There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.- CS Lewis
Dee's latest bluebirds-more pictures of the birth to come!
Last week, I stumbled upon the You Tube video that you are about to see. I was mesmerized and I repeated the video over and over again. Whenever that happens, I know that God is trying to get my attention.
At the same time, one our readers, sent me a link here to a story about a 12 year old boy with cerebral palsy who, along with his family, was thrown out of an Elevation Church Easter service. This church is affiliated with Steven Furtick’s franchise.
What, pray tell, did the boy do?
According to his mom, right after the opening prayer, he voiced his own “Amen.” But it must not be a kind of “amen” that is approved by the pastors because the boy, along with his family, was immediately escorted out of the sanctuary.His mom apparently “emailed the pastor with an offer to start a ministry for special needs children. It was rejected.”
So, what was the church’s explanation?
“Elevation employees say the church focuses on worship, not ministries. And in a statement, a church spokeswoman said "it is our goal at Elevation to offer a distraction-free environment for all our guests. We look forward to resolving any misunderstanding that has occurred."
Most likely, in response to the hue and cry over this response, “the pastor has since contacted a group that connects people with developmental challenges to community resources and requested special needs training for his staff.”
Suddenly, it hit me. Both of these stories are a living example of the emphasis on sin and ugliness by some of the Calvinista groups. On SGM Survivors and in the recent dustup at Mars Hill, I have read story after story about those who were relentlessly pressured about every sin imaginable. People wrote of asking their pastors questions and being told that they had the “sin of a questioning spirit.”
A recent commenter discussed how sinful your humble blog queens are. He then went to great lengths to tell us how much time he spends in prayer seeking to eliminate his sins, suggesting that we do the same. CJ Mahaney calls himself the worst sinner in the world and his ministry seems to emphasize sin, sin and more sin according to stories on the SGM Survivors sites.
It dawned on me that these types of people only see the ugliness of those around them. Sure, they play a good game of including themselves in the description. It's called “see how rotten I am.” But there is a perverse arrogance in letting everyone know just how sinful they know they are. They appear to subtly hint that, if they are so sinful, can we imagine just how sinful the rest of us are?
These types of people focus on the ugliness and, in so doing, I contend that they miss the beauty. That’s right. When was the last time you have heard one of these “sin” leaders ever talk about the beauty of God’s most magnificent creation-mankind? I have some good news. Hmmm-maybe I should use the word, Gospel? Yep, I will. Why should the Calvinistas take over the word? I want to announce the beautiful news of the Gospel. We may be sinners but, if we accept Jesus, we are now positionally holy. Yes, we still sin but the Holy Spirit also leads us. And that is good news, indeed. And guess what? There is beauty involved.
When God created us, He gave each one of us gifts, talents and beauty. We overlook this when all we focus on is sin. Christ came so we could focus on the beauty, as well. Look at the world around us. We are told that this world is fallen and that one day it will be recreated. Well if this world is fallen, then why do some really beautiful things still exists in the midst of it all?
The Rockies, the Grand Canyon, the Caribbean ocean, the Alps, the bluebirds in my yard, pink azaleas, chocolate, my funny pug dogs, periwinkle blue, the Redwoods, giraffes and penguins, the sound of a baby laughing, a teen girl all dressed up for her first prom, an elderly lady dancing to a praise song in Budapest…. Please feel free to share with us the beauty that you see in this world.
And that is what the Calvinistas and other assorted sin sniffers overlook. At Elevation church, they focused on the off note of the “Amen” and did not see the beauty of a handicapped child who praised God in his language. Instead the church chose to stick to the mundane program and missed the mark.
In the video you are about to watch, Simon Cowell and the audience first saw only the unlovely. If this young man had not opened his mouth, they would have dismissed him as “nothing important” and even “weird.” The world would have missed the beauty.
Folks, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus came, died on the Cross and He is now alive. We see the beauty of Jesus and through Him see the beauty in each other. Some leaders are stuck on sin. Let’s also be stuck on grace, and in that grace, get stuck on beauty.
Never forget, we are dealing with immortals. As CS Lewis said in “The Weight of Glory:
"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."
Oh, one further point. Just know this. Deb and I, along with Wade and others, are giving all of you a standing ovation for you bring joy and beauty to our lives every day. And Deb, we are always a duo, just like Charlotte and Jonathan.