I kind of doubt I will wax philosophical this morning. I have a neck ache, a headache and a back ache. I do not know what brought it all on, but normally these are precursors to a weather change (ground hogs can predict that stuff year round). Whatever it is, I just need it to go away. I have to go in to work here in a few minutes and listen to cranky customers on the phone. I do not need to be cranking back at them. I need to go back to burrowing for a living. That's what a ground hog is supposed to do anyway. A few root vegetables wouldn't hurt either. I'm putting on a few pounds. I was up to 222 lb last night on the scale in nothing but basketball shorts. Are you all picturing a ground hog in basketball shorts? Ya, funny ha ha. Ground hogs are not noted for being svelt anyway. You will never see one with a six pack. Maybe a pony keg, but not a six pack. But I digress....
There are times when you realize how blessed you are. I had a day like that yesterday. Friends far and near reached out to me in different ways with love and support and God's grace and it made the rest of the day much better. I thank all of you for that. I need to warn all of you though, I'm like a stray dog. If you're nice to me, you will be stuck with me for the rest of my life. People move far away and they still can't get shed of me. I will hunt you down (;^)))
Here's a random thought from a friend that's sort of in line with yesterday's post about knowledge. I have known Christians that believe they should be fruit inspectors. They actually advocate this practice and are proud to be called fruit inspectors. Whenever that term comes up in Sunday school or church, I get incensed. This notion comes from some very bad reading of the New Testament in my view. The idea is that we would know people by the spiritual fruit they bear. Jesus talks about this and so does Paul. And it's true. You can tell much about someone by the way they behave and how they interact with other people and what they believe and how those beliefs guide their lives.
What drives me bonkers is when this gets used by self righteous people to inflict judgement on others. These folks want to go through your spiritual fruit basket and determine what should be there and what should not be there. Never mind the rotting apple at the bottom of their own bowl, your grapes are going over and not in a good way. Clean it up. This is what I'm talking about when I say fruit inspector. To my mind, this was the behavior of the pharisees in Christ's time. "Woe to you scribes and pharisees. You go 1000 miles to make a single convert and then make him twice the son of hell that you are"...."woe to you scribes and pharisees. you place great weights on the people and then do nothing to help them carry it". Those are paraphrases of what Christ said, but it is how I view these self appointed fruit inspectors. I KNOW YOU BY YOUR FRUIT.
How about this instead. How about we all confess our spiritual and fleshly brokeness or bentness or whatever you want to call it? How about we all love each other and trust each other enough and serve each other's spiritual and physical needs? Maybe if we did that, there would be less rotten fruit in all our bowls.
And this brings me to the thought of my friend that he shared yesterday. Why is it that the church has rotten fruit in the bowl that it overlooks, that it keeps, that it even cherishes, but other rotten fruit gets thrown out without so much as a Grace period?
The church tends to keep its gossips, it's gluttons, it's divorced, it's whatever you want to name; but there are others who, because their brokeness is so strange, we want them out of the basket? It's as if God's grace does not extend to them because even the liars and gossips cannot stand them. Why is this? Is there some unwritten code that says "it's ok if you've gossiped or your tend to eat too much or if you tend to believe your own lies, but really, if you've done any of these other things, we don't want you. Nothing personal. There are places for people like you to go to. We just can't have you here. God loves you. I love you. But could you just go away and not talk about it? I'm uncomfortable already".
Does God love like that? Did Jesus love like that? Is that what we're all about in our white middle class evangelical churches? I hope not.
You say, "but Ghog, have you ever acted this way?"
I am sorry to say that I have. I am also happy to say it's time to knock it off. Jesus loves us. Let Him be our fruit inspector while we concentrate on producing the fruit.