Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Revoluntionary Smarts

Who is the smartest person you know?

When I was five, I probably would have said my dad or my mom. Close to 20 years later, I am aware that while they are incredibly smart people, they are not the smartest I know.

Junior high and high school introduced me to a world of scientist, philosophers, and writers who at one time or other where probably the smartest people I could name--Einstein, Thoreau, Faulkner, MLK, Steven Hawking, Plato, Socrates, Leonardo, so on and so forth.

College introduced professors, modern and post-modern thinkers, theologians, socialists, etc.

But now, right now, today, who is the smartest person I know or know of?

I want to entertain what, as I read it last night, was a revolutionary idea for me--though I can't get past the fact that it shouldn't be so revolutionary. It makes perfect sense.

The smartest person I know is Jesus. The smartest man to ever walk this earth was Jesus--Rabboni as those closest to him knew him.

Currently Ike and I are walking our way through The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard and discussing Willard's radical (and yet somehow not quite so radical) theories of Christianity. As I read last night, I was hit over the head with the idea that Jesus really is smart.

He knew how to change molecular structure to turn common H2O to wine. He knew the ultimate antibodies for any disease. He could literally create matter from energy. "He knew how to suspend gravity, interrupt weather patterns, and eliminate unfruitful trees without ax or saw." Ethically, his understanding of life has influenced the world more than any man prior to him and any after. "And one of the greatest testimonies to his intelligence is surely that the knew how to enter physical death, actually to die, and then live on beyond death. He seized death by the throat and defeated it. Forget cryonics!"

What convicts me is this: how can I say that "Jesus is Lord" but not believe that Jesus is also smart? What teacher do I need besides Jesus who fully embodied God in his mortal flesh?

I am convicted that so often I find myself being a Beth Moore disciple, a Steven Covey disciple, a Tony Campolo disciple (insert any name of any teacher--big name or not, Christian or not). All of these people are wonderful teachers whom God has blessed with great talents. Yet I am convicted that Jesus, the smartest man ever, should always be my first and primary teacher. I need to be a disciple--radical follower--of Christ and Christ only. When Jesus is truly my Rabboni, then the truths spoken by other "lesser" teachers more fully enrich what Jesus teaches me.

Not long ago, I was impacted by the image of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb as told by John. When Mary recognized Jesus, "she turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means 'Teacher'). Jesus said, 'Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father...'" (John 20:16-17).

Did you catch that? Did you catch the intimacy between Mary and her Jesus, her "Rabboni"? Mary's first response to this Jesus who she loved, this tender-hearted Jesus who had loved her in her lowest moment, was to reach out to embrace him. She knew Jesus intimately. That is the Teacher I desire. I desire to know Jesus as Mary knew him. Not as Messiah, Christ, Lamb of God, Lord of Lords--though he certainly is all those things. But as Jesus, my Rabboni, who is intimately known by me and I am intimately known by him. My perfect, most intelligent, teacher.

Friday, February 03, 2006

What's the saying? When it rains, it pours?

I really feel that saying today. Recently my '99 Chevy Blazer decided that it was tired. In being tired, he decided to rebel totally in order meet that felt need.

It began a few months ago when my driver's side door literally fell off. With the door hanging only from the bottom hinge, Emily and I bungied the door to the driver's seat and drove to Mackin's Auto Body. Apparently this is a common problem (though I had never heard of it happening) for trucks and SUVs.

A few weeks after getting my car back, I came outside to find the rear passenger's side tire completely flat. Tire completely damaged, cannot be prepared. New set of tires. In the midst of getting the new tires and getting them aligned, Les Schwab discovered that two parts were missing. Just missing. Apparently not a huge problem because they let me drive until the parts came in.

In the midst of the tire fiasco, my windshield got a huge crack in it. New windshield.

Then last night I noticed that my brakes were making a funny noise and were taking longer to stop the car. Mental note: Make time to get the brakes checked. Might have even done it this afternoon or tomorrow if my front bumper had not become so intimate with the rear bumper of a Toyota Tacoma.

I was on my way to pick up Alasha from work who, ironically, had gotten in a wreck about a week ago, leaving the Maxwell's carless. The Tacoma was stopped, blinker on, waiting to make a left-hand turn. I applied my brakes, shoved my foot to the floor, and between faulty brakes and wet roads slid right under him.

I tried to put the car in reverse and pull us apart so we could move to the side of the road. Didn't work. We were stuck together. It took the tow-truck guy about 45 minutes to pull us apart.

Driver of the Tacoma: 15-year-old Josh, Mom in the passenger seat. Poor kid. Not something you want to happen after you just finish driving school. They were incredibly nice about the whole thing. They live in Northeast Portland, as well, and attend Beaverton Four-Square Church. Of all the people I could have crashed into, I crashed into a couple of Christians (honestly not the most likely scenario in Portland). By the end of the whole messy scene, we were all standing around laughing. The tow-truck guy even commented that we were probably some of the happiest people after a wreck that he had ever seen.

We are all fine. Some soreness, but fine. My car is now back at Mackin's Auto Body (who I highly recommend, by the way). It drives fine--with the exception of the brakes--and hopefully has only cosmetic damage. We'll see...

Now feels like the time that I should "curse God and die" per the advice of Job's wife. The attacks on my car have been in conjunction with myriad attacks in other areas of my life. A lot of me says "I'm done," just done and ready to head Home--the heavenly home that is. But right now, I'm laughing. I think it is incredibly funny! After all its just a possession, and if piece by piece destroying my car is all the Enemy can muster, than Bring it on! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger is another saying I know. And I think somewhere I heard something about learning to be content in all circumstances and doing all things through Christ who strengthens me--check out Philippians.

In my laughter, I do ask for prayers. Pray for Josh and his Mom Michelle. I know this shook him up, and I saw some glimpses of some rougher things that are going on for them. Pray for an end to the attacks on myself and many others at PUMP who have had a lot of similar things happening. Pray for me to keep laughing and for joy to come in the midst of trial. Thanks!