Down in the dirt

“If you want to see God move, then stand up in the church and tell everyone what you’re really like.”   – Mary Webster

Not long ago I heard someone say, “I came from a very religious background: we lied to each other incessantly.” One of my favorite church moments of all time happened several years ago in Hawaii when an older Pentecostal saint – a holy woman in all of our eyes – stood up in testimony time and said,

“I have something to say this morning:  We come to this church week after week and we get out of our cars and greet each other: “How are you, brother?’ ‘Oh Praise the Lord! God is good!’ ‘Amen! Yes He is, all the time!” That’s what we say in the parking lot. But I’m just sick and tired of it! I want all you people to know that I’m not OK. I am one messed up woman in desperate need of grace. I don’t have it all together, and I’m starving for some honesty!  Do you think we could start telling each other the truth around here? That’s the only way we’re ever going to get through this!”

I wanted to stand on the pew that morning and shout! Religion pretends. It masquerades and hides behind makeup, clichés and polite smiles. But the Kingdom simply cannot be built on such illusions and pretense. Jesus demands the raw material of real people, with real struggles, hammering out real community. Kingdom disciples get down in the dirt, confess their failures, stand together, and throw all their trust in the mercy of God, because Grace is the ecosystem of the Kingdom, and Truth is its foundation.

“For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
– John 1:17

9 thoughts on “Down in the dirt”

  1. Amen, Don, amen! Just a side note – sometimes I feel guilty because although I have learned some fascinating stuff (to me, anyway), I haven’t published any of it in recent days. Then the Lord gently reminds me that if He doesn’t say publish it, it was for Him and me to share only – wasn’t that good enough? Oh yes, definitely!

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  2. Whew Don Down & dirty really hits home. My Dad used to tell me we have the life we show others and the life we keep to ourselves. The real secret is reconciling the two within the reality of who we really are. Only with the Lords help can we be there.

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  3. I’ve been that woman shouting “No! I am not okay!” I’m pretty sure I even said it to you! To make up for the discouragement I might have brought to your spirit that day, I decided to encourage you with some good news!!! Yesterday my son Christian made the decision to dedicate his life to God by accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior. 🙂 It was an awesome experience as my friend Martha Pech led him in prayer, with Alan and me hanging onto them, sobbing and giving thanks. As for me? There are some days I’m still “not okay”….but I’m plugging right along, thanks to the Love and Grace of God. I love and miss you, my friend.

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    1. Ah, sweet Grier! What a beautiful story! I feel so privileged to have known you “back when” and to have watched your life unfold in Christ. Yes… You have been that woman, and the memories of it make me smile. The one part you got wrong, however, is that you were a discouragement to me. That was NEVER the case!

      To hear that Christian has come to faith in Jesus brings joy to my heart, and to know that you and Allen are still walking in grace – even in the “not OK” times – encourages me no end. I’m so proud of you for the way you have stood in faith and been fashioned by God’s hand into such a beautiful woman of honor. Press on, dear friend!

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