Monday, October 5, 2009

This Glorious Life

Insiders see it (the church) differently. Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners. Many of the people outside the hospital are every bit as sick as the ones inside, but their illnesses are either undiagnosed or disguised. It's similar with sinners inside the church. Eugene Peterson (The Message: Commentary introduction to the book of James)

My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence
how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith.

James 2:1

Once, while employed at a humanitarian non-profit, it became quickly apparent that I was one of a tiny handful of Christians. One evening, after orchestrating a huge fundraising event, several co-workers and I kicked off our shoes to wind down. With cigar smoke curling to the ceiling and beer cans popping around me, I was startled when I became the center of a religious interrogation. Between the jabs and pokes came serious questions and yet there was a general opinion that what I believed, was unbelievable. That evening set the stage for the remainder of my time at that organization.

The barrage of questions never stopped during the duration of my employment and they came most frequently when, alone, I was surrounded by a group of people who could render their opinions. I was watched, constantly. And, of course, there came that time when I lost my cool in a meeting and I witnessed the smirks of “you’re no better than us.”

I don’t really know what marks I left on my last day of employment 2 ½ years later. My prayer is, that in spite of my stumblings, I lived out my faith in Jesus Christ, gloriously.

There were times when I simply wanted to be just another ordinary employee, after all we were about “doing good.” But, then I would hear Jesus’ voice, calling me out of my wilderness, and I realized again that choosing the Jesus Way makes me anything but ordinary.

Jesus, you lived in a swirl of public opinion.
Thank you for showing me how I can live
my life in a glorious manner!
Help me each day to live out my uniqueness in You.

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