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Playing House

My daughter had a little friend over after school yesterday.  Cora is about the purest, sweetest little girl, with bows in her hair and the faint scent of bunny rabbits which have been running through spring flowers.  She’s a nice little girl, and I’m always happy to have her playing with Bis.  I was working at my computer and heard them playing house, going shopping, and making dinner – a father’s joy (the play, not the dinner).  But the sadness landed on me that all the things they were playing, while creative, honest, and real, were not realistic.

“Would you like a cup of tea?”  “Yes, thank you.”  Would more realistically be: “I’m too lazy to get my own tea, would you get it for me.” “I’m just as far away from the tea as you are, why can’t you get it yourself?”  The reality is that there is work to be done.  My kids never pretend to do laundry or dishes.  Nobody ever comes to the pretend door and wants to paint their house.  Never once have I seen them sit down to pay pretend bills or fix a loose cabinet door.  Only the fun stuff.  And I’m glad for that.  There will be enough reality later.

This morning it hit me that our churches have a choice to make.  Playing God’s house or doing the actual work to be done.  I was reminded of this by a pastor friend of mine, Chris De Graaf, who read a note to me from a parishioner and on it the man wrote this: “I was a persistent bastard at one time, but now I am persistent towards God.”  I don’t believe that a church can play God’s House and still receive letters like this from the jailhouse (where there is no make believe).

This is my vision for our new church: to be a place where reality and honesty take precedent.  I sent out a mailer to our community earlier this month.  It said that “we are just like our neighborhood: singles, married, divorced, young, old, alcoholics, soccer moms, Christians, agnostics, atheists, jobless, enthusiastic, depressed…”  This, I know for a fact, makes some people really nervous.  I get it.  If you invite people like that to church, they might show up.  Plus, Jim, you don’t acknowledge those things in public…you pretend they don’t exist and sweep them under the carpet.

I can’t pretend.  I won’t play house.  I don’t have time.  We speak it and we deal with it.  I want to follow Jesus and I have yet to read anything about him sweeping and playing house.  I don’t know if you or your church play house, but there are bills to pay, and solicitors to deal with.  There are crooked cabinet doors that need straightening and tightening, and there are real neighbors with problems just as real as yours and mine.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Joanie
    October 24, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Truth. Thank you. I think.

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