12 July 2011

The Power of Ugly

Been reading "The Power of Ugly" by Jamie Stilson on the recommendation of a friend.  It's about taking off religious masks and understanding that we are flawed, that God's grace is reflected in our weaknesses and not in our ability to handle everything that comes at us with grace and aplomb.

Some quotes that have stood out to me:

"It is so easy to give others the truth of the Bible and never care enough to hear their story."

"...the truth that Jesus' resurrection was the beginning of the New Creation that God has promised - the restoration of all things.  His resurrection promised that our bodies will live again in a new heaven and new earth (2 Pet 3:13) - and this gives hope to all of creation!  This hope is the guarantee that nothing we do in Jesus' name is ever wasted."

"In the midst of all his loss and suffering, Job's answer to all of God's questions was to lay his understanding at the feet of the one he worshipped."

"Trust must replace questions if we are going to move past pretty worship and experience Ugly Worship.  Who God is must be enough, or the answers to our questions will become our god."

"After meany years of seeking and following Jesus, I have found this to be my experience, too.  It does not weaken my faith to have more questions than answers; it strengthens it."

"Isaiah saw himself in the light of the glory of who Jesus was...All Isaiah could say, as he marveled at this glorious Jesus, was 'Woe is me!' (Isa 6:5, KJV).  He was being broken.  Like grapes, the sweetness doesn't come until after the crushing.  What feels like being brutally broken often transforms us into people who are more like Jesus."

 It's a reminder that God can use us despite our imperfections rather than us needing to be or act like some perfect creature.  It's not that bumper sticker adage of "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven"; rather that sometimes being broken, being flawed and being "ugly" to use Jamie's phraseology can serve God much better than attempted perfection.

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