Monday, March 06, 2006

MIXED NUTS


Sunday, we looked at John 6 and I elaborated on a question by Jesus where he asks his disciples: “Are you offended?” I also asked, "Does GOD offend you?"
OFFEND!!! Somehow, I did it again. It doesn’t take much time for people to put their thoughts and emotions in the form of an email or a phone call. Someone asked me… “Are you waiting for someone to get up and punch you out?” That was really funny! So I got to thinking, “Does anybody care when I get offended?” (Insert your answer here)
Thanks for caring?

This is what I love about being a follower of Jesus Christ! There are all sorts of believers There are thin ones, fat ones, tall ones, short ones, single ones, married ones, conservative ones and even liberal ones, there are those who are dressed to kill and those who could be more dressed.(Offended yet?) There are those who are holey and those who are afraid of needles. There are those who are fans of 80’s rock and those who are lovers of Bach. There are those who love the Family Guy and those who love Monty Python. We have Coke drinkers and Pepsi drinkers, beer drinkers and wine sippers, sushi tasters and spaghetti feasters and I think you get the point!

It is difference that makes the world and especially the church. I love the fact that in our spiritual community we embrace a host of political, economic and … shall I say it???? Ethical positions. I would go so far to say that our spiritual community is a bag of mixed nuts! (Actually that is the name that a small group has called itself!) And I love it.

I recognize that we are all on a spiritual journey and can easily wander off the road, even one of the characteristics of a cult is that it teaches that TRUTH leads to an extremely narrow range of opinions and behaviors. HOWEVER, an encounter with authentic Christianity reveals that depth and variety are not enemies to be scorned but friends to be embraced. I love the fact that GOD gave us diverse personalities, and that we are all wired in multiple ways, and interspersed among us are many kinds of gifts, and everyone has their place in GOD’s economy. The coolest thing is that what holds us together is far stronger than what tries to separate us. One of the most important things for me is that we are not to denigrate other believers and thier churches because their worship style or theological emphasis is different from our own. We must realize that not all people have OUR needs, or OUR background, or OUR culture, even OUR personality and that to reach all types of people we need all types of churches and shall I say, denominations.

A key issue in being a follower of Jesus Christ is learning to appreciate those who are different from ourselves…actually that is a mark of a mature believer. So my question this week is what is out there that you appreciate in the expressions of Christianity that may not be your regular preference?

6 comments:

Harvey the Loveable Henchman said...

A-10

Stick to the question.
"what is out there that you appreciate in the expressions of Christianity that may not be your regular preference?"

Thanks.

Michael said...

Adriano -

It matters that God 'offends' you, because the nature of God, and his message to the world throuh Christ run counter to our nature, and our culture.

God says 'serve'. Our egos and our culture say 'dominate and succeed'.

God says 'follow'. Our egos and culture say 'lead'.

God says 'give freely'. Our egos and culture say 'take and exploit'.

Soul Pastor's point was that when (if) we truly have understood God, we will be offended. Some of God's teachings are hard, and just as the disciples had difficulty digesting the words of Christ in Capernaum, we too will have times where we are challenged or bothered by God's word to us.

In that sense, it is an offense I desire - for I wish to align myself with Him - not vice-versa.

Michael

kenny said...

Ah...good post...

"what is out there that you appreciate in the expressions of Christianity that may not be your regular preference?"

I am not sure how to respond though. I thought about it too and really can't come up with much...other than this.

I love art. I love the expressions of creativity in Christianity. It often moves me in such a deep way.
I love litergical churches...as it draws me in through the application of script and words.
I love music...okay...moshing...always wished that was in my era...but can appreciate those that do it...especially worshipping God.
I love hymns/chorus'/choirs...the whole shibang.
I love people feeding the poor, clothing the naked, looking after widows, orphans and the sick. It inspires me.
So I can appreciate those who are different than me...yet, I am finding that the more I think about it, the more we are the same.
It is realizing that we are all a part of the body of Christ regardless of denomination and how we do our "thang". I was talking with someone and they felt like dancing at church...and I could appreciate that. I might not be the first to run up and down the rows, but hey, it is their expression of their love for Jesus. If I stood there and thought...man...what is that crazy doing...I think I limit my worship to God. Instead,I should be thankful for that persons expression.
It was interesting the other day, when I posed a question of starting up a city wide interdenominational housegroup...two of my friends loved the idea. What a novel way to celebrate each other...regardless of what church you go to. Would that work in our city? Could we unite together regardless of how different we are in our expressions of faith? I think we could...wow, just thinking of that is way kewl.
And ya...what a mixed bag of nuts we are.

Anonymous said...

Adriano10,

I understand that you are a relatively young person. You are discovering who you are. You are full of questions, and... opinions. I don't want to undermine your inquisitiveness, and I was just thinking that it may be beneficial to meet with a mentor to discuss spiritual things.

I had a friend who, after attending first year university, was full of skepticism and questions. It is an age of discovering who you are and what you believe outside of the scope of what you have always been taught. When she began to ask questions, no one took her seriously because they thought she was just stirring the pot. After all, she grew up in the church, and knew the Bible. She was a "good Christian young lady"! Sadly, she left the church, feeling like it didn't have the answers to her questions and she hasn't returned.

I believe you may be at that stage. I'm not sure this blog is the best place to ask the questions or make the comments that you feel inclined to make. I wonder if soulpastor would be willing to either meet with you or recommend someone to mentor you? Your questions are legitimate. But they may not be appropriate for this blog. I don't know. Something to think about. (By the way, you don't need to respond to this...just think about it, and do what you feel you need to do.)
May you find the answers you seek, young man.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow said...

Offense is such a funny thing. It can be the wedge between a great friendship and the wedge between churches.
I've been taught that offense is one of the greatest tools of the devil to misguide and mislead us away from the real issue at hand.
I've also been taught that offense is generally used (and saved for) the more "mature" believers. It's something to trip up the best of us. Someone says something, looks a certain way..good grief, breathes louder than they should, and we get offended.
So I like your question.

I would have to say that an expression of Christianity that is usually not my cup of tea, would have to be a good old theological discussions. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around those a lot of the time. I love the experiences and the expressions of God. I love the teachings. But I have a hard time sitting with a group of friends discussing all the greek and hebrew meanings for different words. It's not really "my thing", but I have watched my friends and mentors express this way and they find it fulfilling. It's in those discussions where I find myself facing offense; believing one thing and facing another. But I can truly appreciate and I am learning to find the joy in being stretched and growing along the way.

A Not So Desperate Housewife said...

I once heard that "christians" are the only "army" that fight NOT against their enemies, but rather against eachother. In a church body of "mixed nuts", it is by far more beneficial and kingdom moving to grab the hand of the nut beside you-and begin to battle and war against the real Enemy in this lifetime. It's not your brother or sister in Christ, it's Satan-he's the real Enemy. And if we're too busy arguing and being "offended" there will be a world forever lost before us, and their blood will be on our hands. Isn't that one of the Enemy's greatest tricks against us? To distract us from the real battle. To distract us from what really, truly matters....to seek and save the lost. Other than that, nothing in this lifetime counts more than the realization of Christ's life, death and ressurrection. All the rest is pettiness.