“How could this happen!? How could he – of all people – fall away? This is appalling! Such wretched and tawdry pests! And who knows this better than him!? Who is more intimately acquainted with their sordid doctrines than he is!? And he defects!?! He decides to join their ranks! If he can be conquered by this cursed religion than who amongst us is safe!? Of course I’m panicked!!! None of us could’ve predicted this. Of course I’m caught off guard! Of course I’m freaking out! I don’t see how you can insinuate that I should calm down. I’m not going to masquerade as if all is well! The fact is – now we have to overhaul the entire plan! …and we have no guarantees that the new conscript (whoever that might possibly be …you and I both know that the new recruits have miserable resumes – at least compared with his) won’t turn out to be deserters like him!“
*At this point the speaker abruptly charges upon a passive and dutiful servant standing on the margin of the room. After slapping and striking the servant with a candelabra approximately 3 dozen times, weariness quells the savage act of rage and the servant is carried from the room by two scribe spectators who are all of sudden eagerly looking for an excuse to vacate the premises (the servant would be pronounced dead circa 4 1/2 hours later …the head trauma was severe and the physicians speculated that normal brain function would’ve been minimal to non-existent had he survived).
He seemed a bit dejected and crestfallen for about 6 minutes, but then – having reclaimed his fervor – he rose to his feet and resumed his hysteria.
You do realize that he was the keynote for symposium schedule for next week in Damascus? (we had him booked since August 4 years ago!). He said that he’d like to go a little early to “take care of some pressing business.” He gave us a passionate speech regarding his intentions to imprison (and if possible execute) as many who belonged to The Way as he could prior to the start of the colloquium. Shoot, I accompanied him to the offices of the HP to request the requisite letters to be presented to the synagogue officials whence he arrived! And now it turns out he’s a turncoat! And I’m left to find a replacement on such short notice! …Who else is qualified to handle the delicate nuances of our legal system, while at the same time manifesting the zeal and passionate which he seemed to possess in such abundance (or at least I supposed him to be zealous up until I received news of his heinous apostasy)? What a waste! …All of his efforts and accomplishments! All of the imprisonments and executions of our enemy by his own hands – and for what!? How could he – of all people – be recreant!? What a shameful and wretched waste! Who else had a pedigree like his!? I haven’t even heard of another member of the tribe of Benjamin who’s been circumcised within the prescribed guidelines. And now he’s throwing all of that away! He’s treating such glorious gain as if it were rubbish! …It makes me sick to my stomach.
*At this point the speaker literally paused to rub his tummy for about 3 minutes, for it seems he had actually inflicted himself with nausea at recounting the atrocity of his hero’s heretical conduct. Whether or not his biliousness ever subsided is uncertain, but either way he recommenced his denunciation after a hasty girth massage.
And you know the thing that drives me nuts!? The potential! …he had so much potential! He was on pace to surpass the greats! He was already advancing beyond many his own age among our people! And he was so extremely zealous for the traditions of our fathers!
*Here – after only a brief harangue – the speaker simply starred-off into space for about 15 minutes. The remaining scribes were exceedingly unsettled by this, for usually it was in those moments of seeming contemplation where he was actually brewing his most intense batches of rage. …then, all of a sudden, he burst into tears. These were distinctly not tears of contrition, but rather these were the blubberings of a man wallowing in his own self-pity, insecurity, and fear. And after 4-5 minutes of his sniveling – in a very low, timorous, and defearted voice – he said:
If he has been lost …any one of us could be next.
Renê didn’t like it. She had been involuntarily enlisted. No one checked with her to see if this was “okay.” Renê was pro-choice and this flew in the face of everything she stood for. Renê relished the idea of homogeneity – but this was overwhelmingly heterogeneous! Preferences were flying every-which-way (most of which Renê disdained, and deemed “pathetic”). People of all different ages and affinities all assembled together (Renê had never been in a context so unreasonable, awkward, abnormal, and perverse)! She had never asked to be adopted! How dare He! This was an encroachment on her independence! She didn’t LIKE these people. She had not chosen any of these people to be her friends! Renê was extraordinarily peeved with the cursed vocabulary paraded and peddled in this wretched place …that word “Family” that always seemed to flow unfettered from everyone’s tongue – flooding her ears with sentimental nonsense. This word “family“, was extraordinarily disagreeable to Renê, for it infringed upon her religion of individuality and her irresistible inclination to huddle homogenously with hand-picked homies. Renê’s religion was steeped in the presupposition of performance and maverick manufacturing. This community (which had been unpleasantly picked on her behalf) presupposed the repugnant and offensive doctrines of grace – and absolute obsession with an alien performance wrought by a representative. …Renê’s pride (her prized and precious possession) had suffered greatly under the tyranny of grace, and Renê long desired to see the demise and degradation of the deplorable doctrine (it was afterall, the only thing sustaining this abominable thing they kept referring to as “family” …the unity of such a heterogeneous community was MOST UNNATURAL, and the only logical reaction was complete condemnation of such corruption and perversion)! …And what was that thing she had overheard two days prior? That ridiculous statement which spewed from the mouth of the elderly imbecile who feigned refined wisdom born out of the soil of experience, mistakes, and suffering! …”There are no Private Solutions to Personal Problems.” The elderly man was mad! In Renê’s self-respecting opinion the man was fit only to be euthanized (…but here in the “family” they had not the least sense when it came to superior utilitarian values).
All of sudden Renê’s train of thought was rudely interrupted by a very queer looking man named Gilbert. Gilbert had risen from his seat and declared, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” To which an absurd young man named Teddy replied, “Thank God He did not give us a choice!” To which all the little adopted idiots shouted “Aye! and Amen!“
Desmond wasn’t flashy. No showy speech. No phenomenal powers. No divination. Desmond was parochial. Childlike. Simple. Unadorned joy was his divinely-endowed disposition. He was meek, humble, lamblike. Desmond was desperately dependent – and faith in what could not be quantified defined and dominated his life (his co-workers and business associates derided him for this). His prayers were oriented not in reference to himself, but to the Hallowed Holy Maker of the whole shebang. Desmond’s citizenship hailed from a foreign land …he was esteemed “quite odd” as a result. He lived by rations rather than storehouse (this made all his neighbors uncomfortable). He practiced a queer religion of repentance (this made his neighbors extremely uncomfortable!). Suffice it to say – Desmond’s values were divergent when compared to the normative social script. Desmond died on a Wednesday at the hands of an angry mob.
First things first, Locate the Door [John 10:7 & 9].
Secondly, take note of the thieves and robbers, and TRUST that God will work nonetheless …God will give the sheep the sense not to ultimately listen to the thieves and robbers (this sense will happen in accordance with God’s plan and timing). KnM – they are HIS sheep!
Psalm 23 (Shepherd/Physician): Diagnosis = “What does this person need?”
Still Water (drink/milk)?
Valley of the Shadow of Death (surgery/moving to a new place …feels confusing and painful)?
Table in the Presence of our Enemies (anchor, confidence in CHRIST ALONE!, …a test)?
CALLING = not Do What’s New. But rather …Do What’s Next.
Warning = guard against personal bitterness, cynicism, lack of sympathy &/or empathy, and becoming numb and apathetic.
LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN.
…Gotta Listen Long Enough to get down into the murky water areas of the berg.
Affection for the flock.
Time consuming nature of faithful PRESENCE (the provision of self – KnM that Christ abodes in you).
Unavoidably. Unavoidably. Unavoidably MESSY.
WoG. Read Romans 9 the way Piper preaches it.
You MUST feel absolutely deficient and ill-equipped to help w/o the WoG!
Ask God to remove the dragon from off your shoulder – and KnM that He will remove in accordance with His infinite WISDOM (His perfect plan and timing …KnM – major surgeries take A LONG time).