Saturday, August 13, 2011

Simple is Smart

    In my grandfather's day the word "simple" could mean three things. Specifically, it meant either uncomplicated, direct (as in the term 'simple interest'), or unintelligent (hence "simpleton").  As Christians, we do well to hold to all three kinds of Simplicity.

Please take the time to listen to the sermon by clicking the link above if you haven't heard it.  Thanks. The sermon is what the Lord had for all of us to hear this week.

    In the first sense - the uncomplicated one - principles and teachings that aren't easy to apply typically don't work under pressure.  This is for several reasons, not the least of which is something I'll call "the Black Belt Syndrome".   A Black Belt has an arsenal of techniques at his/her disposal, from the mundane to the pyrotechnic.  When it comes to choosing what to do in a real flight or fight situation, however, your just not going to see the black belt doing the triple-flipping inverted crane kick.  He will instead do an exceptional job of ruining your whole day from a core of 30-50 basic skills. Why is that?

* That crazy kick is among the least practiced techniques in his arsenal - he's been practicing the basics since the very beginning of his training. 

* These are the battle-tested weapons; how many street fights actually call for the more esoteric moves? They aren't as universally applicable as block, parry, punch, kick, repeat as necessary.

* When your heart has gone from it's normal 70-90 beats per minute to 140-plus beats per minute, our fine-motor skills degrade significantly.  The less refined, more hardwired defense is still available to us.

  Christianity is the same, I think.  The study of the deeper matters of theology has it's necessary place; rightly approached we may reverently commune with the heart and mind of our Lord. But if the Full Armor of God wasn't all we needed in a fight, He would of called it something else.  The basics here -- faith, prayer, worship, studying and wielding His word -- practiced until it is our very marrow - - will win the day in all battles, spiritual or otherwise. Simple is applicable. Simple will save us when our hearts race out of control.

   The next sense of Simplicity is the direct.  To the world, the straightforward life is almost beyond imagination.  The bookshelves that serves as the backdrop for the blog this week are a reminder that the map is not the territory.  The Lord and His Word are the territory.  Everything else is a true or a false map, by the degree it is in agreement with God.  Seminars, books, retreats - what have you - can all be great, so long as they don't water down our depth and time in direct relationship.
    Our witness is formidable when we say what we mean, mean what we say, and live by the same precepts we are sharing.  A simple man or woman in this sense is both integrated (all areas of life submitted and heading higher up the mountain of God) and reliable.  The elements of the world and the flesh that destabilize us are lovingly (though not always gently) stripped from us, by an incessant, Holy, and all-wise Lord (Phil 1:6).   In the main, authentic believers may rely upon each other as few others can.

   Finally, this shade of simplicity speaks to a one-to-one relationship with our Father.  No rituals, no machinations in an effort to get God to perform.  It's finished; we just get the joy of walking out the prelude to the victory celebration by His side.  No philosophy or deified super-human need offer to lend a hand.  Christ Jesus is our Way, our Truth, our Life. Simple is Direct, and uncluttered.

   The third and final sense, where someone simple equals someone stupid, not only flies in the face of everything above, but forgets itself relative to our Omniscient God.  A great place to regain that perspective is Job 38 - 39.  Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the Proverbs tell us, and none of us created folks has ever impressed God with our knowledge and know-how.  The simple = stupid equation also forgets scripture; in 1 Corinthian 1:27 we are reminded that Christians, however simple, are that which confounds even the wise.

 Simple is smart.  Very smart.


    For the second week in a row, this week due to an awesome church dinner and birthday celebration for Pastor Shawn, "Sow What?"  did not meet.  We will work on the BLUF for the past two weeks when we next meet.

><> Dan & Nancy 



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