In The 70’s, Bread Was Money, In My Prayers, Bread is Time

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Anybody else out there remember the Mod Squad? It was a groovy, hip TV crime drama that ran from 1968 to 1973 on ABC. Even though I was a little kid in the middle of its airing years, I can recall being fascinated with it the few times I snuck in a viewing.

My dad wouldn’t tolerate it when he was in the room.

“Dang hippie show,” he’d mutter as he directed me to slide forward on the carpet and turn the channel dial. I was the remote.

Dad was right, of course–The Mod Squad was unabashedly a hippie show. It was a cutting-edge program, targeted to the youth counterculture of that era, showcasing all the beads, miniskirts, aviator sunglasses, and spectacular afros an eight-year-old honky girl could dream of.

I especially liked the lingo. The Mod Squad’s jive talkin’ was so funky my parents didn’t even understand it. Peter, Julie and Linc called the police “fuzz,” said, “far out, man,” and called each other “cool cats.”

My Malibu Barbie started talking the same way to Skipper. When their Country Camper ran over my sister’s Ken doll, Barbie said, “Outta sight!” and when the Carousel Kitchen’s batteries ran low, Skipper would say, “Heavy, man.”

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But it was my Velvet doll, the one with the retractable hair feature, that always referred to money as “bread.” She would complain to her cousin Crissy doll that her constant hairstyling appointments cost her a lot of bread.

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Remembering that phrase now always makes the “give us this day our daily bread” part of the Lord’s Prayer more relevant in a trippy sort of way.

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Time is a strange entity. It exists, but it doesn’t feel like it does.

Time has always been the only thing I don’t feel I have enough of. As a consumeristic, over-blessed American, my house is full of too much food, too many shoes, and way too many pieces of blue glassware. But none of those things can be a receptacle in which to capture the elusive minutes that are always flying away from me. I’ve despaired many times over not having enough time.

That’s changed a bit in this last year, however. A while back, I was at a church service in which the pastor preached on the “daily bread” part of the Lord’s Prayer. He talked about how bread represented provision and how we can daily trust that God will provide us with just what we need for that day. He mentioned various types of provisions that God grants, but the one that stuck out for me was time. I had never really thought of time as a provision before.

Yet, it is. Just like food, money, water, shelter–time is something granted to me each day and I can choose to use it wisely or squander it on worthless, selfish pursuits (which shall remain nameless for the moment).

So, if time is what I need, then I have to trust that I’ll get enough of it to do whatever I’m supposed to for that day, right?

That epiphany made me view the concept of time in a different light. I haven’t been as stressed about not getting certain things done lately, because I now realize that if I haven’t been given the time to do them, I must not need to get them done that day. That idea has been freeing, to say the least.

And even though I’m no mathematician, I did homeschool my boys just long enough to relearn the transitive property thing: if a=b, and b=c, then a=c. Therefore, if the Mod Squad called bread money, and money equals time, then time must equal bread. Groovy, huh?

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Wally, my inner Pharisee, lied to me about time. He told me that time was given to me first and foremost to further the kingdom of God. He said that because the kingdom of God was built on the church, my time must be spent primarily on church commitment. Even at the expense of my relationships.

He was a liar, of course, but it would take a lot of frustration for me to finally see that. Wally was passing down the lies that his ancestors, the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, had instilled in him. Those old guys spent so much time studying, nit-picking, and carrying out their law interpretations that they completely lost sight of the purpose of the law. Because they spent all their time on the process they had none left with which to enjoy the results. In John 5:39 Jesus said:

“You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me [point to me], yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (NIV)

In other words, the Pharisees got so wrapped up in their process, they completely missed the divine results! That’s what happened to me when I got so wrapped up in churchiness I completely missed the point of fellowship. The spirit of gathering with other believers involves connecting with people through relationships. We need relationships in order to stay emotionally healthy and to learn from each other. But when I exhausted all my time and energy on keeping the club sparkling and organized according to the right charts and standards, I had no time left to enjoy people. I wasted way too much time on the process and ended up disconnected from people, and thus, from Jesus. It was a sad state of affairs, but like the Pharisees, I felt superior in my over-the-top commitment and resented people who were free to enjoy the results of fellowship…

…those far-out, fellowshipping dudes who wisely saved enough of their valuable time for gettin’ down and enjoyin’ a little boogie fever together.

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As a history lover, I’m currently reading, “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. It’s a fascinating account of the last weeks of Abraham Lincoln’s life and the events that led to his assassination.

The very first sentence of the book’s prologue was ingenius. Talk about crafting the perfect opening hook:

“The man with six weeks to live is anxious.”

Only nine words into the story and I was already induced to ponder life. If Lincoln had known he would be killed in six weeks would he have done anything differently? Would that knowledge have made him change his plans and possibly change the course of American history?

What if I was told I only have six weeks to live?

Would I do anything differently?

I think I would. Even though I’m far from being one of the more careful, organized type of people on this planet, the knowledge that I was about to leave earth would still make me loosen up about a few things. I think it would suddenly make time more precious than anything else in the world and I’d imagine I’d stop wasting it on things that really don’t matter.

As much as I love my faith, I think that now, as a former Pharisee, the last thing on earth I’d worry about would involve church stuff. I would hope that I’d finally see Who church was supposed to point to and stop obsessing over the pointing process. I’d really hope I wouldn’t waste another valuable minute policing the after-church snack volunteer list. Or worry about who was supposed to get the bulletin copies made. Or whether or not the worship team played my favorite songs. Or why I was always the only one who ever remembered to clean the coffee pots.

I imagine that anything and everything I could do to spend every moment with my family and friends would become my top priority. I’d run, not walk, to my car and race to my in-state and out-of-state kids’ houses and plop down on their couches and try to say everything that I thought I’d have a lifetime to say.

Hmm. Maybe that wouldn’t be right. Maybe it’d be better for me to plop down and listen to them. Listen to everything they’ve ever needed to say to me.

Or, maybe we’d just hug and cry and hold each other tight.  That would probably be enough, because time is precious.

Precious bread, man.

Righteous, precious bread.

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The Handy Ambulance/Hearse Approach To Evangelism

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(Woo-hoo! Before I write the post that explains the above title, I wanted to take a moment to announce the publication on my first novel entitled, The Epic Undoing of Haley Ann Ewing. The genre is Christian Humor Fiction and it is tentatively scheduled for release by Evergreen Press in four months. This week, I’ll be working on a Books page on this site that will give more information about the story and maybe include some excerpts.)

Now, read on…

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If I wasn’t such a vain person, I would seriously buy this:

It just looks so handy to me–not only to keep hair out of my face while eating, but to prevent the inevitable splashing of sauce on one’s cheeks when eating noodle and pasta dishes. (Does anyone else have issues with that, or is it just me and my exuberant eating style?)

Few things fascinate me more than weird gadgets. I think this interest could be something I inherited from my Grandpa Miles. He spent a good deal of money in his retirement years ordering oddball merchandise out of catalogs and off  TV commercials. I’m not sure if he had too much time on his hands, or if he really did believe in the gizmos’ power to improve his life.

I remember the grabber stick he was sure would be invaluable to my very short Grandma. It was flimsy and had a claw-like end that wasn’t easy to manipulate. Grandma tried it a couple times, but banished it from the kitchen after it prematurely let go of the box of light bulbs she was pulling off a top shelf. (It would later be adopted as a handy weapon of terror in my little brother’s grasp. I still whip around with my fists raised if I hear the word, “pinchy” repeated several times behind my back.)

I also remember sporting several huge, ugly red spots on my nose for days after letting Grandpa convince me that the Vacutex Blackhead Extractor was just the ticket for my pre-teen pore enlargement angst. It didn’t remove the blackheads–it just made them even bigger and highlighted them with blazing red rings. I wanted to die.

My Dad had issues with his father-in-law’s gadgets, as well. He said a person could drown trying to use Grandpa’s special X-ray Fish Spying Goggles, and reported that the Rearview Sight Enhancing Mirror greatly enhanced his chances of driving Grandpa’s car straight into oncoming traffic. Dad said the stupid mirrored visor consisted of a long row of smaller mirrors that stretched across the top of the windshield and made it look like ten cars were coming at him all at once. He kept instinctively flinching, gasping, and ducking while he drove. Said that lethal safety device made him feel like he was back in the Korean War.

Fortunately, my fascination has not induced me to buy many of these types of gadgets. I just like surfing for them out of interest.

It’s the emergency survival things that really catch my eye. I like to imagine what would be the most helpful all-in-one to own if I should ever mindlessly wander into lostness while berry-picking in the mountains.

No need for a daypack crammed with numerous matchbooks, multi-tools, compasses or flashlights if I have this handy-dandy product:

“The SM010A Emergency MP4 Player from Hong Kong’s SATY…can play standard MP3 and MP4 files..and it has a radio…it also has a built in flashlight on it’s top side. It has a pull cord on the left side which allows you to endlessly power it up. 2 minutes of string pulling is enough juice for 1 hour of flashlight usage or 1-2 hours of standby on your cellphone. The Emergency MP4 Player also has a pest and mosquito repellent…an alcohol breathalizer …and poison gas detector.”

www.craziestgadgets.com/2009/01/09/emergency-mp4-player

Wow–I could know on the spot if I was truly lost or just drunk. And, poison gas detector, you say? I say, “Bring it on, terrorists–you can’t make me leave my berry patch that easily!” The only thing this MP4 is missing is a collapsible gas mask that would allow me to keep picking if such an event occurred.

Survival gadgets can generally be thought of as Plan B products. They’re only useful if Plan A doesn’t pan out. That is, if your cruise goes  bad, or your plane wrecks, or you insist on following your GPS, even when it directs you to turn into a snake-infested swamp.

Some products are both Plan A/Plan B types. These can be referred to as “Combinations” or “Conversions.” They are combined units that can convert from one thing to another, depending on the necessity of the moment.

I ran across this mother-of-all combinations the other day:

http://www.northlandpcs.com/professionalcars.htm

An ambulance/hearse combination–how handy is that? Apparently, this 1973 Superior Cadillac was only one in a long, historic line of such combination vehicles that were really used for decades in small towns across the country. Who knew?

The implications are obvious–if Plan A, administering of medical care and transportation to the ER isn’t successful, than everyone is already equipped on the spot to implement Plan B. What a great time and money saver for any strapped municipal budget! Of course, this picture makes me wonder how I would feel if I had a medical emergency and a hearse showed up to transport me…

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So, the whole idea of conversions got me to thinking about another kind of conversion–Christian conversion. Specifically, the following harsh words of Jesus in Matthew 23:15:

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!” (NLT)

Yikers–them is fightin’ words. What exactly was Jesus accusing the Pharisees of here? I think he was basically saying that they would go to great lengths to convert Gentiles to Judaism, but then turn those former pagans into Mini-Mees of the Pharisees’ misguided selves. It was one thing to convert people to Judaism, but quite another to convert them to a twisted Judaism.

It seems that, by Jesus’ time, most of the Pharisees had fallen into a type of grievous idolatry–they were worshiping their own pompous traditions instead of worshiping God. Four hundred years of prophetic silence had taken its toll on the clarity and purpose of  Moses’ Law. It had slowly opened the door for the Jewish leaders to do what comes natural to all humans–make themselves the center of their world. So, being the bookish, creative thinkers that they were, they began to pick the Law apart and reinterpret it so extensively that it became strange, convoluted, and comprised of man’s ideas instead of God’s. These ideas, then, became the traditions that the Pharisees so zealously guarded.

The Pharisees had taken their eyes off God and focused their adoring gaze on their own works. Without intending to, they stopped worshiping the Creator and started worshiping the traditions, something they themselves had created.

It was their own special brand of  idolatry, and in reality, not much different from what they were trying to turn the pagans away from.

The ones they called the “Children of Hell.”

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A scene from Michaelangelo’s “Last Judgement.” The boatman Charon is ferrying the damned into hell. The early Roman church utilized this type of handy, scary art to make sure people got converted and stayed converted.

During one of my deepest Pharisaism disease flare-ups, I remember being particularly zealous to convert people. Fired-up by sermons and Christian radio messages that commanded good Christians to “go and make disciples of all nations,” and “go into all the world and preach the good news,” I determined to get as many people as I could to go to church.

This was obviously not a healthy idea. Like the Pharisees, my thinking had been infiltrated by selfish motives and I didn’t realize that getting people to “go to church” was not necessarily the point of the Great Commission.

In all reality, I wasn’t as interested in introducing people to God as I was to really just wanting them to join my awesome Sunday club. Under the guise of looking out for people’s eternal destinies, I set out to see how many people I could bring to church.

Not only were my motives misguided, so were my methods. I would start out seeing myself as a type of ambulance. I would identify who I thought needed spiritual care and healing and offer to take them to a place like that. More often than not, of course, the person wouldn’t agree that they needed my assistance. That’s when I’d convert my ambulance to a hearse.

They’d need one because I was taught to inform my resistant hearers that they were dying and heading straight for a gruesome, horrible, eternal hell. It was a handy combination technique–pull the magnetized strobe light off the top of the ambulance, close the window curtains from the inside, and voila! my vehicle of loving rescue could instantly become a delivery van for a terrifying death message.

It was a grievous abuse of theology, and, as such, also one of the most grievous symptoms of Pharisaism. But, at times, quite effective. I could certainly scare people into coming to church…

…But not necessarily to the love of God.

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So, like most issues related to Pharisaism, the validity of conversion methods rests solely on motive. Jesus consistently yanked the Pharisees back to the motives behind what their acts, not the acts themselves.

I had to face my diseased motives when I embarked on my recovery. What I found was that the whys and howevers of  my “witnessing” tactics really could be boiled down to one of the worst of the biblical sins–PRIDE. I was convinced that my instituted way of worship was the only right one, and I wanted people to acknowledge that I was right by adopting  that brand of faith practice. Of course, then, when that twisted thinking resulted in a convert, that convert would go on to be just as diseased as me. In effect, I had “turned that person into twice the child of a hearse-driver that I was!”

Thank goodness, I didn’t stay in that mindset forever. Once I began to recover, I learned to develop the daily habit of checking my motives. As long as I stay focused on loving people and letting them know that I’m there for them, I don’t have to drive a hearse anymore.

It really was just an unhandy, unwieldy, gimmicky gadget. Even Grandpa Miles wouldn’t have wanted it.

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I think Grandpa Miles is speaking to me from heaven today. I have a strange and unexpectedly strong urge to buy one of these:

But I promise I won’t…

…maybe.

In The Trunks of Our Cars

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Zach and Dusty, 1994

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One day, about fifteen years ago, my mom realized that their beloved dog, Dusty, was missing. He was the sweet Springer Spaniel my parents had adopted as a puppy after my sister and I left home.  He was smart and gentle–a great companion to my younger brother as a teenager, and a patient playmate for the grandkids that came in quick succession during the 1980’s.

I’ll never forget the panic I heard in my mom’s voice on that fateful day when she called to say that Dusty had disappeared.

“When did you see him last?” I asked.

“When we got home from the store. He ran out and greeted us as usual, but that was hours ago and we haven’t seen him since. He’s not in the yard, anywhere. I’ve called and called for him–even went into the woods, but there’s just no sign of him!”

Mom was really upset. Dusty was Mom’s constant companion during the day, and Dad’s walking partner in the evenings. He had eased their transition to empty-nesters by simply being his friendly self.

“Are you sure he’s not in the house, hiding somewhere?”

“I’ve searched every room, and besides that, he always comes when I call.”

“Do you think he’s run off, farther away?”

“We’ve already driven up and down the road for miles and called and called, but nothing. I’ve talked to all the neighbors and they haven’t seen him.” Her voice broke, making my heart hurt for her. “Oh, Willow–I hope he’s okay!”

I hung up the phone, feeling helpless from my distant location on the other end of Montana. All I could do was pray.

The next morning, I awoke thinking of Dusty.

The phone rang a little while later. “He’s back! Dusty’s here!” Mom’s tone was jubilant.

“Where was he? How did you find him?” I asked.

Mom and Dad’s old Nissan was similar to this one. The trunk was actually quite roomy.

Mom giggled in a rather odd way and then hesitated. She cleared her throat before going on to tell me that prior to leaving for work that morning, Dad had opened the trunk of their little Nissan sedan to put something in and out jumped Dusty. It seems he had been in the trunk of the car all along. For something like a terrible eighteen hours.

Apparently, Dad had walked by the car after unloading it the day before and closed the trunk lid without looking inside it. Looking back, he figured Dusty must have jumped inside, but didn’t protest when the lid slammed down. Dad and Mom both felt horrible.

Especially considering that the whole evening before, while they were driving the back roads, searching the ditches and calling for him from the car windows, the dog was right there–right behind the back seat, in the trunk. Being a patient fellow, he hadn’t made a noise, at least nothing that could be heard above the hum of the engine.

My parents’ immense relief was mixed with immense guilt. They might as well have been Mafia bosses driving around with a silenced informant stuffed in their trunk.

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The Pharisees, along with all the Jewish people, were watching and waiting for the arrival of the long-predicted Messiah. They were desperate for God to raise up a mighty leader who would deliver them from Roman oppression and re-establish the nation of Israel as a kingdom under a Messianic kingship. As a defeated people, the Jews were expecting a political reformer to lead them to national victory, not a humble carpenter’s son who, shunning politics, was there to lead them to spiritual freedom.

And so it was, when Jesus came and lived among them, most of the Jews (especially the Pharisees) refused to believe that he was the one they were looking for. But Jesus stated his identity plainly from the beginning of his ministry:

“Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached…’The time promised by God has come at last!…’The Kingdom of God is near!'” Mark 1:14-15 (NLT)

And,

“…the Pharisees asked Jesus, ‘When will the Kingdom of God come?’ Jesus replied, ‘The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you. “‘Luke 17:20-21 (NLT)

Of course, most of the Pharisees were blind and deaf to Jesus’ truth. Rather than humbly opening themselves up to the possibility that their presumptions regarding the Messiah’s return were too narrow, they dug in, refusing to see Jesus as anything but a threat to their authority.

In the end, their search for something they already had would result in Jesus’ agonizing death.

Dusty, too, would have eventually died if Mom and Dad hadn’t discovered that, all along, while they were diligently and frantically searching for him, he was right there with them…only a few feet away.

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One of the more aggravating symptoms of my Pharisaism disease was a bout of unhealthy expectations. Most likely related to the larger problem of presumption, these expectations became chronic and damaging over time. They caused me to narrow my perspective on the purpose of church, and caused me to expect that the way I did church was the way that God had universally prescribed for all Christians.

I expected that every church should be housed in a clean, respectable facility, should conduct regular Sunday morning services, should have pleasing worship music, should insist on literal word-for-word bible studies, and be led by a qualified, professional pastor. Anything less could put its members in danger of heresy, or apostasy, or any number of other dangerous conditions ending in –sy.

I expected that the kingdom of God was populated with committed, sober, upright people whose good behavior was the vehicle that allowed them to bring Jesus to their community. That it was every Christian’s duty to whip our culture back into shape–to get people to all live respectably, as I defined respectability, that is.

I fully expected that the American Christian Church model was the only true representation of God’s kingdom to society and I needed to do everything right in order to keep God’s displeasure with America at bay, and then be first in line to receive my reward for doing so.

The problem was, though, that I wasted a ton of time preparing for something that had already arrived.

I was driving around in my religious institutional vehicle, calling out for Jesus, searching for him, longing for him to come and show himself to the pagan culture, not realizing that he was already with me and everyone else.

I didn’t realize I had locked him up inside my sick presumptions.

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Concerning the whole Dusty ordeal, Mom later said the worst part was hoping the neighbors wouldn’t press for specifics when they asked if the dog had been found. Dad said the worst part for him was when the the poor dog leapt out of the trunk and started running around on three legs so he could pee while still running. Practically flooded the yard, Dad reported.

But everything turned out okay in the end. Dusty survived just fine.

And, as a diseased church person, so did I…

…but only after I opened my mind.

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Boxed Inside The Clean Club

(Due to summer busyness, I’m rerunning an April post.)

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I’ve never been much of a club person. The main reason is probably because the majority of  clubs in the small towns I’ve lived in are usually craft-oriented. I’ve lived among whole colonies of Martha Stewart clones.  These amazing women organize clubs for quilters, knitters, scrapbookers, beaders, potters, wool-spinners, candlemakers, soap carvers and twiggy wreathers, to name a few.

But never anything for someone with my particular disability. You see, I was born with an unfortunate predisposition to clumsiness and fumbly-fingeredness.

I am handicraft impaired.

There is no humiliation quite as raw as the type that occurs when someone like me struggles through a Friendly Plastic jewelry making class only to find that their modeling plastic is anything but friendly. Especially when the year is 1989 and everyone else has produced glorious purple, fuchsia, and silver-colored earring medallions with their plastic chunks. My medallions look like toucan poop on juice can lids.

There is only one club involving craft-making in which I can achieve a modicum of success. It is called Kindergarten. My back and legs may cramp from crouching on the tiny chairs, and the cracker portions may be unsatisfyingly small, but the oohs and ahhs I receive from my tablemates when I hold up a completed paper bag pig puppet make it all worthwhile. I am at home in the safety scissors crowd.

Sewing defeats me before I even start. I cried my way through sewing in 4H and got a generous D in ninth grade Home Ec when the teacher pointed out that I had sewed the skirt waistband onto the hem end. I modeled that fiasco with a Mrs. Wiggin’s gait as the darts constricted my knees. (Does anyone else out there remember Carol Burnett as Mrs. Wiggins and how Tim Conway’s Mr. Tudball said Mrs. HuhWiggins?)

Suffice it to say that I’m happiest when I’m outside a crafting club, rather than inside where, even though the members are sweet and kind and the coffee is delicious, I just don’t fit in.

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The most notable member of the mega-righteous Pharisee Club was Saul–later known as Paul the Apostle.  As a Pharisee, Paul lived and breathed the Old Covenant practices and prided himself on mastering the art of regulation-keeping. He reported that he was “faultless” in his legalistic righteousness. This extreme legalism also blinded him. Similar to the other strict Pharisees, he had no vision beyond what he presumed God to be.

Metaphorically speaking, Paul and his Pharisee cronies lived in a big box.  Orderly, spacious, fenced and hedged, it was their Law Clubhouse. It had taken centuries to build, but was nearly complete by the time Jesus arrived. The Law Clubhouse became an elite retreat for the brightest and best of the Pharisees. They stayed separated from the rest of society in the immaculate building and admitted entrance only to those who conformed to their high standards.

As nice a place as the Law House was, however, its interior was always dark. And that was exactly what led to the blindness of the Pharisees. Like moles living underground, the Pharisees had no need for eyesight as long as they stayed inside their familiar, dark dwelling. They could feel their way around just fine.

Inside the Law House, Paul was the supervisor of the house’s security team, ordering various punishments and death sentences to the pagans who tried to gain entrance illegally. The blasphemers who, even though they didn’t submit to proper rule-keeping, claimed to be children of God. Being that sort of commander was hard work, but somebody had to do it. And, in spite of, or maybe because of his blindness, Paul did it well.

Unfortunately though, like an Olympian whose promising athletic future is brought to a screeching halt by a serious injury, Paul’s career was derailed on the road to Damascus. In a curious twist, his Pharisaical, spiritual blindness would be zapped with a dose of physical blindness. He would be struck blind by a LASIK beam so powerful it would knock him right out the Clubhouse and out beyond the perfect hedges. When he would finally regain his sight, he would find himself among the clumsy pagans he had previously punished. And he would surprise himself by enjoying their company.

Even more astonishing would be his face-to-face with Jesus. Once his blindness was cured, Paul would see that Jesus was the Messiah and that Jesus had chosen to live outside the immaculate Clubhouse.

Outside the rules.

Outside the traditions.

Outside the box.

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Pharisaism is an equal opportunity disease. It infects Christians of all persuasions, denominations, and non-denominations. Its symptoms are not necessarily manifested in the practices of individual churches, but in the prevailing attitudes of individual members. I believe God is happy with the differences He has created in the hearts of believers, so we shouldn’t judge whether or not Pharisaism exists in certain congregations based on their worship preferences.

Unfortunately though, Pharisaism has definitely sickened some churches. These are the ones with a number of people as ill as I used to be. The ones with the amazing ability to craft gorgeous church services and build frameworks on which to display their immaculate standards. Places where even though the members are kind and sweet, and the coffee is delicious, the  orthodoxy-impaired among us just don’t fit in.

Places and people that the struggling, fumbly-fingered sinners steer away from in the same way I run from an army of kindly scrapbookers carrying their nauseatingly organized supply boxes.

But that’s okay. I’m perfectly content to spend my time crafting a poem–an ode to God–while waiting in the car in a Home Depot parking lot. A lot of inspiration can occur when one’s husband is dreaming big in the store’s power tool aisle. And sometimes, even though my poems are now written outside a church clubhouse, they still turn out theologically correct.

At least my kindergarten friends think so.

Our family photos. Scrapbook this, Martha Stewart!

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