So I drove all the way down to Elberta, AL today, w00t me... but that has nothing to do with this post really...
So, Sunday morning, I wake up from yet another interesting dream. Would you like to hear about it? Too bad, I am not sharing this one, however I am going to share one of the things that stuck out to me the most. If you haven't noticed by now, all my dreams have some kind of key phrase that I seem to hone in on (for the most part anyway, there are a few exceptions). Anywho, this phrase took me a while to process it all. "Christians are self-conscious for the sake of others."
Now when I look at this phrase my initial reaction is like, "I don't think we should be self-conscious at all" but I was thinking more along the lines of self-esteem. We shouldn't be so self-conscious that it prevents us from doing the ministry God set out for us, but that is neither here nor there. After thinking on this phrase a while long I have come to the conclusion on how I view this phrase.
We as Christians are called to love and be loved. To be in a community, and know that our theology is really only the beginning to understand a God who is ever greater than we; a Living Word that constantly teaches us new things as we grow closer to obtaining the "shalom" God wants for us. For those reasons we should be self-conscious. We should be conscious of our actions affecting others: How we dress, what we say, our attitudes, our opinions, our use of our talents, everything, it all points toward one thing or the other: Self or Christ. Do we present ourselves in such a way that says "I care"?
I think this could really play in to what Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians (I think) when he talks about eating food served to idols. He doesn't want to be a stumbling block to his brother, so he chooses not to take advantage of that liberty he has to eat those foods. I think in the same way, out of a love for people, we should be willing to mold aspects of ourselves into the things that encourage others towards Christ, rather than inhibit them from Christ. Paul really says it best, "I became all things, to all men, in the hopes that I may reach some with the Gospel." (probably not verbatim, get over it).
There is a lot of "fluff" in this institution known as Christianity and it's buildings we call "church". Christians seem so intent on looking better than they are, but we need to accept the fact that we are only ragamuffins, and that is all we will ever be. That is what makes the Gospel so sweet, so addictive. It reflects the furious love God has for a bunch of broken down, beat up, and burnt out people; and in reaction to that love we follow the commands laid out to us. It IS a Gospel of Grace.
Though we are ragamuffins, that doesn't mean we have to look like slobs. Sure we be authentic about how we feel, but we need to present ourselves in a way that shows we are capable of love. How can you love someone else if you cannot love yourself? If our presentation of self (use of talents, way we dress, speech, etc.) doesn't reflect a love of self, how can we expect others to accept the love we offer, however trivial it may seem?
Perhaps, I am jumping all over a topic that I'm trying to hit; perhaps, I am just rambling on like a loony who just got out of Arkham; or maybe, just freakishly maybe, I am on to something here, and a paradigm shift is on it's way.
I think Kutless said it best:
"Why can't you see, that freedom is sometimes just simply another perspective away.
Who could you be? If your lens was changed for a moment could you still be the same?"
Now I'm off to bed, big day tomorrow. Laters!