Resurrection is not possible without death. Rev. Charles Moore knew about resurrection and his fullest revelation of death came about quite violently. The flickering flame at the front of his funeral reminded us of the immolation and alluded to the endless possibilities of resurrection. The world is on fire and Moore wanted us to follow him into the flames.
The death of Rev. Moore is a call to radical discipleship. The problem is that radical discipleship is not taught or even valued in our churches. We want borders and boundaries. We want identities and labels. We want an “us and them” kind of world. There is nothing radical about such normative and violent constructions. We have grown so comfortable with not being like the ones we have othered. The call of Jesus is not “other than them.” The call of Jesus is to a love so radically beyond borders that your love engulfs friend and foe alike.
When Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas claimed Jesus would construct a border fence, I watched person after person trip over each other on Facebook and Twitter to bash the man. Then what? Radical discipleship comes after the bashing (or perhaps after not participating in the bashing in the first place) and is found in the loving that is the doing. Why are we not working to take down all borders? Why do we believe there is anything righteous about living behind a border in the first place? For the follower of Jesus there should be no immigration debate…we are called to be a people that refuses to let any border come between us and loving someone else. Daring to try and live beyond borders is a radical step. Loving Dr. Jeffress is divine.
Bishop Yvette Flunder declared in worship today at the Cathedral of Hope, “We serve a both/and kind of God.” I am ready for the church to be a both/and kind of church. Fling the doors wide open! Don’t let any normative identities or borders get in our way. We must realize that “How do you identify?” or “Where are you from?” are not Gospel questions. God does not care how you identify or where you are from if you can’t love your neighbor or your enemies. If you want to follow Jesus…then follow him across the borders and into the flames.