Did you see Barack Obama’s infomercial last night?  What did you think?  Was it on the level of selling the perfect set of ginsu knives promising the impossible?  Or did it provide you with some hope. Some sense that things could be different.  

Maybe cynicism has creeped in for some of you.  Thoughts of why try… why when we know that politics is a mire of muddy pigs dressed up in fancy suits. To be honest, I don’t know if the next president, whoever it may be, can bring true reform and change.  But one thing that Obama’s hopefulmercial gave me back again was a sense of hope in relation to the Church. 

Hope, is the possibility of seeing what God sees and having God’s thoughts, feelings and actions infiltrate into the core of my being.  

The question is, do I have hope that things can be different?  Can there be communities who reflect the image and character of God?  Will there be people who stand for radical love, inclusive hospitality and social reconciliation.  

Has middle classness, individual consumerism, safety and security so inoculated the christian church that we have become blind to the calling and dream of God in this world.  Maybe.  My resposnse out of fear is… why even try.  “Give in to the dark side, Luke”.  Just stay on automatic pilot in my individual world where safety and security are the throne and scepter of my life.  

But then Barack Obama’s pirated the network airwaves to spread his message of “What if…”.  And this is the reason I feel that Obama will win.  There are enough Americans who are willing to let a relatively unexperienced person be president because we want some with enough resonance and vision to dream “What if”.  But i digress onto my political soapbox.

“What if…” there were a people who took the words of Jesus seriously and practiced with their lives…

-RADICAL HOSPITALITY

-INCLUSIVE LOVE

-PEACE AND LOOKING FOR GOD’S JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD OF INJUSTICE

-REDEEMING RECONCILIATION

-DOWNWARD MOBILITY

Hope says, God sees all of these things and today I want to see my world and my culture as He sees it.

Hope says, that God has called out a people to live out this radical and subversive life as a light to all the world of what God’s Life looks like in a world of flesh and blood, suffering and pain, failures and disappointments.

Hope speaks.  What is Hope saying to you today?

Richard Rohr comments in his book Jesus’ Plan For a New World, “Every town has the hard-to-get-to spot where the teens pain graffiti, late at night, at tremendous risk. Yet when the soul feels utterly insignificant, it writes its name where you can’t miss it.”

I have always wondered what drives someone to dangle above a freeway, nudging themselves along a concrete precipist, with a couple of cans of spray paint(probably made this mistake of not bringing enough spray paint only once) to get to that billboard and tag it with some unintelligible graffiti. I mean really, I don’t like graffiti(it messes with my sense of order), but I have to admit there are some taggers that I consider absolute rock stars for their incredible sense of daring.

Yet really, isn’t it a desperate cry for attention. “Look at me” it screams. It forces the attention of the world of commuters to view at the ‘art’ of one desperate individual.

But back to the quote above. Really am I any different? Yes I don’t hang over highways or slip into tunnels in the cover of the dark. Yet I have realized that when my soul feels insiginfcant, ignored, repressed, or not affirmed that I have the tendancy, even the propesity, to write my name where you can’t miss it.

To scream, “Look at me”, To demand attention. This is what we graffiti artists do.

The spray paint that we use is just a colorful as the graffiti artist’s pallete of colorful cans. They are,

Anger, gossip, arguing, withdrawal, sarcasm, hypocrisy, bitterness, attention, ignoring, disconnection.

(just to name a few)

(my favorite colors are withdrawing and disconecting if you really need to know)

We all do these things. They are as second nature to us as breathing. But the important thing is this

not to know what I do, but to know why I do it.

I know what I do, I know what I do when I get frustrated or annoyed or fearful, but to understand the why, now that really gets to the heart of things.

I guess I have come to this realization. We all have different forms of graffiti. You have soul graffiti, I have soul graffiti. And I am ok with that. And I am confident my Lord that he will clean up our graffiti in his way and in his time. Lest we forget, that love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith and meekness and temperance are called the fruits of the Spirit and not the fruits of my hard work and sweat. They are the fruits of the evidence of the Spirit movement in you and me.

P.S. For what it is worth, I have heard the book Soul Graffiti by Mark Scandrette is just awesome. I have not read it so I have no idea if it has any relation whatsoever to the above. But I have heard it is a must read.

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