Most of the people I know are good people, who love and care a lot. Some are believers in God like me, I’m not sure about some of the others, and a few have been clear with me that they are not. (PODCAST with Beth B. June 9.)
Across the board, good people I know often come across as uptight, somewhat unhappy, and interested mostly in discussing heavy subjects—moral and social ills, the mess-ups of the Church, or political divides. Why is this? I have a few ideas:
The Nathanael-effect—As Jesus was calling His disciples, Philip was excited so he said to Nathanael, “We have found the one about whom Moses and the prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth!” Nathanael replied, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there” (John 1:45-46)?
I, too, get suspicious of others, skeptical of their intentions, and frustrated that they think like they do. This is especially true when I don’t really know them.
Nathanael overcame his biggest obstacle—himself. He met Jesus, and he was part of changing the world.
The Pharisee-effect—Without writing much in describing them, a quote of these Jewish religious leaders who lived during the time of Jesus gives you a picture: Speaking of Jesus, they muttered critically, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:1-2).
Have you ever had a lot of meat for a meal? Later, your shirt smells like what you ate—not as appetizing as earlier. So for the Pharisees….they and their think-a-likes hung out together, worshipped together, ‘read the same magazines,’ and ‘watched the same news channels.’ Our thinking, even our theology, can get warped, and lop-sided, where our beliefs and our views may be more traditional, and of our micro-culture, than grounded in where we want them to be.
The Saul- (of the New Testament) effect—The world is a tough place, beyond the imagination of some of us who have it quite good, and it changes at a dizzying pace. People react. Saul, himself a Pharisee in a time of harsh Roman-rule, and what seemed to be heightened depravity, sought to snuff out what he perceived as bad; in his case, it was a seemingly new theology based on God’s grace.
Thankfully, Saul, who became “Paul,” changed. His schooling, and his personality of passion for what he believed in was re-directed.
Oftentimes, in fact, things are bad, they are wrong, and we are righteously angry. But can we direct it to positive-change, or do we sit-on-our-hands within our anger, and get more uptight and negative?
No matter who you are, good person, I hope you listen to my podcast discussion with Beth Broadbooks of Tapestry Ministry (https://www.tapestrymovements.com/), to be released on June 9. She, too, loves and cares a lot, but somehow she finds such fun and joy in doing it! And it’s not because she stays away from trouble, controversy, and “sinners.” (See you again, around June 9!)
Thought questions: What most commonly gets you stuck—Nathanael-effect, Pharisee-effect, or Saul-effect? If becoming overly uptight is not an issue for you, how do you do it?