Those two rarely fit together these, days… and yet they do.

If you read my small-town post, you’ll remember how impressed I was with the gentleman who had nothing to prove, no desire to show off, no real ‘thought’ at all about what he was doing because what he was doing was natural.  Not something he had to do.  Not something he should do.  Just something he did… like breathing.

I like natural.  Perhaps that’s a problem.  (Taking part of that statement back, I don’t mind the additives in my favorite foods, for example.)

But I miss natural in relationships because everyone thinks they -and I- need to TRY so hard. 

We need to try to be friendly, interested, compassionate, kind, responsible, attentive, excited, and a whole HOST of other things that are all required of us as good Christian people.

Personally, I would prefer it if we would just BE those things when we are and politely excuse ourselves when we aren’t.  You know, like an unseemly gas passing… you know it’s not really status quo, but really, who can change reality so you EXCUSE it.  You don’t PRETEND you didn’t because everyone knows better anyway!!! What would you think if your pastor suddenly stopped in the middle of the sermon and said… you know, my heart’s really not in this today.  Find a few people and fellowship (read/pray)  together while I go pray through this, please.   I personally would appreciate the transparency.  The honesty.  The reality.  As opposed to him persevering with a plastic smile because he’s TRYING.  Wouldn’t you?  Maybe you wouldn’t.

Okay, getting to the point…

So our church and our government have much in common (not “our church” specifically but “THE church” in general… please don’t think I hate my church.  It’s a great group of people and I would be farther behind on actually doing/understanding/being the things that we’re all trying to be if I weren’t a part of it and learning from them) in the management department.  Or perhaps the department of departments.

They both excel in creating programs for things that should be natural.  Can you identify with any of this???

Programs that help people meet people

Programs that help women be women

Programs that help men be men

Programs that help children learn the Bible

Programs that help people keep others accountable

Programs that build unity

Programs that minister to youth

Programs for hospitality

Programs for worship

Programs that minister to the needy

Programs that assist in Bible study

And all the activities that go along with each and every program because we are TRYING so hard to be what we’re supposed to be.

Am I the only person who wonders…

Do you think if we stopped TRYING so hard to be what we’re supposed to be, started where we ARE, Learned where we’re supposed to be, and daily lived in an honest, growing walk and encouraged others who aren’t where they’re supposed to be either that maybe… just maybe the things these programs are TRYING to achieve would take care of themselves?  Maybe while we’re exercising real one to one hospitality that costs us our time and effort we can encourage women to be women, men to be men, children to learn Scripture and youths to follow God?  That MAYBE we’d become a unified group that kept one another accountable, not because of a program but because THAT’S WHAT WE NATURALLY DO as we grow?!  In a Christian college dorm I learned quickly who would be helpful for me in my walk and who needed my help in theirs.  It’s hard not to be transparent when you have communal bathrooms, after all.  Communal… community.  See the tie-in?  Community of believers.  That’s natural.  Despite the fact that many of those programs have benefited me, that I have (at one time or another) been an assistant or leader in one or more of them, I can’t help but think that we should quit using programs to protect us from reality. 

Related but political note:

Do you think if the government quit trying to protect everyone from themselves (you name it! From school laws to social security to healthcare to company bailouts to…) , protect everyone from everyone else (gun control, FDA, etc), and protect us all from ignorance and give us back the right to be uneducated, uninformed consumers who have to research for ourselves,  save for what we want and prioritize in order to get what we need we’d eventually learn to quit blaming the government programs for our problems and start exercising our FREEDOM to make bad choices and the FREEDOM to pay the consequences of those choices and suddenly have the FREEDOM to make better choices based on what we’ve seen happen to ourselves and others.  Based on the outcomes we see played out in ours, our predecessors and others’ lives?!!?  Quit using programs to protect us from reality.

And there, my friends, we have our similarities between church and government.  Though current trendy law says they must be separate, at least one of them is copying the other.

This may all be an illusion created by an overtired brain.  There you have it.  That’s reality.  I’m not going to try to pretend I spent more than the time it took to type this up to think it through, so feel free to blast several theological or just plain logical holes in the entire thing.  While you do that, I’m going to go to bed so I don’t have to pretend an energetic good morning for you tomorrow.

Disclaimer: I am in no way against organization, structure or planning in its place.  God is a God of order, not of chaos.  Some programs are merely ‘programs’ because they provide organization and planning.  These types of ‘programs’ do not cause a problem for me and I daresay, they never will.  One less theological/logical hole for you to blast, I know… sorry to deprive you of that. =)