Thursday, September 20, 2018

Losing my Christianese: Losing the label no one wants

Disclaimer: In case anyone has been reading stuff I write and is concerned about me... I'm really okay. I may be out wandering in the bush but I'm not lost.   Please don't worry about me.    I'm just out exploring and there is nothing dangerous about that, because I am not out there alone.

I entitled this post ... "Losing the label no-one wants" And that label is... 

That is correct.  Meet the label no one wants.  At least no one wants to be labeled it... however there are millions of people that don't mind using it for someone else.  It's Christianese to the fullest. It the way the tribe of Christianity defines the people that don't belong to their tribe.  

I know a lot of people who don't mind labels  but I haven't met a person yet that wants to be labeled for what they aren't.   I know, because I am one that doesn't.

I don't have children, but don't call me a non-mother.  I am Canadian; don't call me a non-American. I drive a Ford and I like it,  so don't call me a non-Dodge driver.  I have made choices in this life and I would like to think I had the God given freedom to make them.  What I don't need is to be identified by the choices I haven't made or the life I haven't lived.  

If I define someone else based on my identity, they I deny them the opportunity to be who they were created and freed to be.  I am not the standard.  

Here's a news flash:  I dropped the label that used to define me a while back.  I don't call myself a Christian anymore.  I realized that label has changed so much in the last few decades, that it doesn't paint the picture I am hoping to portray in this life. 

The adjective Christian has been placed before such things as bookstores, radio and tv stations,  music, church buildings, conferences and schools.  So I look at that list and wonder what the core of my identity has to do with any of those things.  I am not another marketing tool for the religion of Christianity, I am a child of God.

 Jesus didn't come to start a religion, a music industry or a chain of private schools and colleges.  He came to introduce us to his Father and to a Kingdom that was about people and not about stuff. He came as an act of Love because He is the Creator.  

As with most blog posts, I tap into Google's endless resources for images to colour up my writing.  I googled the word "Christian" and among the spread of pictures, I found two pictures of Donald Trump and this...

 So in light of my admission, am I a ___- ___________?

Nope.. because I don't need to be defined by what I am not.  Simple.  

 I Googled  "non-christian" and I came up with...

Well if Google is right, then maybe I am a ___-_________,   because I think I have more in common with the Tasmanian Devil that I do with Donald Trump or a cell phone cover.  

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Losing my Christianese: Tossing "TRINITY"

Christianese:  terms and jargon used within many of the branches and denominations of Christianity as a functional system of religious terminology.

That is how Wikipedia defines Christianese.  I thought I would throw that in a post in case anyone was wondering what I was losing.  I grew up in church culture.  I learned the language of Christianese at a young age and was pretty fluent by the time I enrolled at bible school in the late eighties.  Bible school added to my vocabulary the same way a university English course would add to my mother tongue.  I discovered meanings to words I heard as a child and teenager.   As with English, I never debated the education.  I just soaked it in.  

Now I am fifty and I am finding some words a hindrance to my communication with others.  It is not that the words are useless in the appropriate setting, (like around other fluent speakers) but sometimes they can mess other people up.  Especially those who are not comfortable with the language.  

Now that I find myself hanging out with people who don't like the language, it is time to drop certain words from my vocabulary.  

Today's word that I am dropping is 

For those of us that grew up in church culture... Do you recall the pain of explaining the "Trinity"?  We were given so many pictures to help us understand God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  All those pictures seemed to fall short for me on so many levels... until one little book came out.  That is right... "The Shack" helped me understand God in a way no pastor, bible teacher or sunday school lesson could. 

I realized in a recent conversation, just how much the word "trinity" is a stumbling block, but I don't have any intention to toss out the identity behind the word.  I did however discover that I could try to explain who God is, not based on a third century Latin originated Christianese label, but through a different picture.   I am going to supplement the remainder of this post with pictures from the story that helped me a great deal in understanding God without the Latin label.   It is an understanding gained after "tossing" the religion I had built based on what I was told and taught. It was, however, an understanding gained because God was revealing himself to me.  

God the Creator

It's not a huge leap for many to believe in a creator.  To believe our world came into existence by (as Mark Lowry puts it) "some gaseous belch in the universe", takes a lot more faith than to believe in a supernatural creation.  What I believe is the biggest leap of faith for most people, is that the Creator of the Universe wants a relationship with the creation. 

Relationship makes sense.  If the only intention was to create and let the creation exist apart from the creator... then humans and even animals in their individuality were not necessary.  If it was just about creating and not about interaction, then the sunrises, waterfalls, flowers and mountains would have been enough.  But the very presence of an interactive creation, is evidence of an Interactive Creator. 

 So if this Creator wants a relationship with this creation, just how is that accomplished?

God the Human

I grew up on stories about Jesus.  I just believed them because they sounded good and why not?  I had no reason to question them.  As I got older I realized that only in the Christian circles is blind faith an acceptable standard.  Outside of those circles, people ask questions and expect more of an answer than "I have faith."  

In my forties, I found myself outside of the circle I had grown up in and I started asking the questions.  Did I believe the story just because my parents did?  Did I believe the story just because there were smarter people than I that believed it?  If I didn't find a plausible understanding that made sense to me, then it was time to throw out the bath water and the baby.  

But to me... Jesus makes sense and I had to go back to creation to discover that.  God created.  Why would God create, and hand over that creation to what seems a chaotic existence, if relationship wasn't a desire? And how does that God have a relationship with such a finite creation?  He becomes part of that creation. 

Jesus makes sense.  Not just the three years he spent that were written down in detail, but the thirty years prior that he just spent being human.   God experiencing humanity as only God could do.  He came into the world through the back door, through the servant's entrance.  
Then his time of incognito living was over.  He was now ready to introduce the Creator to the creation. He walked and talked with them.  He unleashed what should have been the best news ever to the creation, but  the creation didn't believe him.  Instead they turned on him and had him executed because all they saw was a human.  They didn't see God in flesh.  

Jesus makes sense.  The resurrection makes sense.  God's not going to let his creation have the final say with his death.  He came for relationship.  Without the resurrection, God's chance of relationship would have died with his last breath on the cross.  Without the resurrection, God would revert back to the God he's always been and there would be no relationship.  Jesus in his humanity and Jesus in his resurrected humanity is the bridge we, as God's creation, have to God.  Because Jesus is, (as Mark Lowry puts it)... "God on foot".  

God the Windy Breath 

 God's desire for relationship wasn't satisfied in Jesus' presence as a human on Earth.  Something in the Creator desired relationship with all his creation, not just a select few from a select time and place in history.  So after his resurrection from the dead,  God the Human made a promise to his creation.  

I am leaving, but I am not leaving you alone.  I will send my Spirit. 

 In other words...  

I am coming back again, but this time I will be even closer than I was when I walked the same roads and ate at the same tables as you.  I will dwell as close as your breath.  I will be infused in who you are and you can know me like you have never known me before. I am a windy breath. With the breath comes life and with the wind comes motion.  Because I am the God who desires relationship.  

God in Relationship

If God is about relationship, then doesn't it make sense that He would have needed personal experience before he created us to be in relationship.  If God is Love, wouldn't it make sense for him to know community within himself before he established it in us. 

Love is always going to be other focused.  We talk about loving ourselves, like it is something necessary for living.  IT'S NOT!  Love is always about someone else.  We are loved and in turn we love others.  We don't need to love ourselves, we only need to know how much we are loved and then pass that love along.  Our value lies in being loved, not by ourself, but by our Creator and by others.  That is why relationship matters.  It is the core foundation of who we are.  We were created to be loved and to love.  

This is now real to me, not because I learned about it in sunday school, bible school or church.  It is real because God the Creator, God the Human and God the Indwelling Windy Breath found it most desirable to reveal it in me.  Fifty years of spiritual education may have confirmed a few things, but the real understanding comes because God is into relationship with me.  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Losing my Christianese: "USE ME GOD"

Words:  Words either mean something in their original context, or their meaning has changed thank to cultural influence.    I am a writer and words are a part of my creative expression.  So for the next few blog posts, I will be exploring words in...


Actually I have been on the losing journey for years.  I just haven't been vocal about it.  Now... at fifty, I feel a little freer to be open about the things that irritate me about the way God's children talk.  So I am going to focus each post on one word or phrase that I have tossed from my vocabulary.  

Today's tossed phrase is:

We talk about wanting to be "used" by God as if it's the best thing ever.  But when else is being "used" good.  We use tools, things, stuff, inanimate objects... People, created in the image of God, are not tools, we are much adored children.  Good human parents would find it unthinkable to say to their own kids... "I want to use you"... then why would we think that the BEST FATHER EVER would say that to us.  

In our culture, when someone is used, it never reflects love on behalf of the person doing the using.  There is a one-sidedness when it comes to using.  Only the user benefits.  There is no benefit to the one being used and definitely no love given.

Does that really sound like the God who chose to be nailed to a cross for our benefit?  I think not.  Jesus laid down his omniscience to become human.  For what?  So he could use us?  The more I understand just what Jesus did by coming to Earth, the more I realize that it wasn't so he could spend an eternity "using" us for his purposes.  

 I found the same thought in William Paul Young's latest book "Lies we believe about God." 

"God is a relational being; that is who God is. The language of God is about partnering, co-creating, and participating; it's about an invitation to dance and play and work and grow.
If God uses us, then we are nothing but objects or commodities to God. Even in our human relationships we know this is wrong...

God is a God of relationship and never acts independently. We are God's children made in God's image! God does not heal us so that we can be used.  God heals us because God loves us, and even as we stumble toward wholeness, God invites us to participate and play."  

The chapter title, in the book "Lies we believe about God", that these two paragraphs came from is one of the biggest lies that has has been perpetrated in the church.  

"God wants to use me"

I've found the perfect conclusion for this post. 

 Hey... you don't have to believe me, I'm just a blogger with an opinion.  Read these words and come to your own conclusion and ask yourself.

Does God really want to use me? 

John 15:11-15 The Message (MSG)

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father." 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Longing for the "Best Conversation".

“No one needs you to pretend to be someone you’re not, or further down the road than you are. We best help people when we let them look into the reality of our lives to see both where God has shaped his life in us and where we still struggle. Impress people with your honesty, not by pretending to be further down the road than you really are. Sharing your own doubts and failures are as important as telling others how God makes himself known to you. None of us has it all together, and authenticity laced with humility creates the vulnerable environment where the best conversations happen. It will free you to love and to honesty without the need to fix others or make them part of your agenda.”

Excerpt From: Wayne Jacobsen. “Beyond Sundays.”

I am craving a good conversation, actually I am craving the "best conversation".  Actually what Wayne just described as the "best conversation" isn't something I don't have.  I have them on occasion, and really enjoy the outcome of these conversations.  I am just feeling that I don't have enough of them.  Maybe what I am craving is more of that conversation with others.  

What the "best conversation" looks like to me. 

1. The subject of the conversation revolves around Jesus.  

That's right.  I want to talk about Jesus. I don't just want to talk about the weather, current events, what I do at work or in my garden ...  I want to talk about Jesus.  BUT...  I don't really want to have a bible study.  I just want to have a conversation about Jesus.  I want to share who he is to me and I want to hear who he is to you.  Where does Jesus fit in to our day to day life?  What new inspirations are there because Jesus has made himself known to you and to me? 
This isn't meant to be a rehash of denominational doctrine, but instead, a conversation of discovery.  In the past I have found bible studies restricting Jesus only to a history lesson.  If he is so much more, can we discuss how much more he really is? 

2.  I'm not doing all the talking and I'm not doing all the listening. 

Conversation means dialogue, exchanging of thoughts and ideas.  It is not a sermon, or a soliloquy.  Let's share what is on our heart with each other. Let's listen and also respond with their own thoughts and ideas.  

3. There is room in the "best conversation" for disagreements. 

I am not asking for a dialogue with someone who believes everything I tell them, or wants me to believe everything they tell me...but I am also not looking for a debate.  The "best" conversation is a free exchange of ideas, thoughts, experiences and understandings.  We may agree and that is beautiful, but we can also find beauty in disagreeing and diversity.  We can learn from each other and grow from our differences.  It is a conversation, not a debate, battleground or court of law.  

4. Authentic and real dialogue is awesome

I know it is hard to be authentic and real when spiritual matters get discussed in any forum.  Most of us have learned to walk one path when it comes to our spiritual understanding and theology.  Conversations with others who have walked a different path can be challenging at best, but they can also be rewarding.  These conversations are best when not rehearsed or planned.  They just happen.  Sometimes it involves brokenness.  That is okay too.  Our brokenness is part of our journey and can be a growing and healthy part of our conversation. 

5. We don't need to be on the same page, to be in the same book. 

The "best conversation" happens when we are both okay with our different approaches to life and our differing journeys.  Jesus has walked this journey with millions of people and no one has the same walk with him .  I don't have to agree with your choices and I don't have to walk the same steps or believe the same beliefs to learn and gain value from your journey.  Having a conversation with someone doesn't in anyway mean that you have support their conclusions.  

6. The "best" conversations end in hugs.

I am a hugger. I like hugs.  They are the favoured conclusion for me to any interaction that I have with my family and friends.  How much more needed is a hug when two people have discovered just how different their thoughts and ideas are.  How much more needed is something to bring two hearts back together so our differences don't divide us permanently.  

7. "Can we do this again?"

After a good conversation, my thought before leaving is "Can we do this again?"  It's not a desire to duplicate the conversation, but to invite the opportunity to connect again sometime and have a different experience.  Sometimes it may take a few conversations to get  comfortable with each other.  We don't have to do this every week or maybe even every month.  This is best done when there is no program to follow or schedule to keep.  The "best conversations"  happen when they happen.  Anything forced or regimented isn't as beautiful.  

There you have it.  This is what I long for. Is anyone else longing for it?  I really hope so.  

Matthew 18:20 The Message 

 “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”
(Thank you Google for all the amazing photos of conversations) 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Following the Joy out of my Sorrow

I'm following the joy 
Out of my sorrow
I'm chosing to hope 
For a brighter tomorrow

I will play now 
I will smile now

I can remember now
Without the tears
I can pick the daisies
Enriched by the years

I'm following Jesus 
Out of the abyss
Leaving the sorrow for
The joy that is His

(Following the Joy... written by Ruby Neumann June 10, 2018) 

There is a song I learned when I was in the throws of my Pentecostal days in Calgary.

"I'm trading my sorrows, I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the Joy of the Lord."  

I don't often remember equating that song with any sorrow I might have been going through at the time.  I always seemed to sing it when life was good. But the words stuck with me.   

Choosing Joy over sorrow isn't really a hard choice to make.  Who would rather sit in the mud than play in on the swings?  Who would rather eat stale toast than fresh cinnamon buns?  Who would rather sleep on the hard floor than in a freshly laundered comfortable bed?  

Okay, so there are some exceptions.  Meet my Dad.  I have chosen to include pictures of him in my blog post today.  Many of you already know the stories in my life that have led to the Valley of Sorrows.  But today is not the day to describe the Valley.  I think most people know what that looks like.  Most people have been in the Valley of Sorrows and some have lived there for some time.  I don't need to describe it.  I just need to share about my journey out of that Valley.  

The opening pictures of my Dad are of him playing his harmonica.  Dad could play an amazing harp.  It is one of my treasured memories of him.  For the video music at his funeral, we found a six minute recording on cassette tape of his harp playing.  It seemed to define the music of his life.  It was a fitting tribute for Bill Voigt.  

I "inherited" my dad's harmonica collection and maybe even a little of his gift.  I remember getting a harmonica when I was a child.  Mom says that Dad gave it to me because it was missing a note. I don't remember the details. But I remember the gift.  Back then I didn't go far with it.  Maybe because I felt it hard to try something when someone else could do it so well already.  I wasn't a very good competitor.  

But since the collection has passed to me, I have taken up playing the harmonica.  I am learning songs that Dad played and am learning a new repertoire of my own.  Just yesterday, I started to smile as I was playing.  That's right... did you know you can smile with more than your mouth?  I started to find the joy in the playing as my Dad found his joy.  It was a beautiful experience.  I wasn't just trying to learn the song, I was embracing the joy of the music.  And as a result, the song came alive inside the joy I was feeling.  I went over to Dad's picture that hangs on my wall and I played for him, smiling.  I felt him with me in that moment.  

I have another joy story.  

Most of you know this story as well.  But again,  I will share about my journey of out of the sorrow, knowing full well, there are others that are still in the Valley.  

I am finding joy in the story of one young man and the memories I shared with him over twenty six years.  For some, after a tragic death, the last place joy is found is in the memories.  Memories bring tears for most, not joy.  So those memories, those pictures and that person's life are buried deep into the soul and left to be unremembered.  This is the testimony of so many who have tasted the death of a loved one.   But I have found joy in the story and have been collecting the memories and pictures of my nephew's life and putting them into a memoir collection.  It has been the journey back to joy for me to do this.   And I hope that down the road, it will help others on their journey back to joy.  

Another joy story... are the trees.  This year is the second year my Benjamin trees have grown in my yard.  This year I am finding joy in the new growth on the four Blue Spruce trees I planted last year.  Seeing new life emerge, how could I hide the joy.  Not so much.  

In searching what the Bible has to say about the Journey of Joy out of Sorrow.  I found this passage from Paul's writings.  I will leave you with this.    Take note of what I highlighted in bold and in red.  It is what popped out for me as I read this.   

* * * 

2 Corinthians 6:1-13 (Message) 

"Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,
I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!"

PS.  One more thing..  let me share some of my new found joy with you. (click on the links below)  

Ode to Joy

Lord of the Dance

Friday, May 18, 2018

"GOODBYE, GARBAGE" by Bruxy Cavey and Me

"Is it possible that over the centuries the church has altered the message of Christ? Has modern Christianity wrapped itself so tightly in a fragmented, inactive version of the gospel that the life-changing message of God has been smothered?  Bruxy Cavey [pastor] thinks the answer is yes. He speaks to a new generation interested in Jesus but embarrassed by Christians in his latest book, (re)union: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners.
“The message of Jesus changed the world . . . until the world changed the message,” says Cavey. “But I’m happy to say that there is a growing movement of truth-seekers and Jesus-lovers who are calling for a return to the first and foundational good news message of Jesus. This book is inspired by them, and it is an invitation to join their ranks.”
In (re)union, Cavey explains why Christians shouldn’t follow the Bible—but why they will want to read it to learn how to follow Jesus. He encourages readers to discover their true citizenship in the Jesus nation, where they might be ready to die for a cause but never willing to kill for one."  (Borrowed from the book's website)  
This  past week was Calmar Cleanup. 

   How ironic that I would reach the chapter of my current read, "re(union)",  entitled “Goodbye Garbage”. 

This is one of the best books on Jesus…. EVER!!!  I just finished Bruxy's classic "The End of Religion" and decided to download his latest.  
 Bruxy hit the ball way beyond the park fence with this one.  I have moments when I read and shake my head, but for the most part, it is gold.   
I want to share with you a nugget from deep in the book.   I will let you read what Bruxy wrote and then I will follow with my Garbage story. 

What are you carrying around from your past? What guilt or garbage haunts you? What experience from your past or habit in the present brings you shame when you think about it? For some of us, suppression, repression, and denial are the only ways we can cope with another day.

When we ignore our own sin, we’re like people who store their garbage in the basement. Sure, “out of sight, out of mind” works for a while, but over time the pile builds up, and so does the smell. We can try to live as though it doesn’t exist, and eventually we may even become used to the rotting smell. But sooner or later someone will notice what we don’t, and our garbage will become known.

Some of us live with ongoing fear of the day that others discover our garbage. So we decorate our homes with air fresheners and never allow anyone to get too close. We keep busy. We do good deeds. We show keen interest in other people’s lives, mostly to keep the spotlight off our own.

But there is a better way to live.

Jesus wants your garbage. He wants to take your trash away for good. He’s willing and ready to take it to the dump for you. For free. He’s the ultimate sanitation engineer.

Of course, there is something we need to do before the garbage collector can carry away all our rubbish: we need to take it to the curb. We need to stop hiding it and admit that we have garbage. And when we do, it will be gone for good.

The apostle John talked about the part we play in this process of spiritual housecleaning: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

We need to admit, to acknowledge, our sin to Jesus. Then, and only then, can he clean things up. Taking our garbage out of the basement of denial to the curb of confession is how we become clean. How can God forgive our sin if we pretend we don’t have any?

An essential part of this garbage removal is private confession between ourselves and God. But God ultimately intends for us to live in community where we can be “priests” to one another (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). When we “come clean” and confess our sins to a trusted Christian brother or sister, he or she has an opportunity to remind us of God’s grace in person. That can be powerful. That person’s acceptance and embrace become the tangible expression of God’s acceptance and embrace. And for some of us, this is the missing link to letting the healing message of God’s full forgiveness settle in.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, encouraged Christians to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). As fellow sinners saved by grace, we can represent the nonjudgmental acceptance of God to one another when we have honest conversations about our failures and about God’s embrace.

When we bring our garbage to one another, we confess and we pray and that’s it. We don’t condemn, we don’t judge, we don’t shame, and we don’t give advice unless we are asked for it. We simply support each other in real relationships that are relationally “naked and unashamed.” This is one way we live out the good news. And God uses it for our healing.

* * * 

My problem with 1 John 1:8-9

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

 This is a scripture that was imprinted in my mind and memory, because it was read most every Sunday, when I was a growing up, as part of the Lutheran liturgical confession.  Hearing this passage so often and without emotion and clarity, has dulled its impact in my life over the years.  I had memorized it -  not by choice, but by sheer repetition - and it cemented itself in my brain.   Today - Bruxy’s words,  took what was a liturgical bump on my journey, and actually made it make some sense for me. 

My Garbage Story

 In April of 2006, I got the opportunity to venture to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) with a team of people from across Canada.  We had all hooked up with an organization called Crossroads Missions and went to  NOLA  seven months after Hurricane Katrina did her damage in the southern states.  We were there as part of the rebuilding effort, but I remember most the cleanup effort was still in full swing, especially in the Algiers neighborhood that we were in.   I have included pictures throughout this post of the "Garbage" we encountered in NOLA.  I remember almost vomiting from the stench (mildew, mold, dead rats and seven months worth of wet clothes and rotten food).  Piles of the waste lined the streets of Algiers.  It was a sight to behold. 

 When reading this chapter in "re(union)", I immediately pictured the garbage from New Orleans.  I wondered it was a comparable analogy to the garbage in my own life.  I am fifty now and I have spent years on a cleaning effort, but I go in my "house", I still find remnants of the moldy waste from years of accumulation.  I ask myself... how do I get this to the curb so Jesus can take it away. 
I like the picture Bruxy uses for sin.  One of the areas of my life I am working on cleaning out is my "Christianese", (maybe a subject for another post).   So when I saw Bruxy use the word garbage as a picture of sin, I immediately got it.  Sin is "Christianese" for garbage.  Good picture, good word.  So many people who haven't grown up in church, can't relate to what sin means in their life, but everyone can relate to garbage and what it is like when it piles up and isn't dealt with. (Just watch an episode of "Hoarders" )  

No more problem with 1 John 1:8-9

So, in light of a new picture of an old lesson, let me paraphrase 1 John 1:8-9 and see if I can find a new inspiration in its words.  For effect...  I will personalize it. 

"If I tell myself I don't have garbage piling up in the basement of my life or if I admit I have it and am unwilling to deal with it, I am no better than those people that find themselves exposed on "Hoarders" -  But if I come clean about the garbage, walk it upstairs, out the door and deposit on the curb... Jesus and his Sanitation Service will, not only come and remove the garbage, but will bleach out the entire basement and make it habitable again."

Okay... it is more expanded than paraphrased, but I am hoping you get the point.

Bruxy Cavey pointed out (during a Drew Marshall interview) that it's not the words we need to focus on, but the meaning.  The words have been altered multiple times because of the language barrier, but the meaning behind the words is what has held up throughout the centuries.  So just because I get hung up on the moldy shell of Christianese, doesn't mean that the gold underneath has been tarnished.   

My Confession

Me and my Mom... in my messy basement suite in Olds - 1990-91

I'll admit something here... I still have garbage in my basement.  I am not entirely certain how to find it, never mind get it up the stairs and out to the curb.  Maybe when Jesus drives by with his garbage truck, I can ask him if he doesn't mind parking his wheels for a while... cause a while is what it will take.