Why is it that we know theologically certain subjects, but in our lives we look like that we have never even read the passage that deals with our practical ignorance? We do this as we worry about things too much even though we believe in God's sovereignty. We do this when we know people will sin against us, yet get angry when they do. We know that we should forgive people when they sin against us, but we usually like to make them run through the gauntlett of shame and "anger stares" first. This list could go on and on, but recently I have been really sinning in this area pretty badly and I just look at myself and see what an idiot I truly am. Now, God tells me I am an idiot, so I should know this, and I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. I am like a little kid that plays with the jack in the box and jumps everytime that ugly clown comes out of his terribly annoying music box.
God must laugh at me...a lot. We sit and watch Seinfeld and The Office when we want a laugh, but the angels Tivo Seth and continue to watch me and my foolish reactions when they are having a bad day.
Anyway, the most recent way that I have been providing good material for the angels that do stand up in heaven, is my thoughts on people who are different than me in the church.
I am definitely a weirdo in my church, which I can see clearly. Whether it is my tattoos, the puffing on a cigar or pipe every once and a while, the love of the urban lifestyle (my church is next to horse farms), non-republican (or democrat), the love of secular music, or just the outright "in your face" leadership that I posses. I am just different than most people in my church. My mom teaches at a jail for kids and so we would go into the most dangerous hoods in the Seattle/Tacoma area to visit them after they got out. I am used to hanging with the most dangerous people in the state, and having no issue just chilling with them. I also have many friends who are atheists and liberal, worked and had fun with many people who were inner city and homeless and also homosexual. This has been my life and I love to be in contact and have so many different friends that always challenge me in my beliefs and convictions. Being where I live now, this isn't the case as much now, which really sucks, but I am dealing with it.
Also, my gifts are different than most in the church. I do a lot of teaching and writing in the church and love to talk to people in general about their beliefs in theology and also in Christianity in general. I love to challenge people to question honestly what they believe and why, and to test it against what the Scriptures teach.
What I have found because of this is that I don't understand why everyone isn't like me. Why not? I know, I am that stupid. I feel like "Which One of These Kids is Doin' His Own Thing?" from Sesame Street. Paul tells us that this is going to be true in the church:
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:14-20
So, Paul tells me this, and yet practically I live like everyone should be just like me. I get mad when people don't think like me, I get mad when people don't want to serve in the places I desire to serve and I think I am more mature because of this. When I do this, when you do this, you will be miserable. You will not see the grace in people, but their flaws. You will disregard any huge plank you might have in your eye and see the speck in your brother's eye.
The body has been given to us, notice by who? The body is given to us specifically by the desire of God! So, if I decide that I am important and the others are just taking up valuable space for all the visitors banging down our doors on Sunday to come in, then I am missing the point of the body. They are probably different from me so we don't look like a bar room fight every week. I couldn't imagine a church filled with morons like me, thinking the way that I do.
I need to work on my practical understanding of the church and its members. I shouldn't disregard theological error or laziness disguised as "waiting on the Lord." But, I should be longsuffering and be willing to bear one another's burdens. I feel bad that my church members have to bear with me, because I don't just have burdens, but I am one. The more I realize this, the more I will see the grace that God has shown for those in my church.
Oh, and you want to know which part of the body I am?
Look to Genesis 49:14 out of the King James. You could just insert my name instead of Issachar :)
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