In Cities of Self-inflation, Urban Christians Rep Their Weakness
Inflated professional accolades, idyllic Instagram feeds, every side hustle more noble than the next. The city is a pressure cooker of differentiation and competition, demanding that we present ourselves as far more important and accomplished and put together than we actually are. If we took a hard look at the outcome, we’d probably find that we have actually grown through the process, but no way could we live up to the heavily filtered, obnoxiously photoshopped facades that we’ve presented to the world. After all, what are the odds that you’ll tell a prospective employer how you suffer from poor attention to detail and like to call in sick once in a while so you can brunch while enjoying the glorious dog days of summer?
I will boast in my weakness.
We as Christians are called to own our shortcomings, weaknesses and if I’m being honest, true ugliness. Paul wrote But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) So, am I proud of the times I’ve publicly berated people to the point that an apology was necessary and likely required to salvage the relationship? No. Am I fond of my inability to concentrate and remember simple details that any other person would easily retain? Not even a little. Do I wish these to continue? No. Is Jesus glorified as my only hope in this life? Absolutely.
Let’s make sure everyone knows that we are not the smartest people in the room, that we respect everyone for their unique value, and that we don’t have it all together. Let’s show our brokenness, be vulnerable even when it is hard, and humble ourselves no matter the circumstance. Jesus did it, but I get it, he lived 2000 years ago and was the son of God. #HeStillLives, but let’s talk about another great example.
Humility on the world stage today.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the head of one of the oldest continuously functioning international institution in the world with 1.2B members globally. He is a man of immense power and yet, he returns fan mail with personal calls, seeks out the least prestigious chair in any room, refuses to ride in company’s Mercedes limo, and even stops on the side of the road when he encounters people in need, often poor or sick.
If you don’t know by now, we’re talking about Pope Francis, the current presiding head of the Catholic church, and oh how Christians - Catholic, protestant, evangelical, baptist, and whatever else - need a leader like this. Upon election, he took the name Francis to honor St. Francis of Assisi, “the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation,” (Catholic News Service). He is in the company of exactly zero other popes who made that name choice. Following his election as pope, Francis returned to his hotel to pay his bill out of his own pocket, which any upstanding citizen would, but certainly a man in his position never needed to. But he lives in the Apostolic Palace, right? Wrong. Pope Francis lives in the Vatican guesthouse so he can “live a normal life”. When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he also shunned the archbishop’s palace for a small apartment while schlepping around the city on public transit and cooking his own meals. I feel like it’s time to stop beating a dead horse, but how can I when I haven’t even gotten to his washing the feet of 12 criminals (including women and Muslims) on Holy Thursday and taking a minor detour to the insanely dangerous slums of Rio de Janeiro during his visit to Brazil.
When I hear about people like that, my soul gets off the couch and does a very energetic, spirited, but undoubtedly lame looking dance. Check this guy, walking this earth, under a lot more conformist pressure than I’ll ever experience, temptations of this life always pressing him. If he can do it through Jesus’ grace, so can I and so can you. That’s why I will boast of my weakness and strive to live more humbly every day. Will you join me?
Ashim D’Silva @randomlies