Will You Jump?

–Dr. Garry K. Brantley

I ran across an article while surfing various news-oriented websites. One title that caught my eye irresistibly tempted me to read its contents: “Skydiving: Question to Ask Before You Jump.”

Rather than a singular interrogative, the article actually listed several questions to ponder before taking the plunge. I realize that the first president Bush celebrated his 80th birthday by barreling out of a plane. It is pretty impressive that an octogenarian, and one of such importance, apparently answered all inward questions in the affirmative, and hurled himself to the ground. My hat’s off to him. Don’t know if I’d jump, though.

The final point of the article was, once you’ve decided to jump, you’re at the point of no return. After reading this article, I wondered what our lives would look like if we actually contemplated our actions. Then, once we’ve made the decision, we proceeded with the mentality of “no return?” From one perspective, this goes against the gospel call to turn from our self-directed paths, and return to Jesus. So, that’s really not what I’m talking about.

I’m considering this “point of no return” from the post-repentance perspective. Assuming a turning to God, what would church look like if we adopted a “no return” posture? The consumerism of our culture has produced a “fickleness,” it seems to me. Though rarely overtly articulated, commitments tend to be tempered by the “as long as I like it” philosophy. We wonder why marriages crumble, churches struggle, relationships are strained. Honestly, I become irritated by folk whose commitments are as long and deep as their fleeting feelings. But, enough of that. The content of this blog is beginning to bother me!

A refreshing wind seems to be blowing, however. Increasingly, the new generation is becoming dissatisfied with a self-oriented gospel (isn’t that an oxymoron?). The language of the “Emerging Church” philosophy speaks of kingdom, service, freedom from self. It critiques the “I want my needs met” attitude that has strangled the church for so long. It seems to strike a more kingdom-oriented posture, one that seeks God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This new breed of Christians dares to challenge the “mega-and consumer-church” mentality that might make many in our churches uncomfortable. Personally, I welcome it.

With the current struggles of our world, we need to engage in the kind of self-examination Jesus asked of all. “If any one will come after me, let him [or her] deny himself [or herself] and take up one’s cross and follow me.” Now that’s a plunge! Will you jump? I’m thinking about it myself.