A PLACE FOR LIONS
The Lion as an animal has always fascinated me. I mean, look at them. There aren’t many animals around that have this kind of strength, then flaunt it in the most dangerous continent on earth with an unconcealable mane. I have watched all the nature shows you could imagine on these things, from the time I was a child. The fact that there are still tribes that interact with these creatures with primitive weapons, or have rites of passage that include killing one with a spear…is…awesome (I’d say that’s a fair fight).
Did you know that there used to be an American Lion? They were 25% larger than their African cousins. They could be up to 8ft in length (or height depending on some poor paleolithic man’s perspective). Now they are extinct. My suspicion is, that in our American church and culture, the lion is becoming a relic to read about.
WAIT FOR IT THIS IS A METAPHOR THAT WILL HELP YOU I PROMISE.
Jesus Christ is called the Lion of Judah in scripture. Unfortunately, in a society that values comfort above all else, we have made him the lamb, and only the lamb, and always the lamb. Here’s two list of attributes, tell me which you think the most line up with who Jesus is.
Set A Set B
Proving oneself Helping
Goal orientation Relating
Success Loving cooperation
Competition Personal expression
I bet I could guess which you chose. But I also know, that you know, that this is kind of a trick.
Jesus does indeed have the qualities on the right. List B. But he does have the qualities on the left as well. Isn’t it strange how that makes us squirm? This is a list of attributes from Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.
But ask yourself a question, go through list A and ask yourself, “Could Jesus be Jesus without this trait?” Without accomplishment? Goals? Success? Competence? Even efficiency. Save mankind in 3 years, that’s some quick work.
Here’s the thing. Lions make a mess. Lions are bloody, sweaty, large, aggressive animals. But they draw a boundary around their territory and protect their pride. They are willing to die in defense of it. They bring in food. They multiply and reproduce upon maturation. They are kings.
Ask yourself this question, in the church today. Is there any room for lions? Is there any room for The Lion?
Jesus was the quintessential man. He was a man. The man…if you will. It’s funny that our society has become so confused as to the role of men that even the fact that God came AS A MAN, frustrates and confuses some. A man that would get angry, a man with power beyond imagining, a man that rebuked his disciples, a man that was unbelievably dangerous. You don’t get crucified for sitting in the pews and helping old ladies take their seats a synagogue.
I am writing this for a reason. We, Christians, are the only major world religion that is missing its men. THE ONLY ONE. The typical US congregation draws a crowd that is 61% Female, and 39% male. Whenever that percentage of men drops below 45%, the church begins to die. 25% of married, churchgoing women, will go to church this Sunday without their husbands.
Here’s the deal. I believe the solution is Jesus. Not a pasty, lamb holding, Brazilian model Jesus that even gently overturns tables as to not cause “too much of a fuss”. But a Jesus that calms storms with a rebuke, who calls the religious establishment snakes, who calls no man master or lord, who raises himself from the grip of death. That’s a man I can follow. That’s a man that men searching for purpose in your neighborhood can follow.
I truly believe if we stop ignoring the brutal, passionate, human man that Jesus is and was, you’ll see the church grow. But beware, you will constantly be cleaning up the mess. A lion won’t tolerate a gospel of words. A lion won’t be controlled. But it can certainly be led by One more powerful than himself.
Does the thought that Jesus got angry, was full of power, and rebuked his disciples harshly bother you? Does it confuse you that he was FULL of LOVE when he did all of these things?
If so, why?
Would love your comments.