Thursday, September 6, 2012

Commitment and Cactuses

"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.  For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."  - 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

My director asked me yesterday if I'd be willing to look into a bible series on "complete surrender" or "total commitment" to God.  I just about choked on my own tongue.  Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, at least he didn't have to call an ambulance.

I "calmly" shared with him, after I'd dislodged my tongue, that I have a sort of visceral response to the words "total" and "complete" in Christian circles (While I did this with an ever so calm voice, my eyes darted around in panic to see if there was a potted plant or cactus - well you never know- I could hide behind).

No, our conversation didn't go exactly like that, but I did feel something uncomfortable wash over me when he mention those words - something akin to "total" and "complete" inadequacy in fact.  If I took on a project like that, I'd have to totally re-arrange my life so as not to be exposed as the fraud that I am (I know I'm not a fraud, I'm covered by the blood of Jesus and all that, but I have a tendency to view life outside of a true gospel grid).

So of course, like any good Christian, I scrambled and mumbled a few spiritual things which amounted to something like this:
"Sure!  I'd love to...  Hmm...  As I was praying this morning during the third watch, I met with the Spirit at our usual time and he said, 'Now that you have reached this level of intimacy and surrender with me, I am choosing you, in all your resplendent holiness, to write about your life that may not be rightly characterized by "complete" surrender, but is so... yes, is so very close.'

Yeah, I'm glad you brought this up in fact!  I'd totally love to take on the project since, since when I was doing my regular 13 hour read through the bible this morning (hard to squeeze in I know), I read in the Levitical code that there is one who twice every harvest year must intercede, after the sprinkling, to be a wave offering as of one testifying of completeness, of utter, total and unrelenting surrender.  And I was thinking 'Yeah, God, I could do that.'  That sounds easy enough.

So sure, I'd absolutely love to.  I totally don't struggle in that area at all.  Why?  Does it look like I struggle with surrender, because I so totally don't anymore.  That was just a faze."

So now that I've got to clean my keyboard with soap, for typing such egregious lies, I guess I did sign up for looking into it a bit, which I did this morning.  And so far what I'm finding, although I really haven't had much time to research (so I'm researching mostly within the cobwebs between my ears) is that the Christian life looks far from "complete surrender."  For example, if the Christian life was supposed to look like a line dance, it looks more like Salsa or Tango, or Jazzer-size or even Zumba!   

I mean who am I supposed to write about, Paul?  I know this is before he became a Christian, but didn't he watch over every-bodies' clothes so people could be unencumbered as they ever so gently lobbed STONES at Stephen!?

Am I supposed to write about Peter?  I know he was having sort of a tough time, but didn't he actually deny that he even knew Christ three times, even using colorful language on one go round!?

Should I look into the life of David?  Didn't he have a friend murdered, after he became an obsessed peeping-Tom with the poor guys wife!?  No excuse for that one.

Should I write about Moses?  Didn't he murder an Egyptian in cold blood and then run off into the desert, after God summoned him um not to the desert (maybe God did call him to the desert, one of my cobwebs seems to be saying so)!?

Should I write about Abraham, who was constantly trying to pass his wife off as his sister!?

Or maybe I should write about Jacob, who I think tried the same trick (I think, my cobwebs are rustling a little on this one too)?

Who on earth should I write about?

Who actually knows anything about "complete," or "total" surrender?  I know I don't.  My bible doesn't seem to have much on it (actually it does, but in a very different sense than I hear it).

But my bible does say a little about Jesus, and as the verse above says, maybe I should look to him in trying times like these, as I know I'm not going to find any good sized cactuses to hide behind, and I certainly am not qualified to write on "complete surrender."

So here goes: "Jesus help me!..  No, hold on, I got this...  No you're right Jesus, maybe you should take it...  No hold on let me see that again...  Sorry Jesus, here you are...  Would you just let go for a minute, I want one more try...  Oh, Jeeesus, come on!"