Sunday, October 4, 2009

Passion is Contagious

The story of my life often comes down simply to the struggle between my addiction to passion and my addiction to apathy. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

Sometimes I meet people or see musicians perform who I just connect to in a specific way, who I begin to admire and to hold a very high respect for. At first it was something indefinable. I just knew that I really liked Bryan of VOTA in a way I didn't like the other bands who played at the Newsboys show. I knew I liked Kevin of Disciple so much that his music took on a whole new meaning after seeing him perform. I knew that after just seeing a few quotes from Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, he became one of my heroes. I knew that there was a reason why I really fell in love with Skillet after seeing them live for the first time. Eventually it hit me. What meant so much to me was passion. Every single one of those people I connected to was incredibly, intensely passionate about the message they had to share, about living for what they believed in.

We live in a world that loves standing still. Movement scares us, because there's always the chance that things will go off track, that we'll fall or run into something or lose our way or end up getting separated from everyone we know. Standing still is just easier. But is it really living if we don't go anywhere? Apathy may protect us (see Relient K: emotional attachment is really not a threat when I'm really not concerned), but it also bars us from the most beautiful things in life.

Sometimes I wonder how often most Christians think about the fact that their faith is a life and death matter, in the most literal way possible. Christianity isn't an attitude, or a face we can assume, or a set of religious behaviors, or rules, even though we so often belittle it into being no more than these things (one reason why I almost never use the word “Christian” to describe myself; it's been defaced). Christianity is life, in stark contrast to the death those without Christ experience. Not only are we given this incredible gift of life, but the price to give us this was death-- the death of the one person who didn't deserve it. In return, He asks for something simple and yet incredible. He wants us, a surrender, a sacrifice of self.

It is such a crime to reduce this to nothing more than a label, than going to church on Sundays and trying to be an OK person. It's even worse to infect it with apathy.

If we've been given this rebirth, and we've been given one shot at shining in the darkness of this world, you'd think we'd make the best of it. But it's not easy to feel, it's not easy to believe. Because in the end living for something means dying to everything else. It's easier not to take those steps at all.

After both walking some dark and broken roads and floating in indescribable light and beauty, I've learned that pain is not the thing we should fear the most. We should not fear joy either, even if we know it might end at any moment. What we should fear most is to be numb, the void of emptiness. To be numb, to not feel at all, is to stand still.

I watched a trailer for Switchfoot's new album today. Jon Foreman said some things about the process behind writing the album, about the conclusion they reached after frustrations. “They didn't feel like the type of songs you wanted to die singing. And for Hello Hurricane that became the prerequisite for the song. If you're not crying, why are you singing it? If you don't believe it with every ounce of you, then there's no point in singing it.” What if we lived like that? What if we moved for things that mattered, even when it hurt?

Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf said it this way: “If you're waking up living for something you won't die for, why are you living for it?” If we claim the gift offered by Christ, what we are claiming is a rescue from death, being carried into a brilliant new life. Are we going to throw that away by standing on the edge-- not dead, but not willing to really live either?

One day when coming up with text that would go in my profile on a forum, I was looking at my avatar for inspiration. It was a picture of John Cooper on stage. I randomly typed the phrase “Passion is Contagious.” It stuck. Because honestly, passion shines. I want to be the kind of person who is so alive, so passionate for Christ, so willing to live and to die for love and for hope that the people around me see His light shining bright in the darkness. Jesus died for us. The least we can do in return is to live for Him.

I want to live for love.
- Elraen -


Elyiana said...


Thanks, again, Raen.

I hope that nothing ever is able to take that desire away from you.

Liz said...

I think this is my favorite blog of yours so far, really I love everything you've said here, and I believe you are absolutely correct. A certain book doesn't have anything to do with some of these thoughts does it? lol just wondering =)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Raen. :) That was really beautiful. It touched me. I now feel a renewed passion to live my life to its fullest, no matter what I have to do. -- Angel