(Jesus said) “If you are going to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the outlay to see if you have enough money to complete the project? You’d do that for fear of laying the foundation and then not being able to complete the work – because anyone who saw it would jeer at you and say, ‘You started a building and couldn’t finish it.’ Or if the leaders of one country were going to declare whether, with an army of ten thousand, they could win against an enemy coming against them with twenty thousand? If they couldn’t, they’d send a delegation while the enemy is still at a distance, asking for terms of peace.
“So count the cost. You can’t be my disciple if you don’t say goodbye to all of your possessions.”
|Stamina by Leslie Rhoades|
“Think it through.” “It,” in the context of the Gospel According to Luke, is the cost of following Jesus. At this stage in the gospel we are being prepared for the question of whether or not we can follow Jesus into rejection, humiliation, and death.
It seems to me a portion of the world-wide queer community lives with these dynamics on a daily bases. Our sisters and brothers in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East still await the recognition of rights hard won in Europe, parts of the Americas, and Australia. We may do well to flip the question and ask, “Is Christ willing to join us in our rejection, humiliation, and death at the hands of the church of which Christ is the head?” As I have explored in other posts (Jesus Died A Queer's Death, Queer-Centric Christology) I believe the answer is yes.
Yet, I digress. The question in the parable is not about Christ, but whether or not we have thought it through. Have we weighed the pros and cons? Do we understand the risks? The dangers? The thrills?
Jesus seems to have had issues with enthusiasts – seeds that sprout and die, people who call him good but don’t listen, and those who start excited but waver. This is not to imply that enthusiasm should be shunned. The fire which lights excitement about life, and energizes us for living large should be fed and stoked regularly.
At the same time we should be peering forward as far as our imagination will allow. We should be discerning the question – what does this entail? Can I live with the difficulties that will arise?
Some “closet” dynamics may be raised here. I believe the decision to be in or out of the closet is a very personal issue. One group cannot point its finger at the other and say “you are wrong.” Some good queer folk have discerned they cannot live with the consequences of coming out. Other, just as good queer folk, have discerned they cannot live with the consequences of staying in. Being in or out of the closet is not a rivalry, it is a discernment of the cost of being a sexual minority in a particular location.
The reward of foresight is stamina or stick-to-itness. I love the look on the woman's face in Rhoades figure, set and determined against the wind? the future? the obstacles? she faces. You know she will remain strong and whole. There is great intregrity in her face.
I admit that as a child of the microwave generation I rarely think past the next three to five minutes. Yet stick-to-itness, rather in my principals, for a cause, or with friends and family builds the ability to be trusted, the ability to honor and hold secure the vulnerability of another person.
Count the cost. Discern. Be prepared. Offer stick-to-itness – stamina – to those with whom you throw in your lot. Now that’s sexy.