The joys of a liberal college! Taking roughly 60 credits that have absolutely nothing to do with my future career can be pretty frustrating for a broke college student paying for said credits. General education are two pretty ugly words if I do say so myself. This semester, as a part of my general education requirements, I needed to knock out a few dumb, fluff classes, one being sociology. Well, let me tell you, this class sure is not fluff, it is actually quite the opposite. Discussion, digging deep, critical thinking: that is my jam! This is why sociology has progressively become one of my favorite classes. It is the scientific study of human society; a class about people. Now that is my area of interest!
Anyway, in class today we discussed the types of social movements in society. There is limited social change and radical social change that either targets a particular subgroup or the entire society. Bare with me, this may get boring. The limited social change includes alterative and reformative change. Alternative social change is limited societal change targeted at a narrow group, such as in the group M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Reformative social change is limited social change across an entire society, kinda like the whole “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” thing. There isn’t a lot of crazy social change within these two types, but they do make a pretty significant small-scale impact.
Phew, that was super boring, I know, I can relate. I wasn’t really struck with an awe for social movement until we moved onto the “radical social change” category: redemptive and revolutionary. Now here’s the cake! Redemptive social change is targeted at specific groups and they advocate for radical change in behavior. An example would be church-run “halfway-house” type organizations that help drug-addicts get back on their feet. Redemption, what a beautiful word, we’ll get back to that later. Next is the radical social change that targets the entire society: revolutionary. This calls for the radical reorganization of society. A famous example is the Civil Rights movement which was a radical event that targeted the entire society in a time of oppression. Incredible, awe-inspiring, one for the newspapers.
Now you’re probably thinking: why do I care about sociology? Why do I care about social change or movement? Who cares about redemptive and revolutionary social change? Alternative and reformative, what’s the big deal? Now, I am no sociologist, and I just learned about this stuff today, but I felt a push from God to write, so here I am. I am all for great groups like M.A.D.D. and The 3 R’s and whatnot, and they impact a lot of people, but I find them a little less… crazy. They are just as my sociology book says: limited. They don’t go above and beyond and are constrained to a small group of people. They have good morals, but what is the deeper root of it all? Personal vendettas? Tree-hugging? Man, I sound like an fair-weather liberal (sorry, I like sociological concepts). This isn’t the point I’m trying to make. I believe radical social change is the core of what Christianity should be.
I began to read Jefferson Bethke’s book “Jesus > Religion” just before this sociology class and what he talked about really coincided with the lesson plan today. Bethke talks a lot about self-righteousness in the second chapter. He says: “In a postmodern world where all religious activity is seen as what we do for God, we need to proclaim that Christianity is about what God has done for us. This would take people’s focus off of their behavior and put it on Jesus.” I believe alternative and reformative social change is just like this self-righteousness: thinking we are doing something for a bigger purpose, but it is actually just for ourselves. Alternative means “other possibilities” but what possibilities are their? For M.A.D.D. it is either you are a drunk driver, or you aren’t. You are either killing people, or driving safety. We have this idea as Christians sometimes: you are either a sinner or a saint. Filthy or clean. This doesn’t work: the possibilities are too limited. As for reformative, this word means “making changes in order to improve.” An awesome idea, but what would you say if I said that doesn’t really work either? It is impossible for us to reform society on our own; only He can make changes in it in order to improve people and situations. We can’t really improve ourselves on our own merit either. Bethke says “I pray to God daily that He would eradicate the spirit within me that thinks I’m an authority unto myself.” Deep.
So radical social change: this is God’s plan. He doesn’t want us to just pick up some trash off the road, sign a petition for change or help a few people here and there: God is must more extreme than that. He wants absolute redemptive and revolutionary change in this world. He wants each and every one of us to target specific groups; that is why we each have a testimony. Our own redemptive social movement involves using our personal struggles and trials to relate to specific people all for the sake of a radical change in behavior. Redemption is “acting to save someone from error or evil.” Now, don’t get it twisted. We are acting, but we are not saving. Jesus Himself is an advocate for the radical reorganization of society. He wants to flip the entire structure, rules and ideas of society on its head. Similar to how He flipped the tables in the temple, He wants to overturn our obsession with riches and pride and restore His Father’s house. That is why the Great Commission exists. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. This mission we have is pretty clear, and the only way to describe it is revolutionary.
We limit ourselves each and everyday. “I’m haven’t read the Bible much, I can’t teach” “I can’t play guitar, I can’t be a worship leader” “I can’t speak well, there’s no way people will listen to me.” Remember Moses? I surely do, because he was a lot like me. After God told Moses that he was going to liberate the Israelites, this is what happened: “Moses said to the Lord, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’” Exodus 4:10-12. God would not except the fact that Moses was limiting himself. God declares that He Himself is greater than that, He is bigger than a silly speech impediment. Moses was spitting on God’s face by saying he couldn’t do it, but with God, he did it. We tend to put God in a box and limit His true power. We rely on our own abilities and forget about God’s extraordinary ability to do anything.
Now radical social change: that is what the God I know wants. He has called us to never stop talking about Him, to shout His name from the rooftops and declare His Great News. Jesus is described as our Redeemer, the one who saves us from evil, and He wants to recruit us to help Him in His business. But just remember: we are just harvesters in His personal field of redemption. I dislike the reformative social change because it is based on changing behavior. God doesn’t want to change how we act, He wants to change our hearts. He doesn’t want us to just act good, He wants us to know He is good! Finally, God is revolutionary. Something that is revolutionary is “causing or relating to a great or complete change.” It is not a weak, temporary, social reconstruction that God seeks: it is a complete change in us that He seeks.
God is redemptive and revolutionary and He calls us to be the same. He doesn’t want us to just seek certain people: He wants us to seek everybody. In James 1:27, it says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” When I think of orphans and widows I think of one thing: loneliness. They have no one, they have no father or spouse. But in Galatians 3:26 Paul says “for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” We are not orphans anymore, but there are still many out there. That is the revolution. That is the Great Commission. We must seek the lost and the lonely in order to aid God is restoring this broken world. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world and we are His revolutionary children. Now, let’s go start a revolution in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
bartholmmmmew asked: hii, great Bloog! did u see hillsong untied :) i saw them last week in houston tx such a blessed time! GB
Thank you! And yes I did, I saw them in Pittsburgh and they were INCREDIBLE! God Bless
Getting something we don’t deserve, a free gift imparted by God, something that makes life unfair. This is grace. I was reading in Galatians today and I decided I’d go through the fruits of the spirit and maybe see how I can improve on applying the fruits to my life more. Well, I got a bit of a road block at the beginning of chapter 5 before I made it to the famous verses of 22 and 23. I was really taken aback by how Paul begins the chapter: “Christ has liberated us into freedom.” Galatians 5:1. Well, isn’t that a bit redundant? It basically says God freed us into… freedom. I thought this was a bit weird, so I decided to further look into it. I looked up the definition of “liberation” and this is what I found: freed from imprisonment, slavery or enemy occupation. And there is the hidden treasure! Christ has free us from enemy occupation into freedom. Paul makes no mistake when he emphasizes that Christ has truly freed us from our enemy - and His - the devil himself. I have been freed from satan’s grip by the blood of Christ.
Me being me, I decided to further dissect this very short part of the verse: why would Paul say I am freed into freedom? What else could I possible be freed into? I think about the women who are freed from sex slavery but still turn back to it even after being completely liberated. That’s the thing: their bodies are liberated, but their minds are still a slave to the sex, lies and abuse. They are so used to it that they can’t possibly live another way. I realized we are all the same way. We have been completely freed by the Grace of God, but we still turn back to the abuse of sin; it’s comfortable for us. Our chains are taken off and we beg for them to be put back on because our wrists feel weird without them. We love to be slaves. Paul recognizes this in the church and gives some pretty good advice: “Therefore stand firm and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1. As simple as that: be tough and don’t do it anymore. Well Paul, standing firm on my own hasn’t been too beneficial throughout my life, sorry to tell you. But I believe we could add the words “in Christ” after “stand firm”. When we stand firm in Him is when standing firm actually works. If I try to find strength in myself, I will be weak and become enslaved again. But if I find my strength in God, He will set me free again and again no matter how many times I am enslaved. He is a liberator who liberates us straight out of bondage and straight into complete freedom.
As I kept reading, Paul addresses the issue of circumcision. He says that those that are circumcised are obligated to keep the entire law. Whoa. That is crazy. And not to mention completely impossible. He says that those that keep the law are trying to be justified from it which is impossible because only God can justify them. I think Paul is trying to make a very distinct point here: everyone needs grace. When we try to be justified by anything other than Jesus, we are alienating ourselves from Him. “You have fallen from grace.” Paul states in verse 4. Those 5 words are the words that smacked me in the face. I understand that Paul is addressing the circumcised but I like reading Romans 2:25 in parallel to these verses. “For circumcision benefits you if you observe the law, but if you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become circumcision.” You can be circumcised and obey the old covenant, but it counts for nothing if you are a lawbreaker. This is the whole reason for grace: under the old covenant, none of us are able to follow God’s law. Not even the supposedly “righteous” people. So enough about that, let’s talk about grace.
Paul boldly says those trying to be justified by the law have been separated from Jesus and have fallen from grace. This verse tackles two crazy important things. We have alienated ourselves from God because we think that we can be good on our own works. Well, that’s not how it works. “Doing good” or “acting Christianlike” separates us from the Lord. It is absolutely impossible for me to do anything on my own merit to justify myself. Now, why do I still think I can earn my way to God? Because I allow myself to be enslaved. I allow myself to fall prey to the enemy. I fall from grace. Now the question I asked myself was: how have I fallen from grace? First I had to think about a few things. Grace is getting something you don’t deserve, a free gift from God. It is only possible by the death and resurrection of Christ. It covers a multitude of sins, justifies us as sinners, gives us salvation and gives us life in Christ. If I did not have grace, I would not have anything. I wouldn’t be saved. My sins would overcome me - they would literally drag me to hell. My hope would be in myself. I wouldn’t have access to God - quite frankly I couldn’t even go near Him, He wouldn’t look at me. Without grace, I wouldn’t inherit the Kingdom. And lastly I would be dead in myself and dead in my sin.
So, how have I fallen from this beautiful gift of grace? In a self-rebuking session I figured out the ways that I do. I’ve fallen from grace because I’ve forgotten its power. It has liberated me from the yoke of slavery, yet I still go back. It has given me a home, but I still try to make a home on earth. It has overcome my sin, but I still let my sin overcome me. If I am struggling to get by under grace, I can only imagine how it’d be if there were no grace. I can’t even wrap my mind around it. All I can say is thank God for Grace.
I bet just about every Christian song ever written has the word grace in it at least once. This is no coincidence. Grace is the core of who we are as believers. It is the reminder of God’s great love and passion for us. It is a daily reminder of the extent God would take in order to show His love. “The beauty of grace is that is makes life not fair” is a lyric from a Relient K song that has been one of my favorite lyrics of all time. It always puzzled me: life is not fair because of grace, and that is beautiful. Well, grace makes Sammy Jambor’s life pretty unfair, I still have to suffer in this world under sin and brokenness. Life is not fair, poor me. No. To an extent, grace makes our lives unfair, but think about Jesus. Grace is not fair to Him. He didn’t deserve to die or suffer. He was spotless but died as if he were filthy. It is truly unfair that a perfect man had to be betrayed, falsely accused, beaten, mocked, scorned, flogged, crucified and killed just for my sake. But, that is beautiful. Grace is beautiful. I can imagine how brutal the scene must have been at Calvary. A man hanging on a cross, bloody and dirty, gruesome and sad. But I bet there was an immense amount of beauty in it. No one knew it at the time, but Jesus knew the beauty of His sacrifice and we are lucky enough to know that beauty today. The beauty of grace.
We don’t deserve Jesus’ amazing grace and we fall from it daily, but He still gives it to us. He liberates us regardless. That is true love - Jesus sacrificed His perfect life in order to give us a perfect life. So as I always wrap my posts up with advice, here it is: give in to His grace. Fall into it. Drown in the ocean of His grace. Only it can justify you, not anything else. Be so caught up in grace that you laugh when sin offers you that yoke of slavery again. When you have nothing, remember God gave you everything - He gave you the greatest gift imaginable. He gave you His very own heart. He gave you His life.
We all do it: we have hope in something, but deep down we know it won’t end up like we planned. We have a desire for something and we get smacked in the face when we don’t receive it. Classic examples of the consequences of ignoring God.
As Christians, we serve the Creator of the Universe. We serve a God who mapped out the stars, painted the oceans with shades of blue and white and composed the music of the birds chirping at sunrise. He is all powerful, all creative, all wonderful, and if you think about it, He is one brainiac! If you study the human body or even the structure of organic matter you can see the immense complexity of this world. I believe the world is too complicated to have NOT been designed by a very talented architect. That being said, I guess I’ll just go ahead and ignore the wisdom of this God and follow my own wisdom. Yup, I’ll do things my way and ignore that Big Guy in the sky. This is my mentality the majority of the time. I think I know what it good for me and I follow that instead of listening to the Creator. “Oh c’mon Sammy, yeah He created the earth but you have free will.” Yes, I do. I have free will and all that jazz, but God still has a part in my life.
I love reading these verses to remind me of how God is my own personal Creator:
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalms 139:13-16.
Ahh, bliss. The Creator of the stars knit me together. The Painter of the sunsets made me complex. The Composer of the wind saw me before I was born. He knew me before I was even conceived. He knew every single part of me. He knew I’d be really short with terrible eyesight. He knew I’d love the sound of a really good chord progression. He knew I’d have a temper and I’d talk really fast. He knew Samantha Jambor.
I love this picture of God knowing me; it is truly one of the most beautiful things in the world. But I constantly need a simple reminder: He STILL knows me. “You don’t know me!” is a line I’d always feed to my parents as a teenager. They’d never understand me, “ugh!” (God knew I’d be dramatic too.) Anyway, God knows me now, in this present time. In the midst of my college stress, He knows me. In the middle of my brokenness and lingering depression, He knows me. He knows the love I have for people, but the pride that holds me back. He knows my passion for spoken word poetry, but He also knows my confidence issues. He also knows that I am a sinner. That last one is the most important one. The Creator of the World knows I am struggling with my desires, temptations and false hoping. I couldn’t be more thankful that He knows that.
I brought up false hope because I’ve had a lot of that lately. Recently, it’s been in relationships. I was in a very long relationship before I was a Christian in which I messed up tremendously. He was a great guy, and I was a terrible girl and ruined the relationship. Thankfully, if this wouldn’t have happened I may not have found God when I did (praise His timing!) Anyway, lately I’ve had false hope that maybe I could make that relationship work again. “God closes doors for a reason!” “An ex is an ex for a reason” yada yada yada, I’ve heard it all before. I ignored the caution lights and ran through them. I tried to justify my pursuit of my ex by saying “well, maybe God can make it work this time around.” I stuck with that. I kept pursuing and pursuing and felt like maybe this was meant to be. But then, that false hope backfired: I found out he had a girlfriend. To say I was hurt wouldn’t be the most accurate adjective, but I was just… embarrassed. I had gone chasing an ex boyfriend who I didn’t even love. A guy that yes, was extremely nice, but wasn’t even right for me. I gave into my loneliness and singleness and God gave me a nice reality check.
I can imagine during this whole ordeal (and all of my life) God has been screaming “Sammy! Stop it! Only I know you! I know your heart and I know what is best for you! I have much better plans than this!” And I have just been moseying along, listening to the world’s plans as well as my own. God was right: He does have better plans. The Spirit convicts me and I ignore it which is a red flag that I am not as dedicated to the Lord as I need to be. God is that little voice in your head that tells you to do something or not to do something. If this voice can create the entire universe, I’m definitely sure it can create in me a new heart.
So here’s my advice: listen to your Creator! Don’t ignore Him because He is definitely a lot more skilled in the whole “life plan” area than you are. Also, it is not just a saying; God does close doors for a reason and if they should ever be opened again, it should only be by Him. So, clean out your ears, empty your mind of your own desires, and seek God’s wisdom. And finally: “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2.