Pastors build cathedrals that look so warm and inviting. Chandeliers hang in the foyers, royal colors hang from the windows and bathe the floors, and crown molding dotes the top of every 12 foot wall. The vision should bring a feeling of invitation to mind. However, when I see all of that, I wonder where the "Grand Opening Sale" sign will hang. I wonder how the money spent on such gallant decorating really furthers the Kingdom in any way. I'm not to judge a book by its cover am I? Ok, let's consider the product that emergers from such Sunday morning marketing.
I don't know that I will ever understand how people can spend hour upon hour, week upon week, year upon year listening to sermons, reading books on theological topics, engaging in discussions on how to better serve and worship and still not be transformed into any better of a human being than what they were when the first walked through the stained-glass doors.
I'm very close to jumping off the ledge of decision that none of it is real because I haven't seen much long-lasting difference in many participants' lives. Being "Christlike" seems to be the forever unobtainable dangling carrot that none of us can ever reach. God looks on the inside, not One who judges the outside, right? In all honesty, how different are any of us, deep down in the darkest corner of our souls, than when we first began? If we are truly being transformed, I would imagine that dark corner wouldn't dictate our every movement, action and reaction.
Without question, this week has not been a great one. In the midst of dealing with regular life stresses, I am not in the best places with one of my closest relationships. Fingers point and tempers rise. We're supposed to be showing Christlike behavior, are we not? Do we? Not exactly.
My head is not sane at the moment so my muscles have decided to take over and work from memory to give my brain tissue a break. But in times of reflection, when my matter does reach up for air, the only thoughts that come to a summation are: "If this stuff is real, why does nothing seem to change?"
Show me a person in an argument that maintains kindness. Show me a person in the midst of heartbreak that maintains hope. Show me a person in the midst of distress that maintains patience. At that point, you will show me someone that reflects this pursuit of Christlikeness as being obtainable. Until then, I don't think I'm buying.