Tony Campolo is my friend.
Before you accuse me of dropping names to impress you while acknowledging I'm not above that 'cause I've got lots of 'em to drop, dropping Tony's hasn't endeared me to friends on the right side of the aisle ever since he hung out with our current Secretary of State's husband and defended his wife Peggy's passion for loving everybody even if they don't fly straight.
Unlike people who only like folks who agree with 'em - a trait which does not distinguish people who love like Jesus to love Jesus - I've got friends from all corners of the Kingdom and even some on the outside with no exceptions except Red Sox fans.
O.K., I'll confess.
My favorite black son and high school AD are Boston fans.
It's so hard to dislike people if you really get closer to Jesus.
Getting back to Tony, I'll never forget when he revealed the secret of unity to me: "If you share a passion for a common mission, your bond will be impregnable."
Our marriage was weakening.
While I haven't, uh - How did Tiger put it? - uh, "transgressed" against my wife in over a decade in, uh, geez, snap, that kinda way, my wife gave a hint about the growing distance in her annual Christmas letter: "He is...available for anyone, anytime" (click on "Leslie's Christmas Letter" or go to www.belvpresbyterian.org to see the whole thing).
Let's just say I'm involved in lots of high maintenance ministries in addition to being a workaholic.
That movie in the clip above was helpful; but it wasn't until we came together in common mission that our bond hardened as well as deepened if you know what I mean.
Expanding the wineskin of our family to include another son refreshed His best in us for each other and others.
Campolo was/remains right.
Admittedly, my wife has an extraordinary way of simplifying things.
When I asked why somebody who I had always esteemed and encouraged really left the church, she said, "He wanted to control you. He wanted you to be his best friend."
She was right.
My wife's insight/discernment is why I'm always dissing PBHO, Huckaboo, preachers, professors, and anyone else climbing or being pushed/pulled/prodded up those pedestals.
Aside from a few commandments that deal with it directly as more of a precaution than proscription, human heroes are just not divine enough to live up to the unrealistically diviner expectations of folks who want gods with skin on.
Tiger comes to mind.
A very wise slightly older than moi woman wrote to me, "Perhaps we indulge in a little schadenfreude when we think of his problems."
That's why Jerry Springer, Maury, and the like have such popular shows.
Lots of folks feel better about themselves by observing the miseries of others.
I think there's been so much jealousy and racism revolving around Tiger that sickos couldn't wait to see his humanity exposed; regardless of the pain that it has caused his wife, children, and fans who idolized him.
That's why I diss the aforementioned and insist, "It's all about Jesus."
He's the only hero worth worshiping.
Of course, He was crucified; which takes me back to...
I watch a lot of high school football games with an elder because he knows a lot about the sport and, well, uh, geez, I just like him.
Anyway, I'll never forget a game last fall when he said while pointing to different fans, "He left our church about 25 years ago...She used to be really active; but left about 20 years ago...15 years ago...10 years ago...since you came!"
God knows I know he knows they know people leave churches for lots of really, really, really spiritually/selfishly stupid reasons. Usually, they don't get their way about something or there's a change that their wineskin ain't big enough to handle or they fall out of love with Jesus which is proven by their falling out of love/communion with His body the church or...
It's wrong; and some folks just can't seem to help themselves from digging those holes deeper and...
Be that as it is with no resemblance to what Jesus had in mind, a story form the Kirk (Church) of Scotland comes to mind.
A fellow left his church a few years before the new pastor arrived on the scene. He left because of strained relationships with a few other members. So the new pastor went to see the disaffected member and sat before the fireplace with him in total silence.
After what seemed like a very long time, the pastor took the tongs, picked out a bright and burning coal from the fire, and placed it on the hearth. Both watched as the coal grew cold, dimmed, and died.
The pastor turned to the fellow and said, "We miss you at the kirk."
Apart from my understanding of Ephesians 6 which goes a long way in explaining it, some people just seem to have this thanatos libido manifesting itself by distance/divorce from what they need most.
People need family; and the best families have only one head.
Or as one of my two favorite living devotional writers says, "Things change when Jesus enters the picture" (sign up for her e-mailed devotionals via PastorsHeartbeat@aol.com).
When people heard about the expansion of our familial wineskin, they urged us to see The Blindside.
We liked seeing what we're experiencing; and we like encouraging people to see it if they don't get what's been such a blessing to our marriage and family.
He gave the vision/mission to us before we saw it; and it was encouraging to know He is expanding others to...
Or maybe it's just the way it's supposed to...
Are Matthew 25 and Acts 2 still in the new all-about-me parodies of Christianity?
Don't get moi wrong.
Just like today's ecclesiastical culture expects clergy to be "errand boys for their wandering desires...[where]...the enemy I see wears a cloak of decency" (Bob Dylan), every day has not been a hot fudge sundae.
$ is tight.
Space is limited.
All kinds of emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical wineskins gotta stretch.
It's like the day that we went to see the movie.
An usher stopped me and wanted to inspect my briefcase.
I asked why the lady in front of me wasn't stopped; considering her purse was over three times the size of my briefcase and bringing up bad memories of airport security seizing my little Swiss Army penknife while letting the spinster with knitting needles slip...
The answer to my question: "We know what she's packing but don't know what you're packing."
First, people assume lots of things.
Second, you really don't know what people are packing until you look inside.
I think that's what Campolo was trying to tell me.
Blessings and Love!
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