I am one of the 85,875,151 people (according to the count on Wednesday, March 28 at 9:30am) who watched the Kony 2012 video on youtube.
I know about the Invisible Children organization. Several of my students have participated in raising money and awareness for this organization. Two students even started their own non-profit called Children Everywhere in response to the impact of this organization.
I also saw the video of the Kony 2012 filmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell, naked on the sidewalk in broad daylight pounding the pavement with his fist.
I like this guy. I like him a lot.
And if you are in ministry, you should like him too.
We're not so different
Don’t you have days where you desire nothing more than to strip down naked, run outside screaming, scaring passer-byers by bloodying your fist on the hard pavement? I do. Because then I could be done with all of this. Because then I could walk away…be forced away. Because then my behavior would disqualify me from ministry.
I fantasize about the ways in which I could get disqualified from ministry. I know you do too.
Why must I (and you) devise ways to fall? Because God rarely lets us just quit.
As much as I love Steve Brown, it frustrates me every time I hear his story that one night late in his study, he told God, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” And God said, “Ok, you don’t have to anymore.”
What?! I’ve prayed that prayer at least a dozen times in my 5 years in ministry and…well, I’m still here…still doing it.
So if God isn’t going to release me like he did Steve, I must find another way out and I like Jason Russell because he has offered me one more option.
As Jesus prepares his disciples for ministry, he says:
"Don't be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don't be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they've done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words. When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.” (Matthew 10:17-23, The Message)
Wow. I would much rather hear “Everyone will love you. Just go out there and be you and you will do great things for the Kingdom.” But Jesus told them (and me) it wouldn’t be that way.
After her husband’s arrest, Danica Russell issued a statement:
“We thought a few thousand people would see the film, but in less than a week, millions of people around the world saw it. While that attention was great for raising awareness about Joseph Kony, it also brought a lot of attention to Jason and, because of how personal the film is, many of the attacks against it were also very personal, and Jason took them very hard.”
He is one of us
Whether or not you agree with him or his method, Jason is one of us. He is a believer who wants to see the Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.
But Jason forgot what Jesus told us.
I forget sometimes too. And you do too. But now you’ve been reminded.
You might still catch me on the evening news naked and pounding pavement with my fist. But not today.
So glad it’s all about grace.