The Bright Clean Lines of Wholeness.

I was raised in a conservative Christian tradition that took holiness and sin seriously. The lines were pretty clearly drawn and just about everything I thought fun was on the wrong side of the line.

I resisted this easy black and white formulaic view of the world and reality, and lived in the nuanced tensions fully in the world, while determined at the same time to follow Jesus. My calling became clear ~ to understand faith and culture and interpret each to the other, and I have, for the most part, enjoyed that calling.

I am now fully engaged in a local church, and in listening to broken, wounded people’s stories, I would say a recurring pattern is our failure to take seriously the dark side and the ease with which we have been led little by little through our own choices into terrible, awful messes. Over time these choices grow into a tangled web, a mess of jumbled strands, a congealed glob of goo, an oozing mess where whatever was once healthy is slimed with the rot of decay. Sometimes it is hard to find the person in there. (As gruesome as this imagery is, it is why Tozer said, “The first act of faith is to believe what God says about sin.”)

Each decision we make moves us closer to God or farther away; each choice we make moves towards humanizing us or dehumanizing us. The wages of sin is death, but the sickness that gets us there is the daily tarnishing of God’s image, bit by bit, act by act, unkind word by unkind word. Like Gollum we are eventually emaciated and bear little resemblance to the person God intended us to be.

So now I live at the crossroads of fallen culture and a flawed faith community and long for… the bright, clean lights of wholeness, what the ancients called holiness.

My appetites are changing. This is not a legalistic thing. I am free to eat what I want. But I am hungry for goodness and mercy all the days of my life and I want to travel with a company of friends who share that longing, who want to pursue God, become all God wants us to be, and to benefit the world around us.

(Today’s art is by Linda Nardelli and is titled “Holiness”).

 

Posted in Staublog in August 25, 2011 by | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to The Bright Clean Lines of Wholeness.

  1. Dick Staub on August 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

    […] I live at the crossroads of fallen culture and a flawed faith community and long for… the bright, clean lights of wholeness, what the ancients called holiness. Read More. […]

  2. Margaret Mills on August 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Yes. Exactly.

  3. Bill on August 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Yes, “led little by little through our own choices” is key. It’s like eating a candy bar one day doesn’t really amount to much, but a candy bar a day does not keep the doctor away.

  4. Elvie on August 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    “But I am hungry for goodness and mercy all the days of my life and I want to travel with a company of friends who share that longing… ”
    I praise God for He surround me with people who also conservatively long to serve our mighty GOD.
    Thanks you..

  5. Nicholas Colitses on August 27, 2011 at 6:37 am

    I dig what you are laying down!!

  6. Robert Florian on August 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Dick, I’ve been following you from time to time, since your show on WYLL Chicago about 20 years ago. From what I see, your’e not on the air anymore. A pity. In the Chicago radio market I like Drew Mariani, Thom Hartmann, Sean Herriott. (I’m Roman Catholic). One unforgettable radio moment, was when you started speaking of your handicapped brother, and just broke down in sobs. I had to pull over, and empathize with you. I was really sorry to see the afternoon drive slot on WYLL slide down into mediocrity. I’ll continue to visit your site from time to time.

  7. Dick Staub on August 27, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    You can listen to my podcasts at http://www.thekindlings.com
    Soon Dick Staub interviews from Chicago will be available there in the archives.

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