Monday, May 09, 2011

The Inevitable vs. The Choice

Context is really inevitable isn’t it? You can choose your context to be sure. Regardless of where you are in life you are simply in a context. This is a fact of life you cannot escape. This seems obvious and overly simplistic. Yet it is key to understanding where and how to move and interact with the world.

Some contexts you get to choose, others are chosen for you. A baby is born into a particular context. I was born in the United States of America. Dallas, Texas to be more specific. Even more so, I was born to Clint and Belinda Bunch, an upper-middle-class, white, well-educated, republican, Christian, Church of Christ family. This is not the context I choose. I was simply born into it. There is nothing I can do to change the fact that I was born into the Bunch family.

My friend Tony was born into a very different context. Tony was born in the South Bronx. He’s not sure who his dad is, and to be honest, his mom isn’t sure either. He imagines he looks like his dad, because he looks nothing like his mom. He was born to a lower class, single-mother, atheist family that was just trying to make ends meet and help her son survive in a dangerous school system. Tony didn’t choose his context. He was simply born into it. There is nothing he can do to change the fact that he was born into the Williams family. What a strange world we live in. Some people are just lucky I guess…

Yet there was One who had the opportunity to choose His context. And it should be obvious which one He would choose right? Clearly He should choose the Bunch family. If you get to choose one, go with the Bunches. Am I right? Yet the One I am discussing, didn’t just get to choose to be a Bunch or a Williams. He had the opportunity to choose any context He wanted. Not bad huh?

Being that this One happened to choose the 1st Century AD to be born, you would think He would choose to be Caesar right? I mean, if you’re going to choose you might as well go big.

For some odd reason, He didn’t choose Caesar. He didn’t choose any royal family at all. In fact, He went the way of an illegitimate child of teenage girl who couldn’t afford one night in a motel. Why would He choose such a life? I mean, I’m no genius. But the answer is really clear that you’ve got to go with Caesar on this one!
One must wonder what Jesus of Nazareth was thinking when He choose Mary. He must have had something special in mind. Surely He had to have had a trick up His sleeve. The truth of the matter is, Jesus chose to intentionally place himself in the specific context of an unwed teenage girl so that he could best show his love to the world. It is out of the lowest class on earth that Jesus chooses to enter the world, because it is a sign of a new Kingdom coming. A Kingdom where everything is backwards and Jesus is King. The first are last and the last are first. Mourning is turned into dancing! Weakness is strength! The blind can see and the lame dance the streets all to the glory of the Most High King!

This is Good News for the poor! But what about me? I was born into the Bunch family. It was a context I didn’t choose, but if everything is backwards in this new Kingdom then that means I’m last.

Yet maybe all contexts aren’t chosen for you. After all I am an adult now. I choose where to go to college. I choose who to marry. I choose what job to take. Now, maybe a lot of these decisions were effected by the context that I did not choose, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still choose a new context, a new Kingdom.

In this new Kingdom all of the citizens are madly in love with their King. They radically abandon the ways of the world in order to pursue relationship with Him. They put all of their effort into becoming like Him in every way. As a follower of Jesus, intentionally placing oneself in a specific context that will best allow them to show their love for others is often over looked. We weren’t able to choose from birth, but as adults we are able to choose our context.

So the question becomes, will you choose to be first, or last?


Larry James said...

Powerful thoughts! Truth.

Daniel Marolf said...

Wow man thats some good stuff! Never quite thought of it that way!