Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love Twitter. There’s a voyeuristic quality about it that I just can’t resist. While I love reading the short descriptions about what’s going on in people’s lives I rarely pay attention to the ones that have photo links attached for no other reason than the fact that they are mostly pictures of people’s food (sorry, but I don’t care about your half eaten burrito or stewed tomatoes).
Today was an exception to that rule. I kept getting tweets (messages for you who are unfamiliar) from XXXChurch (http://xxxchurch.com/) that had updates and photos from their booth at the Erotica LA convention. They were fantastic pictures of salt and light people laughing, passing out bibles, sharing the gospel. My personal favorite? Dining with Ron Jeremy and company. This is what missions is all about. I was thinking about this as I sat down to read for tonight’s post. Coincidentally, tonight I’m on Luke 18 and 19.
Luke 18:9-12 (from The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector) reads: 9”Some were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10”Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and one a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evil doers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
Of all the photos that were sent the most striking was a photo of a man outside, standing by himself (not unlike the Pharisee), carrying a sign that read ‘Porn Damns! Jesus Saves!’ Even if the message was right on, the method of delivery sucked. It’s easy to stand outside, alone and unengaged, taking pride in the self-righteous assumption that I am not like those other people. It’s much harder, and undeniably more effective, to humbly serve in the dark places reaching out to touch those who are lost. I don’t know how many people the lone sin-sign guy reached today but I do know that XXXChurch passed out a few thousand bibles.
Now for some practical, everyday application. The odds of my having an opportunity to invite a porn star to dinner tomorrow are very slim. But I do have an opportunity to connect with those who are lost. Tomorrow is Sunday. I pray that as I enter the temple to pray I do not point to the guy next to me (v.11) and call out his or her sin (something that I’ll admit I am often tempted to do). Lord knows I have enough of my own.
And I pray that the Church would stop carrying the sin sign too. It happens. I’ve experienced it. I long for the day when we, the Church, truly realize that we are also the robbers, evil doers, and adulterers not just the other guys. I pray that we will put down our sin-signs and confident self-righteousness and embrace those who, despite their actions, are at their core just like us.
So, back to X3 Church. On their web site the volunteer page says, “Don’t blame the dark for being dark, blame the light for not shining in the dark.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Tomorrow I’ll be reading Luke 20 and 21.
Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering here’s what I had for dinner. See how ridiculous it is?