WORDS FROM W.W. August 30, 2011
I’m speaking this coming Sundays on “Messy Conversations”, and I have to tell you…I’m a little anxious! I’m praying that God will work through me to not create a mess, but to proclaim the possibilities “in our messes.”
There’s a a growing chasm in our culture between “opposites.” They say that opposites attract. Maybe with magnets that’s true, but in regards to our belief systems, values, and opinions, recent history has shown the…”opposite!”
The ongoing political campaigns are an example. What we see on TV, and the internet, is usually people on opposite sides of the canyon throwing rocks at one another. Everyone seems to think they are right and the opposite side is wrong that very seldom do you hear of the possibility that each side has some of the right.
Messy conversations are those situations where my need to make you see the error of your ways is not as important as hearing what you are basing your belief on. Our conversation is somewhere in the middle of the mess.
Jesus didn’t feel a need to be right. Well, okay…he was always right, but it’s not what drove him. He showed a consistent habit of giving value to those who had lost their voice- a woman dragged to him under a charge of adultery, a tax collector of minimal stature, a woman who had a feminine condition that caused her humiliation.
There aren’t too many families that have not been touched by either an unwanted pregnancy, a drug-dependent relative, an alcoholic uncle, a “prodigal son” child, a job-terminated kin, or a marriage gone south. All of us have messy conversations that we are connected to.
It would be nice to think that walking closely with Jesus keeps our lives feel of such pain, but each of us knows that’s not true. The messy conversations of life often cause us to rush to the feet of Jesus in our grief and pain, and seek his leading when we have no words to say.
If our walk with Jesus created a force field around us protecting us from the chaos of this world, perhaps our congregations would all require parking lot attendants to help with the overflow.
One of the telling points of a church is whether or not it can be a community of grace in the midst of the messy conversations. Rigidity tilts the slide towards legalistic righteousness, which is okay until you’re the one needing grace.
Some might be concerned that I’m hinting that there are no absolutes. There are absolutes. There are absolute truths that I am firmly committed to, but I am also firmly committed to the uncomfortable conversations with my opposites.