I have two teenaged boys. Every once in a while they develop what can best be described as an “attitude.” Please do not read this as a positive thing! Their negative attitudes can be quite diverse. One moment I am a lousy incredibly unfair parent and the next they see no reason to participate in family activities. They argue about the importance of homework, getting enough sleep, going to church, and the friends they hang out with. During every one of these discussions they spend a significant amount of time ranting about how uninformed and out of touch I am. None of this is good for my self-esteem. I cannot help but wonder how often I cop an attitude with God. For example, I am the Executive Director of DOOR. In my mind this means I need to be powerful. For me, power has something to do with an ability to control. Then I read Scripture and Jesus seems to contradict this idea. For Him power is about service and self-sacrifice. On paper this sounds almost idyllic, but in reality service and sacrifice can be view as indicators of weakness.
Can you imagine living life as a servant? Servants are people who need to figure out how to survive under the power of a master. What happens if the master is evil? Aren’t Christians called to defeat evil? If we are going to win this battle then we need to be people of power.
Donald Kraybill is credited with coining the term “Upside-Down Kingdom.” This is another way of thinking about what Jesus was called his followers to. In this kingdom everything we know about leadership and power is reversed. Enemies are to be viewed as future friends. Non-violence is always the response to violence, even when terrorists attack. Service to others, regardless of social position, is always the starting point for relationship.
Living and acting this way is counter-cultural. Living counter-culturally is not easy; sometimes it leads to copping an attitude with God.