Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Clutter


I'm reading a book titled "On Writing Well". My fav chapter thus far is called CLUTTER.
The author says that fighting verbal clutter is like fighting weeds--the writer is always slightly behind. We clutter our sentences with excess, and even silly, words.

He went on to say that clutter is the language that throws dust in the eyes of others to mask the truth. It hides mistakes. It covers ugly words with euphemisms to make it more politically correct. Like saying "economically depressed socioeconomic area" instead of "slum" or "ghetto".

I know. I know. I can see the politically correct standing at attention.

But this is the deal (a clutter sentence, by the way). I see this in our faith.

My son-in-law, a worship leader, described it well last Tuesday at our college service. He said, "I don't know why such a simple gospel is made to be so complex."

We clutter our faith with tradition and rituals that fail to initiate intimacy or change. We mask the truth because it might not be palatable. We even clutter the way that we present salvation. I don't understand the "close your eyes, raise your hand, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight" rendition when asking people to receive Christ.

Jesus simply walked up to people and asked them to follow him. He saw hungry people and invited them to be a part of the kingdom. They began that journey and their life was impacted on a daily basis.

I want to present the gospel clearly. I want to paint a picture of mankind and the hole that sin left. I want to explain the cross, mercy, grace, and destiny. I want to invite people to begin the journey right where they are.

I don't want to portray faith as magical, as if you say a prayer and suddenly life's answers are all solved. Sometimes it's difficult to listen and obey when God speaks. Sometimes you might stumble, but God is faithful to forgive and teach through our mistakes.

I can't change the world, so I must begin with me. What clutter do I have in my faith? Have I made the simple message complex? Do I make my relationship with God more complex as I tangle it with cultural and traditional requirements?

I just want to follow him. One day at a time. Cutting out all the clutter so I can hear his voice and respond.

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