Friday, March 13, 2009

Pain as Cause

Back to my spiritual travel log, I don’t think Gilligan really wanted to go home, because life on his island wasn’t that painful. Are you like me, when I was a kid I used to think it would be cool to live in a hut and sleep in a hammock and run around in the jungle and hang out with pretty girls and goofy science guys and rich people (I still feel that way)?

Gilligan felt little pain once he was marooned. Oh I know maybe he couldn’t hang out with his buddy Dobie Gillis any more, but the island was pretty cushy.

Once we begin to move from cushy to pushy, things change. I just read an AP online headline “Obama: Economy causing many ‘incredible pain.’” Hmmm… I don’t doubt many are feeling the pinch or cinch of less cash or retirement funds, but pain?

Come on… pain? Maybe our president should take a refresher course on what pain IS. Pain is not having a smaller house, or less latte money, or not getting the new plasma TV, or having to drive an older car, or shopping at Aldis, or trolling the Good Will for alternatives in our wardrobe or even brown bagging it every day at work.

Real pain seems more proficient. Real pain seems to be more about things that cannot be altered by coping mechanisms or medicine. Real pain seems more like stuff that sticks in your soul and won’t go away. I think Mr. Obama really means; “incredible inconvenience” but somehow “pain” seems a little over the top.

Most of the reasons we’re in this economic mess is greed and over extension of credit. Kinda like our consumer eyes were “bigger than our stomach”. My mom used to say that to me when I took too big of a helping of something, then I couldn’t eat it all.

In 1980 I remember experiencing pain that altered my life for years. Maybe I’d seen it coming, but when it came… wham! It hit me hard. When I was 17 years old, I knew I heard the voice of God calling me into the Gospel ministry. By the time I was 19 I knew I was to be a preacher of the Gospel. I assumed that being a pastor is what God wanted for my life, until I ran smack dab into grave hypocrisy.

When I saw what appeared to be the most spiritual people on campus, doing very unspiritual things, like hosing each other over at the Zoo, or sneaking out and getting drunk late at night. All the while they were applauded for their outward appearance of holiness; I got scared.

You see, I had no desire to “look” holy, but I sure wanted my heart and life to be holy. I didn’t care if I looked like a sinner, but I sure wanted to repent of my sins and accept God’s grace and forgiveness. Yet as long as I looked like I was a sinner (back then looking punkish’ must have been sinful) I was presumed guilty.

As a result I became very disillusioned. I felt some kind of pain that caused me to run from God (or I thought I was running from God, but it was really Christian hypocrisy I was running from). As I began to run, I said to myself… “I’m not gonna fake anything… I’m gonna do what I want and live like I want and I don’t give a rats butt about what others think.” Because I was sure not gonna be like those hypocrites.

In the midst of my journey through the back side of the desert (or Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd – in keeping with my life genre) I found people that accepted me and loved me just the way I was. No pretense, no hoops to jump through (except the occasional 6 pack or dime bag that was on me), no membership requirements – except this: chill out dude.

Hmmm… I wonder if that’s how we treat people as they curiously approach the Kingdom? Or do we throw some obstacle in front of them. Some religious obstacle that will prove they are really serious about God, church, neck ties, clean language, no drinking or smoking, and giving lots of money in the plate? Or do we simply say; “Let’s eat, let’s chill out… and I’m buyin’”.

Maybe Gilligan didn’t have it so rough after all? I’m wondering what kind of PAIN will cause us to change. To cause us to draw near to God… so near we can smell the Skin Bracer He put on this morning after He shaved?


1 comment:

  1. Silly rabbit. Everyone knows He uses Brut, by Faberge. ; )