Monday, February 7, 2011

A WHO not a WHAT

"How do I draw a Veteran?" my fifth grade self chimed as I drew some sporadic scribbles on a chalkboard. My good friend Ben Shuler answered in character, "A veteran is a WHO and not a WHAT."

Ben and I were hand selected to be in the Veteran's day skit. I think it's because we could memorize lines, and were goofier than the other kids--which led to more animated acting. There we were, in an assembly before the entire elementary school, attempting to explain to our peers what the heck a veteran was. Some of them, like my confused character, had never even heard the word before. We needed to settle some common ground. And there is a great distinction between a "who" and a "what."

Sometimes I preach the Gospel of things. I think I turn God into a "what" instead of a "who." My life becomes about Christian events. Must read bible, must pray, must attend bible study, must attend church, must share my faith, must disciple. Now don't get me wrong, all of these are great things. I think they help me to better understand God. They promote growth and healing in my life. And even when I don't feel like it, I think it's important for me to be disciplined enough to do those things. That doesn't mean I should go all Pharisee on you and change my view of myself based upon how I'm doing in those categories. Nor (Nor is just the sort of thing a Pharisee would say. "Thee before thou except after thine") should I judge those who don't partake in those helpful activities. Or those who don't partake in them as frequently as I do.

But my Christian to-do list, and Christian events, are simply NOT THE GOSPEL. These things can't save me. Only who God is, and who I am in light of that changes my life. What is the gospel? Since I'm an English nerd, I'll tell you that the definition of the word is "good news." I really believe that what the bible teaches is in fact good news. If someone has caused you to experience it in another way, I am sorry! If I have caused you to experience it in another way, I am sorry! Imperfect people sometimes muddle a perfect message. So for those who haven't heard it, or those who have (I think that everyone needs to hear the Gospel, especially me), click here to see the basic message of the bible in four clear points (pictures included).

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