Tightrope – The Christian Walk

There’s a Christian radio station in Florida whose slogan is “Always safe for the little ears.” The opening lines of “Tightrope” reminded me of this:
Some people long for a life that is simple and planned
Tied with a ribbon
Some people won’t sail the sea ’cause they’re safer on land
To follow what’s written
And that’s always been my problem with this station. It’s false advertising to say to a follower of Jesus that they will be safe. I know what they mean is, your kids won’t be exposed to a constant barrage of lyrics about sex and drugs. But, if they’re doing it right, they can’t possibly say that following the way of Jesus is safe.
Putting God first means risking everything you have. His first followers were all martyred, and from the time of Jesus till today, the one constant has been that Christians have been called to sacrifice their lives for the Gospel. The 20th century saw more martyrs than the 19 before it, and the trend continues in places like Egypt today.
Why? What is it that makes someone offer up their life for a religion?
The truth is, they don’t. Not for a religion. They give up everything they have to follow a person; more precisely, a personal God who they are madly in love with, and who is madly in love with them.
It’s not unusual to hear something in a song about romantic love and say, “Hey, that could apply to faith.” (Confession: In a class my freshman year called “Faith and Imagination”, I snuck into the classroom the night before class and covered the chalkboard with a question about whether God was really just the sum of earthly love, and listed some of the great pop songs that could go in the “hymnal.” I don’t understand why I didn’t get a better grade in that class.)
Here’s what sounds…faithful in this:
But I’d follow you to the great unknown
Off to a world we call our own
Hand in my hand and we promised to never let go
We’re walking the tightrope
High in the sky
We can see the whole world down below
We’re walking the tightrope
Never sure, never know how far we could fall
But it’s all an adventure
That comes with a breathtaking view
Walking the tightrope
With you
You pulled me in and together we’re lost in a dream
Always in motion
So I risk it all just to be with you
And I risk it all for this life we choose
 In fact, the Charity Barnum character in some ways best reflects the Christian life. She is joyful and creative and loving and hopeful and trusting but not blind. She knows what she is giving up: safety, comfort, acceptance. Yet she does it not just willingly but gleefully because of her love for P.T. Barnum even knowing he is nothing but risk and promise. That is the walk of faith on the tightrope of Christian life.
If what you want for the little ears in your life is truly safety, keep them the heck away from the Gospel.
If you want them to be fully alive and enjoy the breathtaking view that comes with that full life, well, that’s another story.

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