Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cattle Prods Might Work, Too

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. -- John 2:15

I've been going to church pretty regularly for the last few months.  This is, in part, to keep me from becoming a hermit.  As someone way over on the introvert side of the continuum, stress and pain drive me to isolation.  The Raccoon family has been and continues to be my principal outlet.  Still, interacting with people face to face is a skill set that it took me years to learn and develop so I can sort of pass for relatively normal most of the time, and, like a musician, I have to continue to practice.  Attending church forces me smile, shake hands, speak pleasantries, and hold brief conversations with strangers.  Some of them are even stranger than I am.

I like the pastor.  He is a very nice man, and I think he does a good job of presenting a balanced, truthful message.  He is not going to downplay the Cross or the Blood.  He challenges and exposes without frightening people too much. 

Nevertheless, if I have a complaint about traditional, exoteric religion, it's that it can be "pablumatic".  Those of us who have been around a while have memorized the eye chart and can rattle off the received answers with hardly a glance at the question.  The truth is that Jesus is disruptive, e.g.: 

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). 

And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also (Acts 17:6).

So there was a division among the people over him (John 7:43).

Authentic Christianity is probably going to make us somewhat uncomfortable on occasion.  Yes, there is peace and joy, contentment and fulfillment in Christ.  However, if we are not, from time to time, driven to question our assumptions, if we don't get beyond ourselves now and then, it may be because we are too quick to back away from what the Lord is calling us to do. 

I'm back to the point we've discussed before that the truth comes across at many levels.  We have different gifts and varying capacities.  Some of us respond best to reason, some to emotion, and some to a two-by-four to the head or a boot to the rear end.  God understands this much better than politicians, for example.  He doesn't try to make one size fit all.  Each of us can find what he or she needs to respond to the call if we will only pay attention.    


Rick said...

Amen fer cattle prods -- I hear ya. I'd actually be a hermit if it weren't for them and their multitude of forms.
Anyway, good advice in here as always.

John Lien said...

Attending church forces me smile, shake hands, speak pleasantries, and hold brief conversations with strangers.

DUDE! You should have given a trigger warning.

I'm back to the point we've discussed before that the truth comes across at many levels.

Yep, it's a mystery. The Truth will accommodate you however you're built as long as you have "want to". Which makes sense, God wants communion with you so he isn't going exclude some of his children because they are too (fill in the blank).

julie said...

lol - I'm glad to hear you are being prodded, Mushroom.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Two-by-four to the head is what it usually takes for me. A holy two-by-four that is.

Anonymous said...

I sure do miss a church wherein the preacher had some war stories, after the service.

Hard hands, and dirty boots. Tends to attract survivors.

Of course, that is probably some stuff the comfortable discuss at length. Looks like a damned movie, probably OK.

They stood me up once, and asked me to do something. That is private.

mushroom said...

Good words, all. Lewis has a passage in Screwtape about the benefits and dangers of going to church with your neighbors and learning to love them. I know it's good for me. Like PT. Mmmmm, good.