Jonah, before the Whale–Growing Pains of Mainstream religion

Why did Jonah run away?

To me, this is the question of change that the church forever faces.

Item 1: Jonah was called by God (scary enough right?)

Item 2: Jonah was called to give bad news….

Item 3: Jonah was called to give bad news to people he didn’t like, and they probably didn’t like him either

Item 4: Jonah was asked to tell the truth/be a prophet.

Prophecy is a very scary gift, most of us run away from prophecy. Why? Because prophecy is foreseeing the future both as is and as it could be. Prophecy is envisioning the world from both our and God’s perspective and then giving the leaders/movers/matriarchs and patriarchs a choice.

And the choice, now the choice is the issue.

So often the religious message comes across as conform or die,……
or maybe its change or die…

Funny isn’t it? The choice which once seemed so certain is suddenly difficult. Who want to conform–who wouldn’t rather be Spiritual but not Religious, after all what is religion if it isn’t another way to conform…another way of predicting who is “in” and who is “out”…its all about getting saved after all isn’t it

On the other hand, who wants to change. Hasn’t what we’ve been doing good enough…and even if it hasn’t been, we are used to it; better the devil we know and all that…..

Except neither of these are what faith is about. Later Jonah says that he ran away because he knew that God would show mercy and he basically didn’t want God to have mercy on his enemies–why should he bother.

In a time when religion is viewed as primarily judgmental, I have to ask what is it the church is running away from today? What are we Christians afraid of…

Is it conformity?

Is it change?

Or is it God’s grace and mercy? Is it that God’s plan for us requires flexibility and grace (an ability to dance through life so to speak)—flexibility and grace which are neither choice to conform or to change, but rather the ever-dance in between.

PS: Notice that to run away from one’s call is to run away from God!!!

(Note: all italics are sarcastic)

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