Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spit and Polish

This chasing fear
that year after year
Your Love's World premier
might slowly disappear
mud smeared on beauty sheers
when sincere becomes severe
rule lines to never cross here
black and white pamphleter
nitpicking auctioneer
some pious racketeer
zombie sickness Phariseer
high gear calendar year
looking down from up here
giving ear but can't hear
when head-bowed tears switch to upturned sneers
belly laugh cheer fades to puffed up chesty jeer
austere to cavalier
smug mutineer
pride pioneer
Lord, Please intefere
back to the white tailed deer
panting for Your water crystal clear
a kick in the rear
when ancient truth is new clear
from Your celestial sphere to side spear
ever blind to sightseer
every morning You draw near
to save me here
from my biggest fear
that all that I hold dear
could become spit and polish veneer.

"The fierce words of Jesus addressed to the Pharisees of His day stretch across the bands of time. Today they are directed not only to fallen televangelists but to each of us. We miss Jesus' point entirely when we use His words as weapons against others. They are to be taken personally by each of us. This is the form and shape of Christian Pharisaism in our time. Hypocrisy is not the prerogative of people in high places. The most impoverished among us is capable of it. Hypocrisy is the natural expression of what is meanest in us all." Brennan Manning The Ragamuffin Gospel

"Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?" Matthew 23:24 (Msg)

"Christ himself wrote it-not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives-and we publish it." 2 Corinthians 3:3 (Msg)

"Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law. You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer. Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.' Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ. Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty." Matthew 23:1-12

"The confessing church of American Ragamuffins needs to join Magdalene and Peter in witnessing that Christianity is not primarily a moral code but a grace-laden mystery; it is not essentially a philosophy of love but a love affair; it is not keeping rules with clenched fists but receiving a gift with open hands." Brennan Manning The Ragamuffin Gospel