Friday, February 27, 2004

I Keep Trying to Make This Work

My editor taught me when I was writing "Boy Meets Girl" that the sentences or sections of an authors work that he particularly likes are usually the parts that need to be cut. He called them "darlings." The following is an example of a darling that I need to bury. I keep trying to make it fit into chapter 3 and it just doesn't. I swear I've pasted it into a hundred different parts of this chapter and then taken it out again. Aaarghghg!

So I've decided to put it here as a way of saying that it IS NOT going to be in the book. I mean I might use a sentence or two, but...oh whatever...here it is. (Thank you for letting me vent)

"Some people say they’re wary of organized religion. My childhood predisposed me to be suspicious of organized anything. My dad was a self-taught entrepreneur who had dropped out of high school and built a successful career by self-motivated hard work. He never went the normal route; never did the group plan. He figured things out himself and taught me to do the same.

When I turned 6 my parents decided to home school me. Back in the early 1980s home schooling was brand new and an almost subversive endeavor. It was cool. You felt like a rebel. Public school was something scary like the Imperial Death Star. Big yellow buses came to the neighborhood, swallowed up children and took them away. I didn’t need a school. I could learn on my own.

Like many Christians my faith was often two parts Americanism and one part Christianity with a good dose of self-esteem thrown in. The poster on the wall of one Sunday school class read: “God made me and God don’t make no junk.”

I received the subtle but pervasive message of independence in my faith. As one writer put it, my faith was about Jesus and me, not Jesus and “we.”I remember being told that if I had been the only sinner in the world Jesus would have died just for me. Now I treasure the fact that God loves us individually and that Christ died for me. But it seems that even this truth can be twisted into a celebration of self at the expense of the fact that God’s amazing plan has always been to save for himself a people. Since the days of Adam and Eve there have always been at least two sinners in need of saving. Today millions have been saved through faith in Christ and yet with our rugged individualist tendency we find a way to make God’s great plan of salvation mostly about ourselves.

Maybe that’s why we love to talk about having a “personal relationship” with Jesus. It’s a wonderful truth—but do we misuse it? Hey, it’s nice to know that no matter how annoying other Christians might be, we can go into our rooms, shut the door and have our personal, exclusive relationship with Jesus. If other Christians let us down we can make it on our own.

But can we really? And were we meant to try?"

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