fundamental and intimate way.
Movin’ On http://www.sacredtorch.com/?page_id=727