Beyond the sitcom timeslot...

I grew up with a bit of a "Leave It To Beaver" Christianity. Every sermon, every testimonial, every Sunday school lesson taught of life's problems as solvable in the time slot of a sitcom. The driving philosophy was "just call on Jesus and He'll come and make everything better."

The challenge was that my life experience didn't play that out.

Nancy-the-Insightful told me something this week about snakes. She said that before snakes shed their skin, their eyesight begins to get cloudy. This bothers them, so they start to push their head against a rock to rub the "cloudy" out of their eyes. This gets the process started and eventually, the snake works itself out of its dead skin. The new skin is beautiful, but tender and it takes awhile for the new skin to feel as comfortable as the old one did. The thing is that this isn't a one time process. Eventually, the snake has to go through it again. In fact, it keeps happening throughout its whole life.

It occurs to me that Christianity isn't what you take on, but what you are willing to lose. I think it is significant that when Christ sent the disciples out He instructed them "take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff" or that He told the rich young ruler to give up his wealth and follow Him. But what if the principle is deeper than just stuff. What if it has more to do with our coping mechanisms, our affections, or our need to have our little worlds be just so? What if the point of losing those things isn't about how faithful we can be or how "good" but about letting go of "dead skin." Things we don't need because God has more amazing plans for us.

In fact, since the cliche "you can't take it with you" is true, maybe the point of it all is to refine us down to the one thing we actually are taking with us...Us. Our character. Who we are without embellishment.

The thing is that this type of work on your soul doesn't happen in the space of a 30-minute timeslot. It takes a long time. My issue is that just the time I start to feel comfortable, my eyes get cloudy and I rarely figure out what is happening until I find myself up against a rock and feeling that new skin sensation that makes me long for the old one.

Though Nancy started this train of thought with her snake story, this morning during worship, Karen Vincent clarified it with a song from the David Crowder Band. The verses are profound and beautiful--which is what captured me.(You can Google them. Look for the title "Oh the Glory of it All.") The part that stuck with me relevant to this post was the last bit...

Everything will change
Things will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same

Same is comfortable. Same is safe. But staying the same isn't what Christianity is about. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that losing dead skin is most of what Christianity is about. And that is slow, uncomfortable and messy.

Sorry, Beav.


Robin said...

well said - gonna take a lot of time to process that! Plus, i don't like the snake analogy - eeww! but very deep & challenging nonetheless!

Melany aka Supermom said...

This is so very true. A post that is really making me think

NancyJ said...

Robin nailed it...eeewww! Unfortunately, that's a big part of the analogy. When I've watched friends growing/changing spiritually I've OFTEN thought "eeewww!" they're messy/messed up/unpleasant... Good thing I'M not that yucky when I grow/learn! Sigh...I think my eyes might be starting to cloud up a bit...

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Maira Gall