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The Crossing Blog

The Walls We Build

Posted by Tim Couper on

A few months ago my wife Jess and I decided to drive up to Boston over spring break. By the time that Sunday morning rolled around, I was EXHAUSTED, and its not like we were going to our home church, this would be a new church, full of new people, with new questions, and new coffee, and probably no free cookies. Lame.

When I got to the church that we were visiting that morning, I was feeling highly uncomfortable. I had my internal walls up so high that even as I shook several very welcoming peoples hands, I don’t think that I connected with them at all. I smiled back and said hi, but I knew that they weren’t seeing me, because I was busy building walls to separate my emotions, my exhaustion, and my brokenness from the façade of a happy church attendee that I knew I should be projecting.

Lately I’ve been noticing that we human beings spend an awfully large percentage of our time building walls. People build them for all kinds of reasons: we’re too busy; we’re too tired; we don’t like new things; we don’t like old things; we are lonely; we are broken. Our instinct is to build walls and hide ourselves away safely.

This is isn’t a new phenomenon. We’ve been hiding ourselves behind walls for as long we’ve been broken. All the way back in Genesis 3:7-8 we find Adam and Eve falling from perfection to brokenness and their first action was to make clothes out of leaves to cover (hide?) themselves from each other. Then when God decides to go for a nice stroll through the garden at twilight, Adam and Eve decide to hide from Him in the woods, literally behind a wall of trees.

It’s normal for us human beings to fear vulnerability, so we build walls to contain our brokenness. We build walls to protect those we care about from experiencing the depths of our sorrow. We build walls to protect our egos and reputations from the judgmental attitudes of others, and we build walls to keep face in a world of expectations.

I wonder if this is part of why Jesus told parables. Could it be that Jesus told stories because a good story can break through the walls that we build around us? Those walls that we mean to protect our pride, to hide our shame, to shield our brothers from our pain sometimes come between us and our Father.

So we find ourselves in a church on a Sunday morning disconnected from God and from each other. It’d be tempting to say our disconnection is sinfulness, and I honestly believed that for a long time. Now I am coming to understand that the brokenness that is a part of each cell and atom of this world often leads us not into temptation, but into building walls that we scratch and claw at, but often are too small, too weak, too frail, too human to climb or break down. Building walls isn’t sinning against God or against a neighbor, it’s an attempt to cope with a broken world. We don’t need to repent of our walls, we need to recognize them and find a way to break through the brokenness.

Jesus told stories that broke through walls. He told stories that turned cultures, emotions, social roles, and expectations upside down. He took the walls that His disciples built, the walls that His parents built, the walls that his Rabbi’s built, and tore their walls down with stories.

How do we tell stories like that? In a world of media- of sounds, lights, videos, of Instagram and Facebook, of ESPN and Google news feeds, how do we tell stories like Jesus told?

It is my hope that through this blog we can dialogue as a community on topics like how we use our church services to speak truths into our community, into our culture, into our lives, and to break down the walls that bind us. Or about how we leverage sermons, music, lights, videos, and social media to speak Jesus’ love into the world around us. I hope by asking the question of “why do we do church the way we do it” that we can seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance on where He is leading us next.

 

Tags: broken, brokenness, church, jesus, stories, sunday, sunday morning, vulnerable, walls

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