Monday, November 24, 2008

a byway outside of Trujillo, Peru

Deanna and I spent the weekend cleaning our home. She worked on the inside and I worked outside. Vacuuming, mopping, scouring, cleaning gutters, doing laundry and raking leaves, cleaning up flower beds, and mowing was how most of our Saturday was spent.

There was a sense of accomplishment for both of us when all was finished.

This morning, since our home was sparkling, I found it necessary to dump my coffee all over the carpet. Nice move.

Yesterday, Deanna went to church ahead of me. She called me and asked me to do her a favor. She asked me to get her lip gloss out of her jacket, and bring it to her.

"I have my lipstick, but I want my lip gloss," she said.

I'm thinking, if you have one, do you really need the other? but said nothing.

I went to her jacket and turned it inside out looking for her gloss. First I didn't find anything. Then I took to crumpling and wadding the thing to try and sense a foreign object in any nook or cranny.

Success! I unzipped the inside pocket to find Blistex. Proud of myself for finding it, I started to place it on the counter where I would not forget it. On my way, a bad thing happened. I started thinking.

This is not lip gloss, this is Blistex. The lip gloss I was familiar with came in a tube with an applicator, or in a little quarter sized container with a screw top lid. This was neither. This was more like Chapstick. I put it back.

She would laugh at me for bringing her chapstick, when she asked for lip gloss.

I began to look everywhere in the room. I looked on her dresser, under the bed, in the rumples of the comforter, everywhere I could think of. I did not find it.

Defeated, I decided to go on to church without completing the favor that had been asked of me. What a slug.

As you can imagine, we made it all the way through church without either of us remembering to bring the subject up.

When we arrived home, she asked me if I remembered to get her gloss.

I began to convey my disappointing tale.

She began to laugh at me, hard.

Apparently it is okay for women to use code names for their stuff. Men who have lived with them for nearly 26 years are supposed to know these code names. I did not.

Through her joyful gasps for breath at my foolishness, she kept repeating, "I can't believe you had it in your hand and didn't bring it to me."

I tried to declare my innocence. I told her this was B-L-I-S-T-E-X, not lip gloss. She was not having any of my foolishness. She let me know that when applied, it felt just like lip gloss, so that is what she called it.

"How would I know that?" I begged. "I've never worn lip gloss."

She continued to laugh.

Apparently, my attention to detail is far too literal.

I apologized, and teased her back. "Who offers pet names to their beauty condiments and expects their husband to know?" I pleaded. This was far too confusing. I thought I was doing well to know what lip gloss was and how it was different from lipstick!

I was wrong. I lost.

Our discussion remained good natured, throughout. Neither of us engaged in a mean spirited attempt to reduce the other for this issue.

I have seen brothers and sisters in Christ engage in public forums where they lambaste the other personally in an attempt to prove themselves superior, with deeper understanding of the things of God. Simultaneously, they consider what they are doing to be "iron sharpening iron."

There are many things in the Word that can be confusing, and merit further study. While the world is watching, and we fire emotional weapons at one another through conversation, the end result is likely to be, non-believers who want nothing to do with the madness of this "healthy discussion."

There is nothing appealing to me about these conflicts. Imagine being a non-believer who is searching, and then encountering this kind of exchange. They will likely walk away with no further desire to emulate what they have just seen.

Just because words were used instead of fists, does not make this okay.

Christ called us to Unity. We need to study. We need to discuss. We need to grow. We also need to protect those who do not yet understand. Our goal should be to shed light on their lack of knowledge, not prove to others that we are smarter than they are. There is nothing Christ-like in the attitude of belittling others for our own gain.

Be knowledgeable and know why you believe what you believe. Be able to defend it. Just don't attack brothers in the process. There is usually unintended collateral damage in that method.

Unity is not conveyed through attitudes of superiority.

We cannot 'gloss' over the flaws of our methods by forgetting whose we are and using Scriptural terminology in attempts to justify our misbehavior.

Seek Him first! By His Spirit, we can learn, grow and lead others to a similar saving knowledge.

His grace will be the balm to cover all of our sin.



At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy dad, you hit home today. I made what I considered to be an amusing reference to "a loving family, well at least MOST days" in a call to worship.... just trying to add a little self-deprecating humor. It was NOT humorous to my wife. So I'm in the doghouse... again. After 27 years of marriage you'd think I'd learn or at least get used to living there but I have done neither. I have apologized several times but apparently not enough. Sigh. And my dog has nothing like Snoopy to live in either! :-)
Mark \0/

At 3:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment isn't pertinent to today's post but I am compelled to share with you my recent experience. My name is Jason and I live in Northern Virginia. I was in the grocery store to pick up a quick item for dinner. As I was standing in line, I noticed a book on the impulse-buy rack. The title "I would Die For You" caught my eye so I read the back cover. Money was tight as it was just before pay day but I felt an overwhelimg urge (God telling me) to buy this book. I will say I am so glad I did. Your son's story truly moved me. Though I don't feel called into mission work, there is definately a powerful lesson on serving Jesus with all you can.

I am greatful that God has given you the strength to be able to share BJ's story with the world. I would have probably never known about him without reading that book. It has blessed my heart.

May God bless your and your family and know that you all are in my prayers.

Jason Hierwarter

At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana


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