I enjoyed the unusually mild March morning. It’s almost seventy degrees and a t-shirt all that was required to be comfortable as I sipped my coffee. The Rose of Sharon trees are covered in green and the lawn is beginning to change from the brown of Winter to the green of Spring. The weather looks to be seasonal, but dry. Maybe I won’t have to mop up after the dogs for a few days. All is well in the world.
We moved to our quiet little neighborhood about four years ago. To be honest with you, White Settlement wasn’t on our radar, but I think God had other plans. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, we saw the house on a Wednesday and closed a week later. The whole process was quick and simple. It seems to work that way with God’s gifts.
There’s this little church and its sign I always look for as I go back and forth to our local grocery or gas station. They always have a message with a play on words, but I think what makes me chuckle a bit is the church’s name: a “full gospel”: church. It apparently isn’t for people who only want part of the gospel. Sometimes I laugh too hard at my own jokes. You know, “I can’t go there because I only want a little taste of Jesus”!
Over the last four years I’ve though a lot about that little church. Not enough to go there mind you, I’ve noticed that most of its members are a lot older than I am. Not that it should exclude me, but I’ve noticed that churches are like people. They can age and die too if there’s not enough youth and vitality left to keep them fresh.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize I want the “full” gospel. The word “gospel” means good news. I love good news. It beats the alternative! The good news for me initially related to my recovery from addiction. It’s come to mean much more as I grow older. Still, there are times I’m resistant to “all” of the good news, to a new way of living and relating to the world. Resistance seems to grow in direct proportion to my comfort level. The more comfortable I am the less I grow in my humanity. Comfort always seems to lead to resistance in its most ugly form: complacence.
I learned a long time ago that one’s spiritual path can take many forms. My belief took a “Christian” form. I make no excuses for my faith as a disciple, a follower of Jesus, because the bottom line is I want to be like him when I grow up. I want to learn how to love others. I want to participate in humanity. For someone who’s life has included the dis-ease of raging self-obsession, that takes transformation. Maybe that’s the other component of the “good news”. Maybe that’s what keeps people from wanting the “Full” gospel. Transformation is scary, and it means letting go and venturing into the unknown. Letting go is never easy. Not everyone wants to. Not everyone is able to. I get it. I can only speak for myself, but I’m ready for the whole thing…