David-the-Artist-Pastor first started my train of thought on this by bringing up criticism he received from other Christians for practicing yoga. It started me wondering....
Why is it important to them that he stop?
As I've thought about this, I think the issue is as much a theological one as it is personal...
The Christianity I was raised in focused way more on the cross than the resurrection.
Think about it...
The Cross = suffering, pain, sin, abandonment
Resurrection = redemption, possibility, healing, power
Like the evening news, we are far more focused on what's wrong in the world than what is being healed, and we look at the past with rose colored glasses as if the world used to be good and now it is getting worse. (Regardless of what your grandfather says about the decline of morality, the recent past contains Hitler, racism, abuse of women, hypocrisy and greed.)
What if the world is actually getting better? What if the stories Christ told about the kingdom of heaven are true and it really is like yeast working through bread?
I think that idea is difficult for us to accept. For one thing, we tend to define the "kingdom of heaven" as our particular brand of Christianity. We have so narrowed it to our particular list of beliefs that we lose the practice of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness in our efforts to get people to think about things the same way we do.
If we are waiting for everyone to rally around a set of beliefs, we will have a very long wait. (Committee meetings anyone?) But if we are participating in the redemption of the world by doing the internal work necessary so that the Holy Spirit becomes more and more evident in our lives, then that is another—and I believe a more Biblical—story.
What if the resurrection work is about bringing the fruit of the Spirit into the world? And what if that is happening all around us, but we are so focused on it not looking like we thought it would that we miss it?
Our focus has to change. We cannot see the planks in our own eyes, if our vision is on the specks in our brother's eyes. When we stop wasting moments drawing our lines externally and start investing those moments communing with the Holy Spirit, we bring the kingdom of heaven here. We participate in resurrection because we ourselves are being resurrected.
It is sheer arrogance to use ourselves and our limited understanding as the standard. The Holy Spirit is here and present. We have to put down our Facebook rants and our political discourse to receive what is here and now. We like the lines because they make us feel like we've arrived. It is a far more humbling thing to allow the Spirit to do the work inside of us because He inevitably exposes the places we haven't.