I miss red dirt. Old downtown buildings with painted signs have historic charm, and even the buzz of traffic makes for a soothing morning. But you never forget dirt that binds at the molecular level to your shoes and crawls up your jeans and ruins your socks. If you can simply wipe it away, it’s not real dirt.
The crunch, the immediacy of the earth—both disappear with concrete. You get potholes and rocks and cars spraying water and radiant heat. You’re also several inches away from anything real. We’ve separated ourselves from the ground to make the way smoother, but cut ourselves off from the rough soil.
I dislike the word Christian for the same reason. Greeks once used the term as an epithet—it stuck. But the first witnesses and the people persuaded by those witnesses preferred following “the Way.” Usually, they died for it.
Christian—the word—functions like a layer of insulation. It protects people from the get-dirty-and-pick-up-the-cross core of what Christ commanded us to do. We can hide behind the term instead of being disciples and making disciples, instead of serving, loving, and giving. It’s safe, paved over.
Safe isn’t the point.