Thursday, February 09, 2012


I'd be curious to know just what the percentage of people in this world is that admits to sitting around in public spaces just watching people. My wife and I have a few games that we've come up with over the years to refine our own guilty pleasure in this field. One of them is called "friend or relative" which we usually play at occasions such as weddings or large social gatherings. This one is fairly simple. It's usually a matter of determining whether a particular person was invited from desire or obligation. Another game is "whats their story?". Or to put is a bit differently... "what did he/she ever see in her/him?" or however the couples match up. Go ahead and judge me if you want, but we all play these types of games. I realize that I am also the object of someone else's game that they are playing. I think that this realization is a healthy humbling knowledge.
How many of us have a couple that we know personally where one of the other of the pair we would just rather not deal with? Conversations about them begin with " I'd love to hang out with..... But I just can't stomach ....". And so more often than not, there is no hanging out, or the hanging out happens conditionally ...aka when the other one is not around. I'm pretty sure that as much as we'd like to, we can't fully develop a relationship with one while they are still attached to the other. There are always parameters. There are always things you can't say. You wouldn't have them to dinner and certainly not go on a trip with them.
I have recently, in my profession as pastoral artist, begun to see this phenomenon lived out in a spiritual dimension. Hang with me for a moment. The metaphorical description that we are given of the relationship between Jesus and the church in the Book of Books, is one of bride and groom, husband and wife. Maybe for you the language is that of the " significant other". Either way the principal is the same. If you like both halves of the pair, then you get along well and over time, there is even the possibility for a pretty deep friendship...shared birthdays, vacations, etc. You get the's a fairly complete package. What happens though when, in the context of the couple, you like one and not the other? In a spiritual realm, I see it playing out in two arenas. In one, you have a person who claims to love, respect, follow, seek after, Jesus and at the same time they have no use for or time for or appreciation for His bride. Let's face it, in that relationship, as with a living breathing couple, you can only get so far...and there is always going to be weirdness there. In the other arena, you have people who are sold out, in love with, can't live without, the church, but they are not so hot on the groom. They like the social part, the community, the opportunity to volunteer and feel good that a relationship with the bride provides. It is the stuff of sacrifice, life change, living out the words of Jesus that you can do without. The end result is the same. You don't get very far. There are plenty of awkward moments. It just doesn't add up and it's really not healthy.
If you fall on one side or the other of that spectrum, I wish that I could give you the magic pill to help resolve's beyond me though because it's your need to resolve this. And can I tell you that, if you are claiming to be a person of the "following Jesus" persuasion, then you must resolve this. If you are claiming to be a "church goer" then you must resolve this. This is a complete package, bride and groom. They are not a perfect couple (well ok, one of them is), but they are a couple just the same.