Downward, Upward, and Forward Behind Jesus

Jarrett Banks Red Stole

I have decided to change the title of my blog from “Stumbling, Bumbling, and Fumbling Behind Jesus” to “Downward, Upward, and Forward Behind Jesus.” Here’s why:

With “Stumbling, Bumbling, and Fumbling,” I wanted to make the point that I am an imperfect person on a flawed journey attempting to be a follower of Jesus. However, I have decided that “Stumbling, Bumbling, and Fumbling” may place more emphasis on my imperfections, weaknesses and shortcomings, than it does on God’s extravagant grace. With “Downward, Upward and Forward,” I hope to make it less about what I am doing or not doing, and make it more about what God is doing and will do.

It is my hope that “Downward” emphasizes humility, but also what Henri Nouwen calls “the downward mobility” of Jesus. Throughout the gospels, Jesus is portrayed as one who: moves down to sit at the lowest seat at the table; bends down to wash the disciples feet; stoops down to welcome small children; crouches down to defend, befriend and forgive the sinner; reaches down to serve the poor; lowers himself down to accept the outcast, to touch the leper, to welcome the foreigner, to heal the sick, to raise the dead and to pick up and carry his cross.

It is my hope that “Upward,” which comes after “Downward,” emphasizes a willingness to always humbly rise up, speak up, and stand up against the evils and injustices of our world. I do not wish to be a minister who is more mainstream than upstream, and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “…more cautious than courageous.” I pray that I will always resist the temptation to remain silently “behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.”

It is my hope that “Forward” emphasizes a faith that is progressively moving forward into the gracious promise of God’s future for all people and for all creation. I seek to follow behind the Christ who always leads from out ahead, drawing us into God’s future: beckoning, welcoming, loving, renewing, restoring, and resurrecting.

I will certainly continue to “stumble, bumble and fumble” along behind Jesus, as my journey as a follower of Christ will continue to be flawed; however, with the extravagant grace of God, I hope to follow in a way that is always “downward, upward, and forward.”

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