Friday, July 31, 2009

More lessons from the lawn

I had forgotten how effective the act of cutting grass can be with regard to clearing the mind of static, noisy thoughts. Back in NY with nearly an acre of grass to cut, some of my most clear-thinking occurred while riding the tractor, pushing the mower, or wielding a weed-whacker.

During my latest grass cutting episode, as I was examining the imperfections in my lawn and beginning to stress out about them, I found it amusing that people who install an artificial lawn want it to look "real" while those who install real grass want it to look artificially perfect.

It hit me that we can do the same thing with church.

We can choose to attend a church that presents itself as being all polished, dialed in, pristine presentation, hip and cool bulletins, and pastoral staff that gives the impression of having reached Christ-like perfection in their walk. But having made that choice we can then complain about a lack of sincerity, depth of relationships, and overall shallowness that lacks the power of God's Holy Spirit.

Alternatively, we can choose to attend a church that presents itself as being humble, sincere, and where people are (and can be) "real". Things may be modest, in order, relationships deep, and there is a genuineness and Holy Spirit power that is evident. Having made THAT choice we can then complain about the imperfections in fellow congregants, lay leaders, pastors, and elders. We can second guess decisions made and expect the type of perfection that polished churches imply.

Until the Lord returns, there will not be such a thing as a perfect church. But I choose to be a part of a church that seeks to glorify God by making mature disciples of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit in a real and sincere manner. I choose to lay aside my expectations of people. Instead, I choose to be a conduit of God's grace to others... to actively participate in the "one anothers" as described in Scripture.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph 4:32)