Ok. Just today I tweeted this: “Body of Christ: Stop using ‘family’ lingo but ‘corporate America’ antics. They are opposing realities. #helpLord #longwaytogo”. This caused a few people to respond with questions similar to “what are you talking about?” So I’m breaking free of the bondage of 160 characters to explain what I mean and where that came from.
I am PRIVILEGED to be in full time ministry. Have been in a full time capacity for 6 years. However, I have been in and around ministry all my life. I’m a preacher’s kid, grandkid, great-grandkid, nephew and cousin. In other words many people in my family are in ministry. I grew up in church. That means I am FLUENT in the language. I could make a list of them here and probably bore you to tears. But thats not the point. The point is that I am finding that few in the body these days actually get what it means to be part of the Body of Christ beyond the language. We call each other “brothers and sisters” in Christ. Well those phrases make many implications that I don’t see walked out in fullness in the body. You see, I HAVE a brother AND a Sister. And the first thing I can tell you about them is that we have in common a Father and/or Mother. They are what relate us. Another thing is that my Brother and Sister have seen me at my WORST -my most vulnerable times and still love me. They also have the right to say things to me (because of the relational equity) that others DON’T have the right to say and I WON’T be offended. I could go on about this but I think by now you get my point.
Recently a friend of mine (a “sister” who gets this reality I’m talking about) decided she wanted to do something kind for another “sister” as a means of simply edifying and encouraging her. Sister 1, invited several others to do the same for Sister 2 as affirmation is one of her love languages. But Sister 1 was approached by someone in leadership over her and asked NOT to do this as it was “unprofessional”. They are all in occupational ministry together. The leader stated that when at church they needed to maintain a “professional environment”. I’m like, REALLY??!!!!!!!!! Sorry I have a problem with that. So let me get this straight. We are BROTHERS AND SISTERS in the body but to affirm someone in love with gifts at work in a CHRISTIAN MINISTRY is distracting and unprofessional? REALLY? If THAT’S the case then you don’t get to call me your brother because it’s not just a churchy phrase to me.
I travel a bit and get to meet thousands of people every year. Its a blessing and at times a curse because I LOVE people and really enjoy meeting people. I see life as a canvas and people are the paint. So I approach every new person with the personal question of “what do you bring to the canvas of life?”. The problem is that because I love people, often I build bonds with people who I know I wont see again. Thats not a problem except that many people see me now as their new best friend. THAT is a problem because I CAN’T be everyone’s friend much less a BEST one. My point is that to many friendships is relative to how others have related to them in the past. And some have never had anyone take time to care for their hearts. So when I do, it automatically feels like friendship. I love that. But brotherhood doesn’t work the same at all. If we REALLY are the family of God, then we have take a look at real family dynamics. They are MESSY. They are spontaneous. They are loving. They are forgiving. They are vulnerable. They are BROKEN. I’d much rather do life in the family of God with all these dynamics at play than work in some crispy clean, perfect professional ministry environment. Give ME the family of God so that I can understand more of the character and nature of God as I discover him in my brothers and sisters because ultimately, I see my Dad through my own lens most of the time. But I take the time to get to know and relate to my siblings, I discover things about my Dad I never knew.
Just a few thoughts to ponder…..