Monday, December 13, 2010

Talk-show Religion

I am re-posting this today for Faith Barista Jam Thursday.  I love the topic:  Unwrapping Jesus Discoveries.  In doing this our lives become journeys of Treasure seeking...and finding.  One thing I am learning, God comes to live in jars of clay, but He doesn't intend to stay there--His light must shine!  And so He breaks our boxes, and Christmas dawns all year round.  Blessings!

God has been speaking to me again through his feathered friends.

This morning as I sit in my flannels, catching up with our oldest on the phone, I am delighted to see through a veil of drapes the silhouette of a Blue Jay flitting from one Christmas wreath to another, all hung wide with burgundy velvet across our four living room windows.

With regal, feathery crest he hovers in the between of each evergreen swirl and peeks into the glass, as if waiting for an invitation to come in from the blustery cold.

Does he see his reflection, or is he trying to get my attention?

I mention the crowned visitor to my daughter while we talk about "church" and our not being there and how she no longer has a desire to go and watch people put on a show as if they are acting out a drama for others to see.

"I'm tired of the superficiality," she says.  "I don't see what any of it has to do with loving and worshiping God."

For the most part I agree with her.  We haven't been to church as a family for months.  Instead, we spend the mornings sleeping later, cooking breakfast for each other, talking peaceful--slow, lingering in the warmth of together, and enjoying the intimacy we lack during the week.

"What was it like in Bible days?" she asks.  "I don't think they went just because they felt they had to.

"I don't think they faked their faith like we do now."

Mr. Blue Jay flies away, and returns a few minutes later to perform again his early-morning routine, like a ritual from beginning to end.  I watch distracted as Daughter and I continue the conversation.  Moments like these, when we connect in faith-matters are precious, and not meant to be rushed.

"God is drawing hearts to relationship with Him and each other.  He is speaking if we will listen.
I share how I have talked with friends in far-away places looking for somewhere to fit, somewhere they can be real before God and each other, all wanting to connect with other believers of like mind and heart who desire to return to the simple and holy ways of worship--who will walk in love and power and the ability to bring change for God's glory, not man's.

Then I remember, voice a roll-call of sorts, all the wonderful people we have known "in church" who were real in their faith and love for Christ, all those who made a difference in our lives and the world around us.  I hear a smile through the lines as we recall holy saints, and I watch my crested feathery friend fly off again.

Our conversation veers as well to the pecan-topped sweet potato casserole I am baking for our family Christmas dinner in a few hours.  I forget about my morning visitor until I open email a while later.

At the top of a message entitled, Blessings in Liberty, a picture of a gorgeous Blue Jay greets me.  And underneath, in caligraphy, this Scripture from Timothy reads:

Tell those rich in this world's wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life."

~ 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (The Message)

I think about Mr. Blue Jay, and smile.  Another message from the Lord?  He was trying to get my attention!  I look up the passage and read further:

And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith."

~ 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (The Message)

Oh, the wonder of God!  Oh, how He loves us!  And yes, He speaks, if we will listen. 
My daughter discerns easily what has taken me years to come to terms with.  My religious ways and striving will never bring me closer to God.  Religion keeps Him in a box, and working for His approval wears me out. 
He never intended for us to dress up and perform for Him one day a week, then go about our business as usual.  Instead, He reaches down into every moment, giving grace that frees, forgives, invites and enables me to be real in life and love--that the world may know His goodness.
I am thankful today for His richest gifts that keep giving and speaking, and getting my attention, that keep pulling me into Him in one way or another.
Yes, let us guard the treasures we have been given!

Today I join Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

holy experience

I am also linking with  L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share their stories of place at Seedlings in Stone.   Please join us!
On In Around button

 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Credit:  flickr - Jeffrey Pott


  1. I've always said religioun has little to do with God and much more to do with men and their views....I like what you said, God talks to us if we listen....thanks for the reminder, I just need to start to listen....again.


  2. I too hear so much from the flutter of birds, the rustle of leaves in the wind... nature's mediation of God's voice.

  3. Hearing Him through His special messengers we so frequently take for granted.

  4. So true. It isn’t about churchiness. But I have found he does want us connecting with each other. Lives touching other lives. Thank you for this Melissa.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours

  5. Is your oldest in college? No way! I was sidetracked in the beginning with that, but did read;)

    I, too have been hurt by the church the one growing up too much like you described and others along the way...

    I agree with Craig--He does want us in that ready fellowship and so many are seeking this and amazing church plants rising up (don't know where you are, but probably too...) You know He loves the Church...she is His Bride...He laid down His life for her...and I don't know what that is supposed to look like for you, but something...maybe you and others begin a house church...dream Melissa:)

  6. Some of the best lessons are learned from nature and its inhabitants.
    Such a poignant message that touched me deeply as I flounder with what to do and not do for Christmas this year.
    Thank you for sharing this time with your daughter and the message the Lord gave you.

  7. I so agree with you on this post and I think there is much to learned of God and his ways in nature

  8. Bless you, friends!

    I love reading your thoughts. And I agree, now more than ever, the body of Christ needs to connect with each other in healthy, loving relationships. Yes, we need each other.

    For more than a year my heart has been crying out for this very thing in prayer--that His church would be willing to let go of their own kingdoms and embrace His agenda alone.

    Jesus is building a church that won't be formed with human hands--for we are living stones. He is drawing us back to family and simplicity, to preferring each other, in this hurry-scurry life. He is returning us to the basics of loving and knowing Him. He is freeing us from the world's ways and religion's traps.

    Like Mama Abby says, I'm not sure what that looks like yet. But I know we are in transition. And He will bring us through!

    Jesus is coming again, but first, we will see His glory rising upon His bride! Happy Christmas everyone!

  9. @Mama Abby: My oldest has graduated from college and just celebrated her first wedding anniversary. I used to get annoyed when people thought my mom and I were sisters (she looks younger than her age as well.) But now, I am reaping the benefits of her genes. :)

  10. Thanks for visiting (and following) my blog and thus leading me here to yours! This thoughtful post has me nodding my head frequently. I agree that we can be so often caught up in the busy-ness of "doing" that we forget to invest in treasured relationships!

    P.S. Wonderful blue jay photo. I've been trying to get a close-up like that for weeks, and they always fly away too soon!

  11. The bible says to not forsake the assembling of yourselves with others. Why? So you can hear the word being preached, grow in God and help others grow. If we keep our eyes on our Father we won't have time to look around at what the church is or isn't doing. What does God want me doing? Where does he want me planted to be a blessing? God is judging the church in these last days tearing down all religious strongholds that have been built. I pray you find a place to be connected with God and people of like faith! Blessings, xo!

  12. So glad you are seeing God in nature and in his Word. He is always there; we just need open eyes. Thanks for sharing your story. Praying you can find a church home where you will feel blessed and be a blessing. I know it is hard sometimes. :-(

  13. Hi Melissa!

    I'm so blessed to meet you through your words- such creative space to point us to see Christ and hear Him in our journey - through your eyes.

    I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for making this as part of the jam.


I welcome and appreciate your kind words and comments.