I have so many things I want to blog about. I took Maya out for an early morning run the other morning and for once, tuned my mp3 player into the radio instead of listening to a downloaded podcast or music. I was listening to the middle half of Chuck Swindoll's series, Practical Christian Living. I really could not tell you what the whole particular sermon was supposed to be about - but I will tell you about the message I took from it. At one point, he began talking about unity within the church. Something I have been feeling really convicted of. Really early on, I am going to paraphrase my Pastor when I say this (as I do not remember exactly how he stated it) he said to me - that Truth is Truth regardless if I still feel like it is Truth. (I do not recall correctly if he meant me in particular OR if he meant in general - but I took this teaching for personal growth, so for this blog - let's say that this was directed in general but applied personally.)
This is a great teaching which I have consistently tried to remember. Even through my current ups and downs and frustrations with the Protestant movement (I'm sure you cannot tell it from my blogs) and have even often reflected about later. Chuck Swindoll began talking about unity within the church and how when he became a pastor, he often felt compelled to correct people who did not see things the way he saw things - but later, he grew out of this. I am trying my best to recall the exact wording of Mr. Swindoll so as not to misquote him - so instead I am going to simply share with you what I took from him at this point. So simply, instead of correcting others as to where we disagree (and he did share that he would have previously viewed this are heretical and was met with laughs) - to simply think of some things as personal, individual experiences we have had with God and cherish those. And allow others to have their personal, individual experiences with God and cherish those as well (for this blog - please let me clarify that I am not making any assumptions by what Mr. Swindoll means or thinks of when he says "heretical" or who he thinks of when he says "unity of the body". I am not making inclusions or exclusions FOR Mr. Swindoll. I am only personally responsible for making for those my own daily walk). And be united as a body. I took this - as a specific encouragement on a one on one level. Which is my responsibility that I feel I have utterly failed at.
I promise to return to this. But allow me to illustrate with a living breathing example. A few days ago, a man came into the store with his little nina - wanting to purchase a gallon of milk. He was short by $2. I don't know why I did it - but I pulled out a $5 bill and paid for it for him. He stuffed the $3 into my hand. And pretty much wrote off those two dollars - never to see them again.
Today, at the end of my shift as I awaited my relief, a young man came in and paid $20 on his pump and then put $2 in my hand. I looked at him, confused. Huh? "Do you remember me? You gave me two dollars for milk for my daughter. Here it is. Thank you." Whoa, really? He came back? And brought the money? Wow. I was so touched. At the end of a pretty stressful, rotten day when I have a co-worker who just rides me all day long, this was so touching I just wanted to cry a little. Really? I couldn't take it and put it on his pump after he left the store. As I drove home - I realized I had so generalized people as scammers and bad people who were always looking to short the till and the store, that when someone brought back the money, I just didn't know what to do.
I felt (I hate using this word) that the Lord was showing me, just as I have over-generalized my customers, I had also done this with Christians in general. I felt like all Protestants hated Mormons, all Mormons were perfect innocent victims (all anyone need do is visit MAD boards or read a few select LDS apologetic books, ahem DHP, to know that isn't true...), and so on. I realized that when comments that I was overly critical of Protestants came to me - that they feel on deaf ears. Sure, I'm critical of Mormons, etc also - but not half as much as I am of other faith based religions as I am on Protestants. And I honestly wonder, why I am so harsh with Protestants. I really wonder if it is because all the (ehhh) fundie weirdos came from Protestant lines OR if it's because the bad experiences I've personally had come from Protestant Christians? I wonder if this has tainted my vision and if I have disallowed myself to allow others to have various, individual experiences with the Lord. I want to move to unity within the body - but then am critical of how others do things. It is very contradicting. I need to further pursue this in prayer and study and find where the Lord wants me and not be so emotionally driven.
Truth is still Truth regardless of feelings - however, what is Truth? That Jesus is Lord and Savior. This has always been my foundation and something I've always clung to. But the rest, it swirls around me giving me headaches. It's not really something I want to confront right now. So, I'm throwing myself into some dog behavior studies (so sue me - I'm not the first person to practice avoidance) and reading the Bible. Currently, I am in Samuel and reading about King David. Is that ever eye opening. I hope to blog about this once I have finished.
I also hope to abstain from criticism in the coming weeks. I feel very moved to this challenge and "cough it up" for the Lord.
That's all for now. I'll leave you with an amazing shot (for me anyways) of Maya that I worked very hard to get.