Friday, January 21, 2005

John the Baptist, Live!

Warning! Dave is wearing his rarely worn "John
the Baptist" hat big-time while writing today's post.
Rest assured, there's something here to humble or
offend everyone. Proceed only with your chest and
mind laid open and your mind and heart ready for
some serious surgery. This is no rant; it's a call to
I'm incorrigible. Just count me a hopeless case.
Entrenched, ingrained, chronically-incorrigible,
indeed. How so?

Because I don't really care what we're studying in
Bible class - as long as it's Bible-oriented, I'm going to be
. Hey, what part of God talking to me do I not need
to listen to? Besides, if I don't deliberately put myself in
a context where I can interact with others who share
a keen interest in the word on a regular basis, where
else am I going that sort of soul-shaping from the Lord?
So I don't let answers to questions like "What will we
be studying?" determine my involvement with others.
I figure that was pretty well determined for me by God
when I became a seeker after him.

Because meeting every time I possibly can with other
Christians and worshiping with them every time the
church assembles as a whole.
That's just never been an
issue with me. I mean, that got settled as soon as I rose
up dripping wet from the baptistery and God added me to
his people. I figure he had a reason for doing that and
I don't need to be subtracting where God is adding.

Which means I've never really understood why any
Christian would ever need to be "encouraged" to
come to church.

"Because you've been hurt?" Hey, I've taken my share of
licks. I know what it's like to get shot through the heart
and feel like love has been given a bad name. But I also
know that if God wants to grow anything in/on me it's
rhino hide, otherwise he wouldn't have commanded
me to bear with and forbear, to give and forgive, to
endure and love anyway. Or, honest to God, am I more
interested in life being "fair" and setting the terms
of his discipline of me?

"Because you've been offended?" Like nothing has ever
gotten under my skin. Right. Like there's never been
anything that just set my blood to boiling in the church
house. Sure. Like the most Holy God in heaven doesn't
see everything going on here on earth, even among
people who claim to be his, and isn't slighted or
offended by the filth we create and wallow in daily
called sin, but still, for some reason, doesn't nuke us all
right now, but instead, is patient with us, giving us a
chance to change and repent. Oh, I must be mistaken,
I thought my task was to be like him.

"Because you just don't get anything out of it?" Hey, my
experience in life has been that I've tended to find
what I'm looking for. If I'm unhappy or offended, it's
usually because I was looking for such, dwelling on
such and/or sharing such. Why does something about
"sowing and reaping" comes to my mind, here?

"Because it isn't always an uplifting or positive
experience for you?"
Wow, how small I would be indeed
if I make God so small as to be able to work on me in a
positive way only through positive experiences. No
thank you, I'll take my God unfiltered and larger than
my life, please!

"Because the songs, sermons, prayers, whatever really
That's what they probably said while in hiding
in the catacombs, right? Shhhh - if we're quiet we might
overhear them saying that in Sudan right now. You
think? I think not! Hey, I figure if my spiritual life is
honestly no deeper than other people's performances,
well then, no matter how good or bad those
performances are then, well, those performances
aren't really "mine" now are they? So doesn't it just
seem real reasonable that God isn't too awful
concerned about my measure of things, but is very
seriously interested in what I'm giving him no matter
what else I think someone else (or a collection of
someone elses) is or isn't puttin' out?

Do I sound proud or arrogant? I hope not! I'm trying to
be at all. What I am is tired. Weary of hearing lame
excuses from people who are blessed far, far beyond
belief. People who have been saved and gifted by God,
but who do little more than warm a pew seat. If that.
And what tires me out most of all is that sometimes
I see hints of that same sort of thinking in me.
That really, really leaves me weary!

Hey, however you slice it, there's only one way I can
make sense of it all and that is that just being in Christ
I'm doin' way, way better than I deserve. You know
what I mean? May God have mercy on my soul! I've got to
be a pretty hard-case to think otherwise or to start
adding very many expectations of any kind on to things
cause if I do, suddenly it stops being about God and it
starts being about me and you.

And ya' know what? It ain't!

So let's all stand now and sing All to Jesus I Surrender.
Yep. I'm thoroughly incorrigible. And I intend to remain
so. And pray you will be, too. Re-up again today on
your knees with me right now. I'll see ya' Sunday!