Raise Hell

FireRaise hell.

Make some ruckus. Turn over some tables. Throw out the bath water. Light something on fire. Raise a rebel yell.

Raise some hell.

Raise some hell in the pews that sit quietly in our churches. Make the ground quake under the foundations of our meeting houses from the stomping of your feet. Don’t let the pulpit tell you to be nice, respectable, tame. Be wild.

Raise hell.

It’s time. Can’t you feel it? The world needs some abandoned ruckus in our churches. Think about all that is going on. Read the news. Open your ears. Wake up.

There are heavy things going on, things that demand our attention and our actions. Black people are being killed by police. Guns wielded by hateful hearts shoot up and cut down lives in our schools. People are assaulted for being LGBTQ, for their sexuality. Political mouths bleed words and more words while the rich get richer off the backs of the poor.

And that’s just in some of what is happening in America.

Shall we talk of ISIS? What about the drone strikes and murders? What about war zones and genocide that goes on while we sleep?

The world is a heavy place these days.

And we the church talk about being a good witness with our Sunday morning words. We talk about being good people, about deepening our personal spirituality, about understanding the Bible. We spill words while blood is shed around us.

Where are the communities of faith that practice justice in their own walls? Where are the church sanctuaries that keep the victims safe?

The church these days in America is known for our love of money, power, and fame. We protect abusers with our silence and ability to bury facts. We let violent men teach us the way of a Jesus I don’t recognize. We shun the outcast and the alien in our midst. We let the poor wither in the streets and demand the abused forgive their abusers and act like nothing is wrong.

Raise hell.

It’s time to overthrow the pulpits that preach “peace peace” while violence and terror stalk our neighbors. It’s time to tear down our celebrity idols, time to break off our affair with power. Our stages are full of nice songs and happy faces. Where is our lament? Where is our petitions to heaven, knocking on the doors of God’s throne room pleading for change? Where are our confessions for the parts we willfully play in the brokenness of this world?

We are complacent and complicit. We are guilty. We are failing the law of love.

We need to be overturned, shook up, woken up. We need hell to be raised in our midst over the state of the world and the shape of the church. We need to stop being so “missional” and start being honest, real, volatile over the injustice in our walls and in our neighborhoods.

So raise hell. Don’t let the false prophets and preachers of power and false peace lull you into being respectable and nice. Don’t let them steal your fire, your heart. Don’t let the way we have always been dictate how we will always be. Raise hell in the midst of the church and burn down the status quo. Bring the noise and the ruckus. Riot in the pews.

It’s time.

This is how we dance with Jesus. This is how we see mercy and justice break forth like the dawn and roll down like a river. This is how we begin to see the kingdom. This is how we bring the light to the dark places.

This is how we set a table in the midst of enemies and offer up the broken body and blood. This is how we begin to love the oppressed as we love ourselves. Raising hell is how we will begin to see the kingdom breaking in and through.

So raise hell. Don’t be silent. Don’t use your nice words. Cuss, cry, lament, and demand change begin in our own hearts that it may spill out into our neighborhoods.

That love may spill out instead of blood and brokenness.

Raise hell my friends. Raise hell and don’t let anything chain you down. Don’t let anyone stop you. Stir the pot until it boils over.

Sometimes raising hell is the most holy thing you can do.

Here is Love

I got a tattoo. I had something etched on my skin because I believe it with my whole heart. I put ink into my flesh because I never want to forget. This is love: the cross Jesus died upon. My tattoo echoes the words of 1 John 4.10, “In this is love, not that we… Continue Reading

What’s it like to live with bipolar?

Today I am speaking at an event called Shattering Stigma. It’s a collection of personal stories about people living with mental illness. Below is the core of my brief talk. /// Everyone wants to know what bipolar feels like. It’s hard to put into words because there are two different experiences. I’ll do my best… Continue Reading

I reserve the right to moderate and delete comments at my sole discretion. Basically, don't be an ass or a troll, contribute to the conversation, and you can say what you want. This is my online home, not a free for all chat room. Thanks.