They Weren’t Hypocrites When They Got Here

A common objection to the Gospel of Christ is:

CHURCH IS FULL OF HYPOCRITES.

I wish there were another word, because this one makes me thing of Cockroaches.  Don’t ask me why. It has since I was little.

I digress.

Cockroaches.  I mean, hypocrites.

Yes, the church is full of them.  Because, as with every place you go, your business there is not necessarily about your “business”.  Meaning, say, you are a hiker.  And your dry cleaner is a hiker. When you go into the dry cleaners, he knows you’re there to pick up your pants.  You do business for years without ever finding out that you have the interest in common.  Unless you see him on the trail. Because you aren’t there to discuss your hobbies, you are there to do business.

When you are in church, you are there to worship, God, fellowship with others, be equipped to live out your faith.

Not air your dirty laundry.

We are ordinary human beings, no more able to attain to our ideals, than to leap off the roof and fly.

When someone objects to consorting with people who are not living what they believe, they are rejecting the man in the mirror.

Who does Jesus love more?  The guy who never makes a mistake?  Or the guy who can own his @#$%?  The sinner?  Or the guy who thinks he isn’t one?

The Bible is conclusive.  Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  He died for our sins.  Not our excuses, not our rationalizations,or good reasons.  My children will put me in an early grave telling me the ‘good reasons’ they don’t need to do what I say, the way I say to freaking do it. How God must feel when we do the same to Him?

The church is called the Body of Christ.  The body, at least where I live, is sick.  It’s members are plagued.  Living lives of pain and degradation, while showing up every Sunday and making fashionable, interesting, competitive, Christian chatter.

We’re shaving, showing up, and shmiling.  Sitting the pew.  Dying on the inside.

I’m an oddball.  My business is usually out there.  I’m constitutionally unable to act fine when I’m crumbling. Dealing with stuff head on.    People don’t like that.

2013 sucked. I found out about a lot of hurting people.

A.  Lot.

Not just the messy public ones.

Lots of men.  Who are supposed to be initiators, protectors, leaders.

Lots of kids.  Who we’re supposed to be loving and teaching the way to go.

We didn’t start out as hypocrites, but somewhere along the line, we forgot Jesus, like Billy Joel, preferred the sinners for dinner companions.*

That the prodigal’s dad was waiting for him to come home.  To party.

That the prodigal guy was sick of his sin.  A real hypocrite isn’t.

At our house, we don’t act like it didn’t happen.  If I yelled at Mickey, I yelled.  If I threw a book, I threw it.  If they told me they hated me, I said, “I know, but we’re talking about chores, right now.”

I get the impression that isn’t what’s going on around the community.

Kids are feeling like it’s burdensome and uncool to do what Jesus did.  Act out of love for the Father and others.  All the time.

Hypocrite?  That’s God’s call.

Sinner.  Yeah.*

The fault line is under pressure.  The tremors are coming.

We are about to get shook.

Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prescription for Trust

It’s frightening to be diagnosed with something real.  It’s more frightening to stop eating and sleeping and know you should both eat and sleep, but not feel the hunger or the exhaustion.  Still more terrifying, is to have felt a moment of sheer joy…

And lose it in a chemical cocktail…  The first prescription locked me out at the top of the range of emotion and focus and energy.  The second, has me locked out at the bottom.

I can’t think about myself.  I sat in a conversation the other day, and I couldn’t take the question: “What is God emptying you of and what is He filling you with?”; and apply it to myself.  I could understand the answers others gave, but I couldn’t answer it for myself.

I apologized to my sisters for sitting in silence in a very personal and vulnerable conversation(as I am typically a sharer, a feeder back and a verbal processor); because I didn’t want my silence to be attributed to anger or offense.  And I began to cry.  Well, now.  If I can’t complete a thought as it applies to my own heart, mind, and spirit.  What am I crying about?

Fear?  There is actually no middle ground between mania and misery. I can understand you, but I am a stranger to myself.  I can’t connect.

Anger?  This is the very reason I’ve avoided doctors and diagnosis for years.

So…

I go to the auditorium.  There, waiting for the good stuff to begin, is a new friend– the one  I just wanted to get to know because she’s raised such remarkable children.  She stopped me and asked me how I was doing.

I broke down.  I was so embarrassed.  I am still today, 4 days later.  So weak.  So out of control.  At this point, so ugly, as this was my second cry in an hour.

She understood.  She knew what I was going through.

She took me by both arms and stared me in the eyes and said, “God is with you.  He is with you.”  Over and over.

I locked on her eyes.

I’ve seen them all week, when I’ve heard her words.

I can see them now.

It was only this morning(or last night, I’m really not sure.  It was dark.), that I understood them.

I cannot feel anything.  I cannot do any higher order thinking.  I cannot connect on anything deeper than surface level (Hi, you are wearing a red shirt today.).

God is still here.

He hears my hunger for connection.  He knows I remember the spiritual moments I had when I could feel thankfulness, intimacy, and delight.  He knows that the memory is slipping away. Even though, I can’t even think or reason or decide or pray–He is still here and still actively protecting me and providing for me and the ones I am supposed to be caring for who shouldn’t be having to take so much care of me.

He is here.  He knows my thoughts and my lying down and my going out.

He is here with me, right now.

It turns out she understands better than I do myself.

She’s been through it and had to learn that the hard way, I guess.

So I stare back in those sparkling eyes.  And drop into her aching arms.

To wait until My Deliverer passes by.

 

 

 

Lust: A Christmas Tutorial

The youth group has a question box.  You can put a question in and the leaders will take a little time on Wednesday evening to answer it.  Several weeks ago, someone asked if the word lust had only to do with sex.  Pretty good question.

Did I forget to mention that only men are allowed to teach mixed groups of people at our church?

Yeah.

So the person, who answered this, answered in the negative; that there is also a lust for power.  His example, people who run for public office.  Regardless of political party.

That was all.

It has troubled me for the entire time, that he didn’t talk about all the other drives of the flesh that we indulge.

I tried to bring the example of the desire to drive the “then-new-to-me” car on the road between Target and an adjoining suburb.  It features tight curves and ever-so-slight banking in a spot or two.  This vehicle is made to handle well and this little spot of perhaps a half mile is a delightful opportunity to sample that.  Really delightful.

Apparently, that was interpreted as me wanting to brag about the car.

I was interrupted and ignored.

There are a number of kinds of lust.  I avoided blogging it because, they’ll all find out soon enough and it was just me taking it personally.

So, in the spirit of taking it personally, I’m blogging it now.  Because I have a bad case.

You see, I have a cookbook collection.  Not like I am trying to build a library that will be donated for public use when I die.  But to use. Each one has a story and a reason.  I have hard and fast rules for selection, that even I don’t know.  I know when I see them.  I experience a kind of feeling of awe sometimes when I find a certain one.

I digress.

For Christmas, I started a little project.  I bought cookbooks for some kids (5) I love.  They are like nieces and nephews. Sort of.  Thing.

There’s the great used book store here, and I got in the cookbook section and found six (6) treasures.  I can’t decide which book to give which kid.  Because I want two (2) of them for myself.

Two.

Two.

 

Want them.

Both.

Want.

A lot.

So I’m sitting here trying to wrap gifts and looking through the books, especially the ones I want, but then I glanced through the one that was most expensive.  Now, I want it, too.

That’s what made me remember.

Lust.

Desire.

Well-engineered cars,

Cookbooks that take my breath away,

Fine leather goods, like handbags, wallets, belts and…

Yesterday, I was doing a little shopping.

I wanted to buy something for someone who reads this blog.  Who I’m responsible for dressing.  The cost was a little ambitious.  I got a little angry.

Because I wanted what I wanted.  And felt it was out of reach.

Non-essential.

There may have been some pouting.  I’m not scared, though.  Santa and I are on shaky terms right now (it’s another post).

Desire.

I’m not as tired as I was and I think I’m going back.

To be excessive in the essentials.

Lavish.

Soliciting for real connection through some other means.

Please.

Any self-respecting first-world woman, knows I’m talking about boots.

Two pair of size ten black leather riding boots.

Mm.

Mm.

Mm.

And I might buy a hot drink (with some kind of froth or something) while I’m out.

What do you say?  Is lust just a sexual term?  What do you hope Santa will slather all over you this Christmas?

 

 

 

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