"If we bear the artistic, altruistic image of Jesus, something remarkably natural and yet miraculous will become the new norm. It may take a little time to get used to, but Jesus's life can have a nice, snug fit in the natural rhythms and cadence of living here on planet earth." ~ Quote from Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth.
The Incarnation has been on my mind a lot lately, and so this was the perfect time to encounter Flesh.
I did my first reading of this book in one four hour sitting, in the dentists office. I was making notes (always a sign of engagement) underlining (capturing my favorite quotes) and laughing (yes... laughing out loud.)
This book really gave me a lot to think about. It is a flesh-and-blood centered look at imparting the good news of the Gospel, living in the full-bodied peace of Shalom, and walking in the reality of the our place in the Incarnation.
Hugh Halter talks all about Jesus... how he arrived in the world, how he moved into a town, how he knew names and faces and cared about people, how he presented himself and offered us himself when he entered a scene.
Several things jumped out at me, including the parable of planting seeds and the Kingdom growing while we sleep, and our call to be whimsically holy, rather than religious. How accurate! People think they know what to do with a "religious person."
We religious people are common enough that we can be ignored, like the coffeemaker that you see each morning.
Religious people can quickly be put in a box, unexamined, packed away in the bubble wrap of preconceived notions.
We can be categorized: "Right wing conservative fundamentalist... gun rights and America as a superpower," "Cafeteria Catholic who's skipped confession since Reagan was in office."
But a person who lives by Truth and Whimsy? One who has a sense of humor and dirt on their hands because they work hard and play easily on earth?
One who walks in the light of a Holy God and talks about Him all the time? A person who is joyful and calls you to Christ because He is calling everyone as children to come and be adopted? Someone who invites you to celebrate, and then tells you "By the way, that was worship." Who eats with you and says "That was communion."
That's a person who you can't overlook, can't silence, and can't dismiss. They're too compelling, too real, too honest, and too obsessed with Grace. And frankly, their message actually sounds like Good News, and you don't want them to shut up.
That's a good start for envisioning whimsical holiness. And I like it a lot. I see that in various saints, people such as Rich Mullins and Gladys Hunt and Ravi Zacharias and my own uncle who can morph from spiritual counselor to comedian in 30 seconds flat... and remind us that it is often one and the same role.
"The people of God are to be a stabilizing presence among all the swirling opinions...."
"Remember, if you let grace ooze out of your life, people will eventually seek the truth in your life."
Thank you David C Cook for my review copy.