Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We, the Pharisees -- Better than You!

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing some nuggets of spiritual truth from Pete Wilson’s book:  Plan B:  What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought He would?  The title of chapter 9 comes from Ann Lamott’s assertion that the most powerful sermon in the world consists of two words:  me too.
… when you’re struggling with a Plan B circumstance, when you are dealing with unmet expectations, when you’re hurt or doubting, questioning and crying, there’s nothing more healing than knowing someone else has been there.  When you’re hurt or doubting, there’s nothing more comforting than hearing someone say, “I know what you’re going through.”  When you’re questioning and crying, there’s nothing that helps more than being told, “I’m in it with you, too.”
Me too.  (p. 121)
Sharing with each other in the middle of the struggle is where we find Christian community.  But we think we have to get all prettied up to go to church.  Growing up I hated going back to church on Sunday nights because back in the late 60’s and early 70’s it meant that I had to put back on those painful dress shoes and those itchy “nice” clothes.  Even though the acceptable modes of dress have relaxed since then (and thank God they have), we still think we have to make our insides more presentable to go to church.  In Luke 18 we see Jesus comparing the prayers of a tax collector and a Pharisee.  Wilson unpacks it this way:
You see, it doesn’t take long in this story to figure out that the Pharisee hasn’t really come to the temple to pray.  He’s actually come to inform God and everyone gathered that particular day of how good he is.  He isn’t there to seek help and community with other sinners, but to remind them all how self-sufficient he is. (p. 132).
Previously he wrote:
So here’s the thing.  We’re a lot more likely to encounter community in the circle of people who have been broken.  But unless we can get the idea out of our heads that winning is the goal of life or the only thing that counts, we’re apt to miss the community it offers.  Unless we can admit to ourselves that we, too, haven’t made it, we’re apt to miss the community. (p. 127)
I might also add that we’re also apt to deprive someone else of the community that they so desperately need. 
That’s enough to think about for now.  The peace of Christ to you.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home