“There were a lot of political films coming out of Europe during the late ’60s. Movies like Costa-Gavras’s ‘Z’ and stuff like that. I used to go see all of them, and I realized that my righteous indignation was a form of entertainment for me. I loved getting pissed off at injustice. I didn’t do anything about it, I just liked the feeling of being pissed off.”
– Harold Ramis
Harold Ramis made me laugh. He made a lot of people laugh. From Ghostbusters to Groundhog Day there were so giggles and belly laughs tucked in with bits of wisdom along the way. Today while I was catching up on some news I happened upon an article that celebrated the contributions he made to the world of entertainment. As I read a quote by Mr. Ramis something resonated inside me. “…I loved getting pissed off at injustice. I didn’t do anything about it, I just liked the feeling of being pissed off.”
Sometimes when I’m reading blogs and articles on the church I get caught up in the momentum of the ‘movement’. The idea that change is needed and the truth is I do believe it. I come from the Reformed tradition. I believe that we should always have movement and growth, that we should always be seeking and discovering. The words are inspiring, the ideas thought provoking and emotionally charged. There never fails to be a response from within when it’s written well with passion. The trouble comes after the reading. With thousands of people reading these blogs, where is the response? Where is the action? Where is the moment when we step out from behind the words and into the moment Jesus is calling us?
I think criticism is important. Much of our history is built upon the art of self-critique and growth from it. But what happens when we think of the ways we need to reform and fail to move into action?
Jesus often talked of what was necessary. He spoke of how we should live, love and relate in this world. Jesus used words, he was ‘the Word’ and we need those words in order to grow, expand and change. But it shouldn’t stop there. Words are alive and need to be lived. It’s not enough to read or even absorb them. They must put into action and stood behind if they are to have power.
Jesus was God in action. As Christians we must surely be people of action. We must take the words that we read, that we share, that we know and live them. When I signed in to Twitter this morning to meet my #hellomornings group a quote from Nehemiah flashed on the screen which got me thinking about a life filled with action and purpose.
“so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”” – Nehemiah 6:3 NIV
While the context is not one in which any of us would wish to be found with enemies seeking to harm us, I find this to be a great representation of what I want my faith to be. I want to read and reflect as I find it essential for growth in my personal faith life. But I don’t want it to stop there. I want to to be interrupted in life, to be able to say “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down”. This is what we should be doing. We should be carrying on great projects for God. Doing the things he calls us to do. I don’t want observation to be all that my faith experience is in this life.
It’s not enough to see. It isn’t enough to comment. As a people we must act upon these observations. We need to respond to the paths God shows us. Imagine if all Jesus did was observe. Imagine if he just provided commentary on the world as he saw it. Where would we be now?