Friday, December 30, 2011

Bad Teacher

This isn’t ending the way that I thought it would.

At the start of this year, the emerging patterns I saw were circling ‘round, hovering over the subject of false teachers. I was sure that by the end of this year, I was going to have some new revelation about it all - and that possibly I’d be able to draw up some kind of "do not call" registry.

Instead, I offer a random selection of the 27 other possible titles for this piece:

  • 27 Titles
  • The Year Of The Blog
  • Just What SHOULD A Christian Look Like?
  • Every New Beginning
  • Some Other Beginning’s End
  • I See London. I See France. I See Irony.
  • Coincidence? Come On, Really?!
  • Stop In The Middle Of Writing This To "Play" My Guitar Even Though I Haven’t Played It In Seven Years But I’m Looking For Any Kind Of Distraction Since I Can’t Seem To Pull This Here Thing Together
Do you see the pattern? Do I even need to finish this? Yes, of course I do, but so far I’m still seeing only the circles and not the exit. How’s this gonna end?

It’s been a terribly interesting year for me, learning-wise. There was a controversial book that prompted much examination (and tension in my home as hubby and I worked through it.) Our Bible study has moved from The Sermon On The Mount to the book of Daniel. This, also, prompts serious character reflection. And then there’s the blogging world, where countless Christian disciples with boundless humility and immeasurable talent converge into the new community. This has been a favored learning place for me as I’ve discovered there are more "others like me" than I’d ever realized.

"Others like me" in terms of weird-ness. In terms of sometimes confused, sometimes doubting, sometimes sad. In terms of "practicing my faith doesn’t mean that I’m dead." (Except that it also does mean that. Context, context.) In terms of broken-ness.  In terms of ever-hopeful.

(For the skimmers and the pre’s*, I’m really trying to limit my words and my use of Christianese. Some things can only be said one way. Or understood one way.)

The folks who know me in person know that I really like to talk and that I don’t generally have any trouble finding some words to say. But I do sometimes have to wait really long periods of time before I know just what it is that God wants me to say. To SAY, for real. This here assemblage is the result of such a time.

As I’ve been saddling up this way, arranging my mental notes, I’ve "stumbled" across more and more of somebody else saying what I thought I would be proclaiming here. (Did anyone see that happen just now? How this thing went from a ‘something to say’ to a trumpeted Proclamation?) (Guess I’m just cool like that.)

Truth be told, I nearly gave it up - the lingering inclination, the compelling to SAY. I might never have thought before this last piece of time that I would have to own up to envy. It’s there, however, in the deep reaches. I’ve been reading the real SAYers and it’s left me feeling smallish, incompetent.

I’m not finished. Don’t start turning the wrenches just yet. See, I was told to put down words. And to do it in my own weird way. And it doesn’t matter how many other folks have proclaimed about the same matter. When God says, "Now you listen here, missy," I do my best to listen.

This is sort of a two-parter, or maybe a three, that must somehow become a one-part. Here goes. I’m fixin’ to hit ya with my best shot. (Oh. Did you think I’d already begun?)

As I’ve been making head room for all my new homies (the bloggers, and only I know I call ‘em homies), as I’ve been learning them and their ways, their approaches, the question keeps coming to mind, "What exactly is a Christian supposed to look like? What Exactly?" In terms of how we Christians look to one another. In terms of how we look to the pre’s.

Forget everybody else. What exactly am I supposed to look like? I’ve been trying to see myself from some other vantage point and in contrast/comparison to those from whom I am learning.

Christians in the world are dealing with some serious...stuff. I’m thinking that my best shot at making a point here is to address a few of those. Mind you, this is not an all-inclusive list of struggles and also does not imply that these are the cream of the crap. (Maybe that was going too far but it’s saying something.)

Murder: I have not killed anyone. That is, unless I believe what Jesus said about murder.

Infidelity: I have never been unfaithful to my husband. That is, unless I have ever placed a higher regard on any earthly thing besides him.

Bad language: I said "crap" already so I’m hoping I don’t need to elaborate. Please note that I do not think foul language is cool like that. It is a struggle and a thing from which to move away, not to embrace.

Lying: I aim for honesty but, in truth, there’s probably a lie somewhere on this page. (Please don’t even consider that I might be lying about infidelity. Those words are completely true.**) If I had to pick one out, I’d probably point to the language thing. If I believed what I said, I think I’d work a little harder to stop it.

Pride: You just saw that one in motion.
Rock ‘n Roll music: Practicing my faith doesn’t mean that I’m dead.

Except that it does also mean that. See, struggles are not unique to the Christian population. The approach, the manner, the mechanisms are just different when God is our guide. We all deal with the same ... stuff. And here - here is where the butter meets the bread: we are also all teaching one another. Whether it’s with intention or not, you are teaching me and I am teaching you.

My husband (my second-most-favorite teacher) likes to say that becoming a Christian is not about what you stop doing but about what you start doing. This is the light under which I examine my teacher-ness. Stopping or starting, what do my actions teach you about following Jesus? I pray never to be a bad teacher.

In fact, as this seems finally to be coming to its end, and if I were to be leaving some sort of legacy here, I’d want it simply to be START.

Maria Robinson said, "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." I "stumbled" across that today, right in the middle of writing this thing. Coincidence? Come on, Really?!

*pre-Christian, a term I've picked up somewhere and that I, personally, am more comfortable with than non-Christian
**To be absolutely clear, my implication is that infidelity is infidelity regardless of the boundaries to which we confine its definition.  I am not "better" than someone who has struggled with sexual affair(s).  I am equal in terms of struggle.