Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Holiness isn't white, it's green.


So much emphasis in my spiritual formation has been on being "set apart" from the world . . . we love words like pure, righteous, sanctified . . . and I don't think it was intended, but the impression was given of being somehow more than human . . . a white that can't be touched and that doesn't get it's hands dirty . . . the kind of impossible white that only exists in toothpaste ads but you'd never find in real life . . .

. . . and maybe it is our pursuit of white-ness,  that keeps the church so disconnected with the world . . . not just set-apart: absent.

. . . the world has no need for our holiness, our whiteness . . .

because white is busy taking great care of itself.


Green is rooted in the dirt; unglamorous, messy 
living, growing, giving . .. 
twisting, breathing, unfolding . . . 
making room, reaching out, 
pointing up.


Green breathes and touches and feels and needs.

Green is fearless and hopeful and joyfully alive.

Those of us who spend our lives pursuing white are dormant.
We are introspective and worried.
We feel guilty a lot.
We sense a need to define things, and so we label it ministry, calling, service.

Green is not conscious of itself at all.  Green just grows.
    and gives.




Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars and the moon - all these are, and what a ministration they exert. So often we mar God's designed influence through us by our self-conscious effort to be consistent and useful. . . . .
The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole us and talk to us, but those who live their lives like the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field, perfectly simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mould us.
If you want to be of use to God, get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make you of use unconsciously every minute you live.    -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 18

5 comments:

Becky said...

i love this, jess! so very true! i like how you put it that "white is busy taking care of itself"....i have so been there myself. and it really its true that when i am busy trying to live the perfect, clean, white, holy life....it's all about me. green is SOOO ABOUT HIM!! :) thanks for your inspiration! luv. ;)

Heather of the EO said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours EVER. And that's saying a lot. Thank you.

Jo@Mylestones said...

YES! I love this perspective.
Makes me think of how Jesus rebuked the "white-washed sepluchres" but spoke so much of green--of bearing fruit, of planting seeds, of taking root....and even in Psalm 1..how the righteous man will be like a tree....
This is packed with truth, and you say it in such a gorgeous way. Thank you.

amanda said...

ah "white": leaving aside Malcolm X's points about racism inherent to the hegemony of English speakers...I think the problem with a whitened hierarchy is that "white" from the perspective of holiness would be white light=the combination of all colors in reflection of the sun, but humans see the "white" of the untouched page--unsullied, unused: the largely worthless crayon from crayola boxes around the western world--i may not be as into green as i am brown or orange or periwinkle, but it does seem telling that the only times i can remember "white" in scripture are when God uses the term: once to describe His work to cleanse sin...and once to describe mans work to cover up their deadly eventual consequence...
-t-

Meg Martin said...

i just happened to come across your blog and i loved this post!