Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Salt, the Salty, and the Stale (a lecture by an orthodox rebel)

"Ye are the salt of the earth...." Matthew 5:13

We all know that salt is a preservative: that it fights corruption and enhances flavor. Oft times, however, we forget our place as salt. We are not meant to be stuck in the salt-shaker; we must be in the meat that spoils and the wound that infects. Salt can lose its flavor by being too entangled with what it salts, disappearing into the boiling broth; but it also loses it through disuse, growing stale on the shelf. In Christianity today, we see these two extremes all the time. Some Christians, so terrified of the corruption of the world, make their churches and all affiliate institutions air-tight canisters where a lack of oxygen leaves them dry and brittle. Other Christians, repulsed by the staleness and ineffectiveness of canister Christianity, get so encumbered by the trappings and tastes of the world that they become indistinguishable from it and thus of no consequence to it. Both have forgot their purpose: corruption is to be fought, not coddled or ignored.

The sooner that we stop treating the Christian life like either a siege or a johnny-come-lately spectacle and start treating it like the battle that it is, the better off we will be. There are in equal parts enemies to fight and souls to rescue; there are songs to sing and swords to wield. We are to be in the thick of things, in the very midst of fallen men: fighting, singing, loving, weeping. We must not be like them, but we must not be less than them. We must be more than them, all that they are plus the awesome supernatural presence of God that smacks them across the face like fresh air from the sea. We are neither detractors nor imitators of the world. We are the children of God who carry His burning Spirit right into their very midst.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010