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wonder of Beliefs

by | Dec 24, 2021 | Belief, The Staple Singers, wonder

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🖋 “You are really odd!”. That was the greeting from a fellow coach standing outside of the conference room at Darden Business School. You might think that was a bit harsh, but the wonder is that is a compliment to me. Literally raised to be “different” for as long as I can remember, it is ironic that now I am known as a great connector of people and friends. And the real wonder is that without the early Church’s most radical stance, you wouldn’t be reading this…

As I have written before, I am adopted, and in our family system, that was seen as an honor. “You were not just born, you were CHOSEN to be in our family”. The connection to Church is even deeper as I was picked up from The Methodist Home in San Antonio after a call to my parents. Imagine that – you are on a list one minute, anticipating that things will change, and bam, it is today. Get in the car, head south for a 5-hour drive, and then return with a baby – probably screaming most of the way back. Or my birth mother, putting her early life on hold for nearly a year so that my life would be possible…

We have forgotten how Pagan the world of the early Church was. Ruled with the iron fist of the Roman Empire, it made Fascism look like a picnic. Google Roman Candles before the next 4th of July. Hedonism’s chase for individual pleasure above all else meant that inconvenient pregnancies were simply ended with babies taken out into the wilderness and left to…again Google that. The ruling elite of Judaism had struck up a sketchy truce with the Romans to allow some religious observation, but it was all under the control of the authorities. At any moment, that could be upended and their limited power and authority would be removed by with an Imperial edict.

🎵 I will take a risk of jumping into The Staple Singers heads – against my advice about Attribution. Their music has a real joy and upbeat character that always carries a Gospel message. Even surrounded by the rampant racism of Mississippi, Pops caught the flame early and passed it into his own family. And even continuing to face it daily on the Civil Rights Trail, they consistently brought an inclusive message to join them with their contagious enthusiasm. Digging deep into their catalog, it is hard to find a negative song or even a song in a minor key. It was that visceral to them – it came through every performance, and that is probably why Dr. King wanted them along.

🖋 The most radical Belief of the early Christian Church was the Sanctity of Life. Not only working among the Lepers, which you may know about, they also started the first orphanages. Going into the fields to retrieve “inconvenient” infants, the word spread that there was a better way, and eventually, they were known for protecting those smallest of lives, along with widows, and other less fortunate. Because once you believe your life is a precious gift from God, you realize that it extends to the least and the lost…

Tonight we are celebrating the baby that started this transformation nearly 2000 years ago. Another reluctant Father shepherded his new bride on a multi-day journey to be underneath a Star in a City that had been prophesied for generations to happen – exactly as it did. I was discussing Faith with a good friend recently, and he summarized his Beliefs beautifully: “I Believe it. It is one decision that makes everything after that Simple. If you don’t Believe, you have a whole lot of decisions to make that are really complicated.” And as I always add, not Easy.

We are about to plunge into a heavily divisive issue about the Sanctity of Life, and let me offer this – read beyond the headlines and really wonder about where we are compared to the rest of the world… and also what the implications are for the least and lost. Unlike my normal encouragement, it is neither Simple nor Easy. And wonder can help you think about this divisive topic more holistically. For me and the next generations of my kids, we are very thankful for the life that was chosen for me, and how it has continued. And for the bravery of all of my parents…

I know many of you are on a journey of your own. Given the last few years, all of our Beliefs have been shaken.  In my experience, it has simply clarified that while radical, these simple things lead to a brand new way of thinking. Each moment is a gift, but the wonder of a small price – to follow something you can’t see, but may hear stirrings in your own heart. What would help you see this simple step as one worth taking?  If I can ever be helpful in your own discussion of Beliefs, another great wonder is this life I was given is being paid to listen 😉

At another occasion, being a man of a certain age, I excused myself to head to the bathroom. As I was walking down the hall, I let out a holler – like Bob Wills – who knows why. The person serving us some wine commented ‘Man, he is unique”. My Brother-in-Law who never misses a beat said, “You have NO idea”. Being different is wonderful to me, particularly compared to the world around us currently. I know what happens tonight, and what it means to me, and many others. We know that as of tomorrow it is a Brand New Day.

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