Some Final Thoughts from Reidsville — October 17, 2011

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I spent the past three days sharing at a church in Reidsville, North Carolina.  Five opportunities.  I called it sharing—and they boldly advertised it as a revival.  But I’m just not so sure you can call something a “revival” until you’re confident that some reviving has occurred—similar to my assertion that every swim in a pool is probably not a baptism.

It began on Friday night with what I would call a typical scenario. Since I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me, we went through the normal song and dance of what I call the “who are you and why are you here?” night. I know there are folks that would find this extraordinarily nerve-wracking—to constantly be trying to inform a new audience about your abilities and motivations. I actually find it intriguing. I think if you’re not putting yourself to the test, you’ve either flunked out or you’ve been out of school so long that you’re really not sure what you know. Friday night was delightful.

Which was followed by Saturday night, which I dub the “I came back but it had better be good…” night. In other words, “we’ve survived the first date but we’re not sure if we want to kiss.”

The problem is that Saturday night was followed by a Sunday morning excursion—where it became “turf city.”  All the folks who had not been to the revival  to become acquainted with my less-than-sanctimonious style arrived in their sanctuary thinking they were going to do business as usual, only to find me standing in the way.

Truthfully, I wouldn’t have any problem with religion if it didn’t make any difference. For instance, if some restaurant wants to put mustard on a hamburger, even though I find it distasteful, it really is none of my business. But if a doctor wants to be lousy at his work and botch an operation, then I think it’s time for somebody to step in and stop him. Yes, I think anything that tinkers with the insides of a human being is important enough that it needs to be done well—and I think religion cares too much about where people are placed instead of the people they’re placing.

But it’s really no matter to me—I know what I need to say and I think I’ve done it long enough that I have some idea how to say it, and as Jesus so eloquently phrased it: “He that has an ear—let him hear.”

Which leads to the final night, which I always love, when those perseverant souls who have survived through the weekend thus far, trudged their way through “turf city” on Sunday morning and have come out for one final opportunity to involve themselves in the process instead of being mere spectators.

This remnant brings their faith.  And when faith is brought, God shows up. We think it’s worship and praise that beckons His being. Not so. It’s always been about faith, it’s always been about the individual and it’s always been about seizing the moment. I call the final night “Okay—talk to me.

Now please don’t misinterpret my observations. I don’t think people who come out to the revival meeting are better than those who stay home and select a private profile. You see, I don’t really believe there are bad people. I don’t even necessarily think there are people who do bad things. I just think there are people who absorb the bad around them, convincing themselves it’s normal.

If you are living your life trying to reflect the society around you, history will proclaim you a moron. Society is NEVER right—whether it takes a profile of being liberal or conservative, society always selects a way to restrict or hurt human beings. If you’re going to live a spiritual life, you will find yourself at odds with the society around you. You don’t have to fuss about it—you just have to understand that when the party of the moment is going on, you may have to slip out the back door and find better entertainment.

Right now, religion and politics appear to be in control of the mindset of this country. Both of them are clumsy, inept and unable to meet the needs of the people. But they do look powerful. The true power?  Individuals who stand up with their own faith and believe it will make them whole.

That’s what we talked about last night—and it’s the only subject that matters. I am leaving Reidsville, but these people will remain. Will they remember five times of sharing from some stranger who meandered through their town?  It doesn’t matter. All they need to know is that their faith will make them whole.

And it might be good to keep in mind that revival is not a meeting—it’s a way of life.

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Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Published in: on October 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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