Monday, September 14, 2009

Strokes, Nipples and Adventures in missing the point...

A week or so ago, I posted a picture on a post about the following verse:

"O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever. -King David (Psalms 131)

That post didn't receive any comments on my blog...but it got 43 comments generated on my facebook page....all revolving around the "nipple" that was visible in the painting.

The conversations and the experience reminds me of a quote from the great and polarizing Tony Campolo:

“I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”

Yes, we Christians are prone to adventures in missing the point. We major on the minors and minor on the majors. Not one person had anything to say about the point of the post, the scripture or asked about the story behind it. All we could do was dance around the nipple issue. Now, maybe thats a lesson in the distracting nature of image and message...but thats another post.

I wanted to give some background to that original post.

I had just experienced a scary day. My wife woke up and started getting a tingling sensation on her left side of her body. Her leg, arm and face started going numb. We finally ended up at the doctors, doing neurological tests and spending time in the ER doing tests to try to determine if she had MS, a tumor, a stroke or what. She couldn't stand on her toes, she was lethargic and the symptoms came then receded and then came back again over the next 8 days. We didn't tell anyone for the first 7 days. She played through the worship service the first weekend with all of this taking place in her body. She didn't want to frighten the kids or make it public until she had some answers. It was a scary week to say the least.

The Lord used this verse to minister peace to my soul in the midst of this trial. I clung to it and shared it to hopefully encourage someone else in a tough place of anxiety, fear or worry.

What I got, is what most people experience in the church....a lot of opinions, judgements, religiousness, scripture quoting and slightly antagonistic interchanges...all stuff that is typical for the internet and unfortunately for Christians.

During this week, sandwiched between two Sundays of heartfelt and passionate delivery of the word of God; I was knee deep in defending myself from: accusations of mishandling the scriptures, not understanding the biblical narrative, not meeting parishioners needs, leaving a sheep to die alone in his sin, neglecting people, inducing potential sinners to lust...all while working through the fact that my wife might be having a life altering stroke that could reshape all our lives.

Good times...

So here I sit...all the test came back normal, no tumors, MS, lesions on the brain or signs of any stroke. Good news indeed...but my wife is still in bed and wont be going to work today because all she can accomplish is about an hour of activity before she has to sleep again.

As I ponder this verse again and practice the spiritual work of encouraging myself in the Lord...I really find the whole series of interchanges this week to be painfully reflective of how far we all have to go in walking out a type of Christianity that isn't going to repel the world.



Darin said...

Thanks for the post Eric, Perhaps your problem is that you're attempting to be both human and pastor at the same time! Somehow, whether or not we want to admit it, we (those who are not pastors) think that pastors shouldn't wrestle with the same things that we mere mortals wrestle with. They've risen above that.
Hosestly, you're the only pastor that I know personally who is willing to be so spiritually naked for all the world to see...and it is so incredibly inspiring to see authentic spirituality lived out...unedited...raw. Thanks for modeling this in your life Eric.

My family and I will be praying for you and your family as you walk through this diffucult time.


MaryMGlynn said...

I left a comment, but on twitter about the picture. I actually think its a beautiful picture and wish I had one for my home. I will be praying for your wife and I know the Lord is a big enough to heal her. Thinking about you and your family.

Christian Blauer said...

oh no a cartoon nipple im lusting!

i think its safe to say there are worse things.

theyre probably just angry you dont fit their mold, and trying to find some fault they can "expose".

..or maybe theyre offended at the beard (refer to earlier discussion)

Wes said...

Tell Lee she's in our prayers, please.
Thanks Eric.
Hang in there buddy.