The Safety of a Rollercoaster

22 07 2011

My oldest son has reached the height where he can ride some rollercoasters that are pretty hairy.  I hate, dislike am very scared of rollercoasters.  The drops make me sick, the climbing click, click, click up to those drops makes my palms sweat and my stomach sink. So naturally on our recent trip to Sea World, I was the “perfect” candidate to take him on a ride called the Steel Eel.  (its pretty tame,  somewhere between the Judge Roy Scream and the “Old” Texas Giant for all you Six Flags over Texas vets out there).  I thought I will take him on one ride and we’d be done, but no he LOVED it and wanted to go again immediately.  Ugh!  Thankfully, Jennifer who was sick this last time can take him on some future rides, but on this trip, it was all on me.

My fear of rollercoasters got me thinking about why so many people seek the thrills on them.  Especially after three runs on the Steel Eel, because by the end of the third one, I was actually enjoying the drops and the climb up.  When you think about it, rollercoasters, despite all the fear and excitement that they can create, are actually quite safe.  And I believe that this is how a lot of believers approach the LORD in Christ.  We expect a great adventure, but the reality is: our relationship with Him is quite secure.

Initially, this relationship feels like it is anything but safe.  We risk a great deal, especially in the area of finding freedom from the shame of our pasts.  In the Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning describes believers as “saved sinners with tilted halos.”  The “tilted-halo gang” as he calls them have three characteristics.  The first is that they are converted from mistrust to trust in God’s grace available to them in Christ Jesus.  Second, he says that they have arrived a “poverty of spirit” that recognizes their need for that grace.   The final characteristic is probably the most difficult.  He says the saved sinner “lives as best he or she can in rigorous honesty with self, others and God.”

It is easy to be honest when you life is or hasn’t been a mess.  But, how many of us can actually claim that?  One person could, and He was killed so that I can share in His claim.  Our lives are messy, the sins we committed, the sins that have been perpetrated against us, the willful and unintentional mistakes we have made.  We are wrecks.  We have nothing to stand on.

The good news is that Jesus Christ loves you just as you are.  In all your sin, disobedience, disgrace, muck, grime, hate, etc, the God of the universe loved you.  He accepts you. He does not reject you.  He ask that you accept yourself, to “live in rigorous honesty with self” to borrow from Manning’s writing.  As we do, we understand the depth of his love.  We are freed to love others because we know the depth our own unworthiness.  Then, we can continually seek to abide in His presence.

After that, the rollercoaster doesn’t seem so dangerous. Jesus loves you, accepts you, and nothing can take that away.  All He asks is that you accept him, accept yourself, and tell somebody about it.

Have you ever experienced trust in the Lord, the “poverty of spirit,” or the rigorous honesty of the “tilted halo gang?”  If so, please share your experience in the “comments” section. If not, get ready for the rollercoaster ride of your life, and accept Jesus’ offer today.




2 responses

23 07 2011

I like that “tilted halo gang” thing–funny! I think most of us probably think of ourselves as being either unworthy of the halo, or with it being “perfectly aligned”. 🙂 Tilted is the best way to imagine it.

24 07 2011
Greg Poppy

I often feel like one who is unworthy, and I have to remember the truth. Wiithout Christ, I am unworthy because His worth is imparted to me by my faith in Him. I agree “tilted” is the best way to think of it.

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