Let’s Get Dirty

“Over the centuries, sin–especially regarding human sexuality— has been equated with dirt. When a woman is sexually active, she is considered soiled. When we speak of something vile, we refer to it as filth. Indeed, the terrain of sin is described by a vocabulary of soil. And many religious traditions get rid of it by ritual cleansing, baptisms, and other rites of washing it away.” [1]

Being raised in the Christian tradition, the concept of being “cleansed from sin” always had the idea of washing away the “dirty essence” from existence. Is that really the case? To be in a state of shalom with God and human beings, do I have to be “white as the driven snow”? I’m finding out the more accurate way of putting it is this: Getting “dirty” actually brings about the state of healing and liberation, which in turn births the wholeness of the gospel.

Lets take this idea of “getting dirty” to praxis. How would this look like in the Christian sense?  Really, I think this will always looks like a space of unfamiliarity, discomfort and vulnerability.  Who wants to deal with all that shitticus?! It seems to much of a leap for most (can’t blame them, its tough).  But, I think it’s the only way to really grasp the truth of what the Gospel produces in others and in oneself.

We always think the “unclean” are to be avoided at all cost.  Also, our view of the unclean always comes with our own bias worldview. Especially from the American Christian perspective. In the current Trump era, the ideal of an an “America first” mentality has really exposed our state of an “us vs. them” posture.

Another a huge disclosure here is the idea of God and how she looks on Her human creation. Is it in wrathful indignation or unconditional love, mercy and grace? I would adhere to the latter. It’s the love of God that saves the world not his disdained for it. If we can see that Jesus hung out with the “unclean” to become an advocate for their personhood, we then come into the place of true transformation (instead of guilty condemnation).

Isn’t this what the incarnation is all about? Emanuel, “God with us”, coming into our space to not only save us from death and sin, but also to show us the way to fully live? Look, we all have stuff that needs improving. We all come with baggage. But, that in no ways makes us to dirty for God!

In the brokenness is where God dwells most vividly (umm the cross, hello) and in that state of bondage is where He sets us FREE! But, I think our state of freedom compared to others experiences gets convoluted and that’s where walls are built instead of torn down (the veil is torn, remember? Matthew 27:51). Building walls is getting us nowhere.

To the Christian:

– Can we let ourselves step into what we consider to be unclean?

– Can we break bread with our Muslim brothers and sisters?

– Can we heterosexuals come to a place of acceptance with the LGBTQ community?

– Can we really start having meaningful conversations with the refugees and immigrants?

– Let’s maybe listen to the good questions Atheists provide and honestly contemplate on them?

– What about the white majority recognizing their white privilege?

– Can we let our sexual desires not fall prey to guilt or shame and just be free in the image of God?

– Can we treat our planet as God indented it be treated as “good stewards” (Gen 2:15)?

– Maybe liberals don’t be such jerks and be kind to the people that don’t agree with them (with the mindset of possibly being wrong)?

– How about the conservatives maybe sincerely listen to the ones they don’t agree with and agree to disagree (with humility)?

– What if Republicans and Democrats could enjoy each others company which in turn maybe bring about productive policies (maybe that’s to much of stretch hehe)?

These are all examples of stepping into what we think of being dirty but in reality, God has made it CLEAN (Acts 10:25). We have to put our trust in the love of Christ in order to cast out all of our fears. Can we really trust that the Spirit is upon all humanity (Acts 2:17)? Can we really accept the full unconfined inclusion of the Eucharist? The Gospel is the call to cosmocentric unity through evolving diversity. So, let’s get out there and get our hands dirty! That’s what I think the life of following Christ is and was and will be all about…

“When Jesus described the final, holy judgment, how did he describe that judgement (Matthew 25:34-37)? When the Son of Man comes in his glory, the criteria here has nothing to do with how clean you are; the judgement is about how dirty you are willing to get in order to feed, welcome, clothe, and visit other people.”[2]

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