The Salina Solution … June 11, 2012


The early explorers landing on the shores of the New World were often astounded to view the natives entering caves to excavate rock, only to emerge with specimens of fine, gold ore, which they chipped at until they freed the rock from the gold, placing the rocks in a pile for use and casting aside the golden nuggets. When the bewildered Europeans asked why the locals were throwing away such valuable material, they would look at them with perplexed expressions. Pointing at the pile of rocks, they replied, “These build houses.” And then, similarly referring to the golden pile, they noted, “These are too soft. They don’t.”

I tell you that story because sometimes that’s the way I feel when I go to churches. In the pursuit of humility and salvation, we often are guilty of mining rocks and throwing away gold. Is it really important for us to continue to believe in our perpetual inadequacy in order to give true glory to the awesome nature of God? Does He want to see us get better? Or is He happy with our floundering–being the tail instead of the head?

As I interacted with the precious human beings in Salina, Kansas, yesterday, I just wondered if they knew that God’s people should be smart. God’s people should be the most creative. God’s children should be at the top of the list in generosity. God’s followers should be leading the way in understanding, mercy and diversity. God’s favored should understand that they’re only given that status because they continue to pursue belief instead of settling for the common.

Yes, in a church environment, I often feel that we’re mining for rocks and throwing away the gold. I sometimes sense that futility has become the symbol of our faith, rather than our faith dispelling all futility.

So after having a wonderful embrace with my new brothers and sisters in Salina, I was encouraged to teach more to the natives about the true value of gold over merely extolling the rocks.

Here are five questions. How you answer these questions determines whether you view your earth journey into a festival of worship or a drudgery and march in despair towards eternal salvation.

(1) Who am I? (2) What am I? (3) Where am I? (4) When am I? (5) Why am I?

We have to start getting better answers than just “secular” and “religious” ones.

Because if you ask a religious person, “Who am I?” they more than likely will respond, “A sinner–in constant need of salvation.” On the other hand, a secular person might tell you that he is a valuable human being with great potential and no limits. Honestly, both answers are incomplete, if not erroneous.

What am I? Religious response: “Trusting God for my needs and waiting for my heavenly reward.” Secular: “Trying to keep ahead of the game and get a little bit ahead.”

Where am I? “On the earth, filled with trials and tribulations,” replies the religious person. “With my family, trying to do the best we can and have a little fun”–a secular perspective.

When am I? If you are of a religious thought pattern, you are constantly reminding yourself of your past sins and your present inadequacies, believing that the future is in God’s hands. A secular person is more than likely trying to ignore the past, have fun in the present and hope for a better future.

Why am I? Even more ambiguous. I guess the religious answer would be that humans are here to give glory to God. A more “street born” philosophy might be some variation of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.”

The religious and secular worlds square off against each other, each one believing the other is absolutely lost and confused. There has to be a better way.

So in honor of my dear, sweet brothers and sisters in Salina, I offer the following proposal, which I shall dub The Salina Solution. It is an attempt to stop mining for rocks and throwing away gold. And what is the difference? How do I know when I’m picking up the rocks and throwing away the gold in life? Anything that makes me cynical is a rock. Anything that stimulates my belief is gold.

So here you go. I will take on the same questions, but give you what I think are more Jesus-based–Jesonian–answers:

1. Who am I? A human being–nothing more, nothing less, no apologies.

2. What am I? Heart, soul, mind and strength–and if I ignore any one of them, they cry out at me like an abandoned baby.

3. Where am I? In this place, needing and giving grace.

4. When am I? Now. I live in the now. I learn from the past, understanding that because of free will, I will determine my own future.

5. Why am I? I have only one mission–to bring heaven to earth and to take as much earth as I can to heaven.

That’s it. It is The Salina Solution–an attempt to cease mining for rocks, casting away the gold. (Otherwise, you find yourself literally “caught between a rock and a hard place.” Religion will break you down in an attempt to make you humble, and the world will lift you up, only to mock you when you tumble from your own lack of ability.)

It is time to dump the rock and save the gold. Are you up to the challenge?

Are you ready to take on The Salina Solution?


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