20 December 2006

The Practical Application

by Frank Turk

Let me tell you that you readers have greatly disappointed me this week – stats or not, I have to say that after last week's post and then Santa's stop by yesterday, I think we obviously still have some work to do on you via this blog.

The actual object of my disappointment is the trajectory we can plot between the points of two comments posted here – last week, in the demand for practical examples of loving your neighbor because that's what the Gospel yields, and this week the view rendered that somehow Dan and Santa wishing the members of TeamPyro a swell noel is somehow not substantive.

Listen: the latter is an example of the former. Yes: Dan and Santa do not usually have an open mutual admiration society here at the blog, but these are men with a Christian objective in mind – a Gospel objective. And in that, for them to offer encouragement to each other is an act of Godly and right-minded love. To overlook that is to demonstrate that it doesn't matter how often cent comes out and beats on the drum of “Christ died to make us new men right now”, and it doesn't matter if you read it: you have to “get it”, people.

You. Have to Get. It. You do. You.

If I was really in the right mood, we'd now tear into the parable of the good Samaritan. But I'm not in that mood. I'm in a Christmas mood even if Santa is not going to find that sweet, black Apple Intel for my stocking because he's got no sense of humor and this thing for Presbyterian baptism. So we're going to go instead to the book of Mark, and we're going to watch Jesus love somebody. Please forgive my vulgar use of the NIV here as I am composing off-line and the only Bible I have handy is my Zondervan Reformation Study Bible:

A man with leprosy came to [Jesus] and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said, “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Now, the more-blog-asphyxiated among you will expect that I will at this point expound on the healing of one man who asked for the help, and how God was expending His omnipotence in such a mundane way, and blah blah blah reformed wonkery blah blah blah.

Forget it. There's no way I'm going to make this that boring and not-about-you-and-me on the Wednesday before Christmas. Instead, I'm going to ask you to jump back with me for a second to Leviticus and read with me what it says about the person with leprosy. I'm going to switch over to the KJV because that's the language the Levitical law was written in, right?
Lev 13:44He is a leprous man, he is unclean: the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean ...

45And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.46All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.
Now, you see there? This person is not just in trouble ritually, but he's untouchable by other people – that is, for him to allow other people to touch him is a sin. There's no other thing a person can be where he or she is condemned to “dwell alone” and literally drive others away by crying out “UNCLEAN!” Literally, a leper was filthy by the practice of the Levitical law – unable to be clean. So the application of the Law for this person was, of course, that he was vile.

But Jesus touched this guy anyway – he touched him, and then he healed him. That is, he didn't just meet the ritual need. This Jesus – the one born in the stable, who slept in a feeding trough, but for whom the angels were singing, and whom the Angel said is the son of the most high God – touched a man who was ashamed to be touched. God came across the shame and the guilt to make this man whole.

Listen: if you want a lesson on how to love somebody, learn from this that the first boundary we have to cross to love other people is the boundary of how vile we think others are.This may shock many of you, but I live down the street from a trailer park. It doesn't have any vacancies as far as I can tell, so there's a problem over there: it's full of people. Now, regardless of where you live, that's not really a problem for them -- for many of them, owning a trailer is a step up from living in a rented quad-plex. Or an actual garbage dump. The trailer park is a problem for me.

Because people live there.

People who, btw, are not on any of the church rolls of the 60 churches in my backwater corner of the Earth. I know this because it's common knowledge in the local churches that “we” don't do evangelism there because “it doesn't make any difference”. And by we, folks, I mean “me”.

Somehow, I can write this giant pile of exhortation to you 5000 TeamPyro readers and my much more humble 500 Flame of Fire readers about the joy of the answer to God's wrath in Christmas, but I can't ride a bike over to the trailer park and find out if anyone there has ever heard of the man Christ Jesus.

Why? Because I am afraid to touch the lepers. That is, in my town, the people who live in the trailer park are the same socially as lepers, and to touch them is to touch something vile. It might get on me. I wish they'd say “UNCLEAN” as they shamble through WAL*MART because I'd cut them some space to avoid being mistaken as making eye contact with them. It would make me vile, and Leviticus notwithstanding, being socially vile will never do.

If you want an example of how to love, that's the example, folks: not filling a shoe box anonymously with some stuff for a kid who has a dad in prison (although, I admit, that's pretty good – it's a lot better than doing nothing), but finding that kid, or any of the people in your analogically-local trailer park, and doing something personally costly for them. Like being seen in public with them, and giving them a hug as if you mean it. You know: because you do it more than once to assuage your conscience at Christmas after charging up a bunch of junk that is bound for the next neighborhood garage sale, or after reading a crumby blog post – you love them into the Gospel and out of the leprosy of being a trailer park kid. To the Gospel, not warm fuzzies or some stupid therapudic transitional state, and out of leprosy, and not casually or inconsequentially, but at great cost.

If you want a practical example of how to love, find a person and do the thing for them which is Godly and right, which will shatter their view of how outcast and separated from others they are, and which you are most afraid to do. You do that, and keep doing it, and you are then a messenger for His name's sake.

Don't get snippy about substance if you can't do that. That's the meat and the bread and the glass of red wine of what the Gospel calls us to, and if you can't stomach it, be glad that Santa stops by to wish Dan and Phil and Pecadillo a happy Christmas. That's all you're ready for.

Happy Christmas and may God richly bless you so you can spend those blessing on others. Amen. You are dismissed.











55 comments:

striving... said...

In my church, I feel like I am the "trailer park leper." We do not have a lot of money, barely able to pay all our bills, and a car that is in need of repair, but no matter what most of the people at church are very kind, and loving. It is a very nice thing to know that there are people out there who do not judge me for the things I lack, and they do not think me disgusting and are willing to open up and help me with my walk with God.

Mike Galetta said...

Wow, we have just been able to improve our lot in life here in SoCal by buying a home in a "trailer park" It was a great blessing for us to make this move up from being renters most of our lives. We have been thanking God for His gracious provision, and now to hear what social outcasts we are, wow! And to think I was wondering how we could spread the gospel to those folks up on the hill...

centuri0n said...

Mike G --

If the focus of this post becomes that fact that in NW Arkansas, people in trailer parks are socially unacceptable, then what we have to do is stop reasoning by analogy.

My example was not meant as an insult to you or anyone -- except maybe to myself. My example was made specificly and particularly that I have to see my biases, and then past them. If I have a bias that people in trailer parks are unacceptable, I am a jerk. And obviously, cards on the table, my actions speak louder than any protest I could muster up.

The point of this post is not to define any social group as pariah: the point is that acts of love are costly to the giver and redeem the receiver in ways which are simple and effective. Love crosses lines that our social consciousness would never cross on its own. Love is not about what's in it for me: it's what's in it for the person I am loving.

No offense to the trailer park people. The offense should be to me who has lived here for 4 years and doesn't know one of them by sight for fear of being downgraded by people who think that wouldn't be nice.

centuri0n said...

Striving:

I think you got my point. You know, the book of James says some pretty harsh things to people who think that money is a good indicator of who we should hang out with.

Money is not everything, and I think that's a critical point to make this time of year when everyone is spending money as if they had discovered a pyramid scheme with no downside. Money is not love: Money can be used in a loving way, but it is just a tool. Love is doing costly things for the sake of others. This is how we know what love is: God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Costly action for the sake of others. And that's not how we judge what others do for us: that's how we judge what we do for others.

God bless you, and Merry Christmas.

DJP said...

Presbyterian baptism

Oxymoron much?

DJP said...

FWIW, Frank, I think your point was crystal-clear, well-taken, and well-made. As usual.

centuri0n said...

Dan:

That's what I said to Santa, and he got all red in the face. Said something about disasterous baptist hermeneutics and radical reformational biases.

I like the guy and everything, but I'm not defending him to anybody anymore.

donsands said...

Nice post. You said it well.

I have become a friend with a family in my neighborhood. No mom, no dad, four children, and tons of problems. I could name the problems, but it simply boils down to sin.

The thirteen year old girl just had a baby. Her name is Jessie. Though this family doesn't know the truth of the Gospel yet, I have tried to show the love of the Gospel to them as best I can.

I found it very difficult, but also rewarding. Even though it's His grace in my life, (and He receives all glory), it is quite a joy to reach out to others. Taking that first step can be difficult.
But God is faithful to help us do these types of things, if we are praying, asking, seeking, and knocking.

BTW, I like all the candy canes, red lights, and Santa's and stuff. Nice touch.

Catez said...

Makes sense.
All year round.

I was thinking about the James passage this morning. I've been a Christian for years but can't recall ever hearing much about James words to the rich. And never a sermon on it.

Funny that, since they are words of life too.

Sharon said...

It's not just "trailer park" mentality. I live in a condo complex, and the two neighbors whom I knew casually just moved out. The rest I know just from a smile and a nod as I drive down the alleyway. Yes, it's convicting. Very.

erik said...

Frank, excellent post about how hypocritical we can be. To paraphrase a Casting Crowns song... we have this hope tucked away inside of us and we pretend not to see the lost or simply ignore them for their social offenses. Far be it from us to get our robes dirty by them.
I definitely have some praying to do this morning.
Keep up the good work and have a joyous Christmas!

Catez said...

Mike,
I hear you. I spent some of my childhood living in trailers and we were proud we owned ours. It was a nice one too.

I also know that trailer parks can differ (I lived in more than one) - some were like little communities and some had a lot of people passing throughand didn't feel very connected or stable.

These days I only use trailers for holidays sometimes. Lots of people here do that. Stay in a trailer park by a beach.

We have different kinds of trailer parks - some are ok and some have a subculture - lots of drinking, welfare beneficiaries. It depends a lot on the area. Don't now if it's the same for you in the US.

The same can be said for people who live in houses of course.

I do know that some people were afraid to visit us in the trailer - from things they said - their own preconceived ideas. Which I think is what Frank was getting at - the fear of going to a place because of a stigma.

Qohelet said...

Now that's better. I ask for substance, I get exhortation. Fair enough.

I'm curious, though. Are you preaching at me or at yourself? Because I'm the one who lives in a trailer park. And just who are the pariahs for those of us who are trailer trash?

Libbie said...

This is an interesting cross-cultural comparison. In the UK, having a trailer is what middle-class people do for their holidays.

But your point is very well made. As per.

Catez said...

Qohelet,
And just who are the pariahs for those of us who are trailer trash?

Seriously? ow about the homeless guy who is high on glue every day, stinks from urine on his pants that he never changes, has brain damage, and sleeps outside nearby?

Do you have guys like that near where you live? We do.Just over a couple of hills from me. First I got him some clean pants. Then I invited him to our Christmas dinner at church. He came too - with a smile that would make you cry.

If you look you'll see.

centuri0n said...

Qohelet:

Here's the problem with being a blogger -- we all are jerks. If I'm an executive-level guy with 6 figures, I'm afraid that if I have more than the annnual personnel review time with someone in the middle management ranks it'll hurt my career. If I'm a guy in the middle, I'm afraid of the people on the front lines -- I want to be promotable. In church, we don't want to be the people with the shabbiest clothes or people with problems because other people might be afraid of our needs.

The issue, in the end, is that there are people with needs we walk past all the time. I used me as an example to avoid pointing a finger at anyone else and causing the word "hypocrite" to be tossed out. In your world, unless you are running a mission and preaching the Gospel in all the things you do, there are people you treat like lepers. I gave you my example from my world: you find the corresponding example in your world and do something about it.

Team Pyro is not a diary of personal journeys, Phil's travel posts notwithstanding. We're here talking about God's word and how we need to see it in our lives -- which would be as a refining fire. The example of Jesus is the example of love, and the Leper in Mark is a great example of how to show love.

Go show love. I am sorry living in a trailer park has a stigma attached to it in my part of the country. Go show love.

Ebeth said...

Correct me if I am off message, but Ephesians 4:29-32 comes to my mind as I read.
Also, I have been without and with, and that experience, those experiences, have been used by God to make me more sensitive to both, or, all, but I am still being perfected in grace and have a LONG way to go.
Enough on my thoughts.

DJP said...

Let me step in uninvited and try to do for Frank what I always wish someone would do for me (and am always grateful when someone does).

If some of you commenters are trying to strike an "I'm so offended at Frank!" pose, get over it. Frank shouldn't need to apologize nor explain any further. Frank's point was crystal-clear. Unless you want to argue that Frank shouldn't urge Christians to love and reach out to people in whatever class you see yourself. Which argument he should ignore, if anyone were to make it.

If you'd like all the rest of us to believe that you had no idea that "trailer park" has a connotation in many circles... well, I'm not buying.

EVERY class has another class that it looks down on. It flows both ways. I know for a fact that "lower" classes often look down on "upper" classes.

And BTW I'm not going to contradict my major point by "helping" Frank, by re-phrasing his point for him. I don't need to. Frank said it perfectly clearly.

If you don't get it, read it again.

candyinsierras said...

Cent...I wouldn't worry too much about the person who stated the "no substance" accusation. Read his substansive post about boxer shorts.

I used to work at a homeless shelter, on the same grounds as a mental institution, so we housed quite a few of those folks as well from time to time. It is a very practical way of getting through our own fears and biases and learning to love people who are "different" or scary to approach. I highly recommend getting into the trenches as a way to connect with others. I started by teaching art classes to the kids at the shelter and it slowly evolved to actually working there. One negative aspect about it though...I got jaded from the many system abusers that came through the doors.

Once again, as happens in this blog, is that people focus on the wrong aspect. Cent is not coming against trailers, he is using it as an example of HIS biases and fears. Not hard to understand folks.

Boanerges said...

Dear Frank,

Your post was clear, and point well made. As a pastor, we don't really want to spend time with people with urine on them because we have to focus on the 'respectible." We are trying to build a church afterall and brain damaged homeless people will not help with our desire to expand our ministries.

I write posts like this from time to time, but they are just like posts on dieting, yeah, we should and know it is biblical, but we get so set in our ways and for crying out loud, those poor people don't even appreciate our sacrifices and are looking to take advantage.

I agree with what you are saying, but it sure is hard to die to self, and love the unlovable. I think you need to monthly update us on your blog about what can be done by one man who takes a trailer park ministry on.

~Mark said...

Great.

God puts me in this situation last night, I end up thinking I did the wrong thing, now this.

Grrrrrr... darn conviction...

David McCrory said...

James tells us true religion is in caring for the widows and orphans. Those who have shed abroad in their hearts the love of God in Christ Jesus, will necessarily be driven towards sharing that with others. We aren't to despise the poor, the hungey or the needy. It is but by the grace of God we aren't there ourselves.

Al said...

Hurts so good as the song writer said. God Bless you Frank and Merry Christmas.

Al sends

Nutria Boy said...

Admitting our plank eyes is the first step toward loving. Living beyond the plank and next to the specks is the next step. Loving always involves sacrifice and vulnerability which is why few do it.

It's easy to be a jerk. It's easy to be puffed up. It's easy to be angry. But, it takes the Spirit to be humble, stay in for the long haul, and to seek the benefit of others.

Ignore. Cut and run. Defame and mock. Those are the calling cards of the flesh.

Great post cent ... my community work in the post-Katrina world has shwon me the vileness of my heart re: trailer people both literally and figuratively.

By His grace I have transcended that boundary and encourage others to do the same. The harvest is plenty and the workers are few and stuck up.

It's a battle we fight till our death.

centuri0n said...

FIBBY!

Dude, I love it when channel rats show up.

C.T. Lillies said...

Here's the problem with being a blogger -- we all are jerks.

Aw, Frank...you can't say that. We're the person of year man!

Yeah the trailer thing hit home. There's some folks around here that need some o' that kind of love. Good and timely...

Josh
"...the word of God is not bound."
--2 Timothy 2:9

DJP said...

Indulgent personal comment

A few of you were following my transition to The New Blogger. Just fyi, it's been inaccessible to me for hours now, as it "is currently moving to the new version of Blogger."

Qohelet said...

You know, I'm just flattered to know that someone even read my boxer shorts post. But did you go there expecting more?

On the other hand, I came here looking for the usual substance and came up empty a couple of days in a row. I thought I enquired about it in a nice enough way. Some of you have chips on your shoulders.

So, now I'm wondering. If I have one of my buddies pop up on my boxer shorts post and insist that it is crystal clear and that his assessment is unassailable because, well, because it is his assessment I guess, then does that make it so?

On the other hand, I appreciate the timely exhortation I got from Cent's original post and also his subsequent explanations. I took no offense at the trailer park comment and I don't think anyone else did either, so maybe someone around here who is pretty easily offended should think about maybe getting his shorts out of a wad.

Now, are we all happy? Merry Christmas.

PS-Can I skip Sunday School now this Sunday since I already got a pretty good exhortation?

DJP said...

Better not.

It didn't seem to "take."

Phil Johnson said...

Qohelet: "Can I skip Sunday School now this Sunday since I already got a pretty good exhortation?"

No, you need to be in Sunday School.

But Dude, that was an impressive comeback. If we ever decide to add to the Pyro Team, I want you to audition for the job, OK? With Pecadillo almost completely dormant during daytime hours, we could use a redneck philosopher with a smorgasbord of smack.

centuri0n said...

I resent the implication, Phil, that I am not a redneck philosopher with a smorgasbord of smack.

What has come of me?

Phil Johnson said...

Centuri0n:

You're no redneck. You're a Yankee who just happens to live in Arkansas.

farmboy said...

"On the other hand, I came here looking for the usual substance and came up empty a couple of days in a row. I thought I enquired about it in a nice enough way. Some of you have chips on your shoulders."

"On the other hand, I appreciate the timely exhortation I got from Cent's original post and also his subsequent explanations."

It was Harry Truman who wished for a one armed economist, hoping for the end of "on the other hand" equivocations.

There was substance in Mr. Turk's post of December 19 (and Mr. Phillips' post of December 18). That is the point Mr. Turk is making in his current post. There was substance sitting right there in front of your nose and you missed it. If the substance would have been a snake, it would have bit you.

I suppose that's part of sanctification - the honing and developing of our substance detectors, so that we'll recognize substance when it's placed before us.

Recognizing true substance has much in common with recognizing true riches or wealth. There was at least one church that had a problem recognizing true wealth: "For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:17, ESV)

I have had the privilege of a life long lesson in true riches. My dad has worked in the same factory for a few months over 50 years along with farming right around 100 acres. His two brothers were both bankers. While my cousins went to exclusive private colleges I went to a branch campus of a Big 10 school for my bachelor's degree. While my cousins washed their hands under 24KT gold plated faucets, my brother, sister and I got our hands plenty clean using the standard chrome plated variety. You get the idea.

So, who had the privilege of growing up in a truly rich family: me or my cousins? My mom and dad didn't have to tell us kids that their relationship with Jesus Christ was the defining characteristic of their lives. Their actions shouted this loud and clear on a consistent basis. My brother, sister and I now have God centered families of our own. Our cousins? Their parents (my aunts and uncles) wouldn't even pass as nominal Christians.

My cousins will inherit substantial material wealth when their parents pass away. In contrast, my brother, sister and I have already inherited true riches, riches of infinite, everlasting value.

During the years my mom and dad ran a church bus they spent a lot of time in trailer parks, and in those trailer parks they found a few people who were truly rich from an eternal perspective.

centuri0n said...

Phil:

That hurts, man. Okie and Arkie accept me as one of their own. Why you gotta play a brother like that?

candyinsierras said...

Qohelet. Some of you have chips on your shoulders.

Are you sure?

Easily offended

Are you sure?

This blog is the equivalent of verbal paintball. Enough to smart but not to harm.

Sojourner said...

You're no redneck. You're a Yankee who just happens to live in Arkansas.

Wow. That may not be a smorgasboard of smack, but it's at least a side-order.

For what it's worth, I thought that the boxer shorts post was pretty clear. But I admit that I'm pulling for the redneck with the Alabama hat on. I almost feel like we're kin.

Paul Doutell said...

From someone who has never made a negative post here . . .

I think Qoholet's got a point.

centuri0n said...

If I have offended anyone with this post -- either by the post, or by responding to commentors -- I apologize.

Qohelet said...

Hey farmboy, I'll be sure to turn my personal substance detector up a notch so I can be more sensitive to my sanctification opportunies next time. Thanks. For the record, though, it was my expectancy of substance here and not finding any within a couple of days' span that led to my asking for it for Christmas. I was starting to think maybe teampyro was going to be out for the holidays. Now, if you'll think with me for a minute, that very expectancy is an implied acknowledgement on my part that substance can usually be found here on a regular basis.

Hey, I wasn't over here looking for substance was I?

And, Phil, I think I'll keep my smack over at Also Sprach for the time being and leave the professional theological punditry to the pros. Besides, I don't always agree with all of your opinions, but I do seem to enjoy the way they are expressed.

And thanks for the opportunities for gratuitous self-promotion you guys have afforded me in the comments threads over the last couple of days.

Happy Hannukah.

C.T. Lillies said...

Hey Frank we know all the OKIES left for California so don't sweat it.

So...anyone go out and touch their local version of a leper yet?

Josh
"...the word of God is not bound."
--2 Timothy 2:9

striving... said...

There is one more thing, reading all these comments, that I have known for a while. I think djp said that lower class sometimes hold it against upper class. And that is so true. I think it is easier for a "Lower" class woman to become friends with upper class women, because as long as you have something to talk about; or if you can talk at all, with other women you are in. With men I think it is worse. Men are the provider, and very proud. If their family is poor they see it is a direct reflection on them. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is just curcumstances. The reason this ties into the lower- upper thing is, a guy I know always THINKS that the well off men are judging him, and will not befriend him because he does not have a lot of money, when actually because there are times he disappears from church for months at a time, and they do not know him well. He does not believe me though. I know how I feel when I am around somebody, they may not have a ton of money, but a better upbringing, I worry constantly if I am saying the right words, in proper context, is what I am doing proper, Is that the salad fork, etc. Not because they make me feel that way, but my paranoia. (sp) Anyway it was a good post. Thanks Cent.

Phil Perkins said...

This is totally off subject, so don't publish this, but I think it would be good for someone like yourselves to do an article or two on the problem of changing Evangelical vocabulary. For instance, "spiritual formation" instead of "sanctification" or "missional" instead of "evangelistic."

Phil Perkins.

SJ Camp said...

Fantastic post Frank! Can I "reprint this" at COT?

Merry Christmas...
Campi

DJP said...

M'man, Steve Camp! It was good, wasn't it? I'm still smarting.

candyinsierras said...

Cent- You really are into Christmas aren't you!? To the point of magnanimous. You really made a great point on your post, reminding us to step out of our comfort zones, and step up to that nagging voice that seems to get a bit louder during this time of year. The voice that reminds us of orphans and widows and not just the ones at our church.

A lot was accomplished:

1. Conviction
2. Reminder of the reality of the
season
3. Reconciliation with Santa: Maybe
an I-pod instead of coals for
you!
4. Increased traffic for another
blogger with interesting hair and
an enigmatic name.
5. Phil, in his bronchitis state to
rise from his sickbed and comment
about your REAL status as a
Yankee (who knew?).

SFB said...

Francis of Assisi (leave the Catholic thing out of this, please) made, by God's grace, his transformation from rich, snotty kid to Christlike servant of the poor when God convicted him of his hateful attitude towards lepers. He kissed in greeting, washed and fed a leper he met on the road one day and it literally was the motivation God used to take him from a life of ease and comfort to a life of consecrated poverty and humility in imitation of Christ. I pray God that he would do the same to me and all of us, to His glory.

Catez said...

Frank,
I haven't been offended by anything you've said in the post or the comments.

It's ok.

Sometimes I read posts at Pyros and they are about things I don't know too much about. But this one is on something I do know about.

I have ministered to the poor (to put it into Christianese) for years - since I became a Christian.

I've done it voluntarily, professionally, and lived in a ministry I worked in 24/7. I woke up to ex drug addicts, glue sniffers, prostitutes and homeless people. They were who I prayed for before I went to sleep every night.

The last few months of this year I haven't been able to do the voluntary street ministry I am involved with. I miss it.

I'm saying all that because I want to say this. Different people come to ministries to the poor wanting to help. Generally there are two kinds of people:
1. They don't know much about it but God has got hold of them and they want to help. They haven't crossed these barriers before, but they want to. They make mistakes but are on a learning curve.
2. They are full of themselves and their "ministry opportunity". They waste the time of other people who are ministering with their self-centredness, and inability to get over themselves at the slightest offence. They want to take up time having people understand and stroke their own needs instead of dying to themselves and serving those who are in much greater need. They want to be the centre of attention.

A student is not above his teacher. i.e. None of us is above a learning curve when it comes to being taught by Jesus.

Here is the kindest advice I can give to anyone who wants to love those they have considered lepers:
Get over yourself.

It's not about you. It's about Jesus and them. People are going to say things that offend you sometimes. You help no-one by having a mini-tantrum because some-one rubs you the wrong way.

If God gets hold of your heart to go love some-one you've considered a leper it's the best reason - because you need to know it is God who has got hold of your heart when you do it.

A person who genuinely wants to help, and who has the humility to seek to understand, and even say sorry if there has been a misunderstanding - that's the kind of person God uses out there.

Qohelet said...

enigmatic

I'm stumped. I looked it up in my dictionary, but it wasn't in there.

candyinsierras said...

Too bad I didn't have that dictionary when I lived in Texas. It sure would have helped at times.

Catez said...

Sounds like you need some cyst with that farn word.

Catez said...

Striving,
. I think it is easier for a "Lower" class woman to become friends with upper class women, because as long as you have something to talk about; or if you can talk at all, with other women you are in.

I wouldn't say it is any easier for women. Not at all. Just different territory.

However, in Christ it isn't that hard for either gender if they want to do it.

David said...

"Well, consider this. Your church is looking for new elders. Which of these two 40-year old men has a better chance of becoming an elder, the self-made man who runs his own company OR the fellow who works the night shift as a convenience store clerk? In the split second (Blink!) you thought about that pair, did class distinction enter into your assessment? Has anything been said about the spiritual maturity of those men? Don't we assume that one is more spiritually mature simply because he runs a successful business, while the other only makes $8/hr.?

Did Jesus ever think that way? He summons the less esteemed to the head of the table, while one who believes he belongs in the place of honor is sent down. The beggar Lazarus, whose sores were licked by dogs, winds up in heaven, while the rich man suffers in torment. Jesus said nothing about Lazarus' spiritual maturity, did He? But Lazarus is the one in Abraham's bosom. Obviously, failure and poverty have nothing to do with one's eternal destiny and spiritual depth."

Why then do we place such an emphasis on success and pour so much contempt on failure?

from Cerulean Sanctum

http://ceruleansanctum.com/2006/12/we-need-a-gospel-that-speaks-to-failure.html

Good post Frank.

farmboy said...

"For the record, though, it was my expectancy of substance here and not finding any within a couple of days' span that led to my asking for it for Christmas. I was starting to think maybe teampyro was going to be out for the holidays."

Let's review the record of posts on Pyromaniacs during December:

12-01-06: No post
12-02-06: Mr. Turk
12-03-06: Mr. Johnson
12-04-06: Mr. Johnson
12-05-06: Mr. Phillips
12-06-06: Mr. Johnson
12-07-06: Mr. Phillips
12-08-06: No post
12-09-06: No post
12-10-06: Mr. Turk
12-11-06: No post
12-12-06: Mr. Phillips
12-13-06: Mr. Turk
12-14-06: Mr. Phillips
12-15-06: Mr. Johnson
12-16-06: Mr. Johnson
12-17-06: Mr. Johnson
12-18-06: Mr. Phillips
12-19-06: Mr. Turk
12-20-06: Mr. Johnson
12-20-06: Mr. Turk
12-21-06: No post
12-22-06: Mr. Turk

There were posts on 17 of the first 22 days of December (77.3%). There was only one instance of two consecutive days without a post, December 8 and 9. That's hardly taking the holiday season off.

"Hey farmboy, I'll be sure to turn my personal substance detector up a notch so I can be more sensitive to my sanctification opportunies next time....Now, if you'll think with me for a minute, that very expectancy is an implied acknowledgement on my part that substance can usually be found here on a regular basis."

Assuming that "usually" equates roughly to 77.3% of all available days, substance was found on Pyromanics on a regular basis during the month of December. Now, if a person read a given post and failed to find substance, there are two possible explanations: 1) The post in fact lacked substance. 2) The post offered substance but the reader failed to detect it. Given that no evidence has been offered in support of explanation #1, we are left with explanation #2. Given this, it is probably prudent for the reader to "turn [his] personal substance detector up a notch."

Remember, however, that substance is often overlooked in all venues. For example, a college football program might look at a coach who within the last year led his team to a victory in the Cotton Bowl, warranting a contract extension, and fail to see substance. Failing to see the substance that was there, said football program might fire this coach. Over a month later said football program might then find itself without a new coach with no attractive solutions in sight.

Long live Tom Clements; long live Robin Weber!

Qohelet said...

Hey farmboy. You ain't been long off the farm, have you.

I said "a couple of days" span. That doesn't mean the whole month of December, bub.

And I think I explained once already that it was an honest request, not an indictment.

But if you're just looking for someone to be offensive I can be. I mean, we all have our special needs and if yours is to defend teampyro from imagined attacks then have it, Don Qixote.

In the mean time, most of us had this figured out a couple of days ago (which means two or three days ago, not way back at the beginning of December--that's to save you from chronicling for me the number of people at the beginning of the month who didn't get it yet.)

On second thought, since you look like you could use something to do, how about chronicling for me the percentage of days for the months of June through November in which there was substance here. I'm really interested. Really. No, really I am. Go ahead now, run along.

farmboy said...

"Hey farmboy. You ain't been long off the farm, have you."

It's been twenty or so years since I milked my last cow, but that's not relevant to the analysis I offered.

"But if you're just looking for someone to be offensive I can be."

That has already been demonstrated.

"Some of you have chips on your shoulders."

I merely presented and analyzed evidence to determine if assertions offered were consistent with that evidence. I'm the old fashioned sort that still subscribes to rational, logical thought and discourse.

Carefully examine the precise wording of the assertions you offered for consideration; compare them with the evidence. Are those assertions consistent with the evidence? I was addressing assertions you happened to offer. The assertions - not you - were the objective of my analysis.