Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

3 December 2008

Relationships are NOT like 10th Grade math class

"It's not a religion, it's a relationship"
Charlie Church


I'm afraid I have a difficult time faking being exposed to a fresh new revelation when someone shares the religion/relationship thing with me. I think that once a phrase becomes too cliche for a bumper-sticker, it might be time to put it bed (even if it is true). Trick is... Relationships are harder!

They're not hard like 10th grade math equations are hard either. I didn't all out fail many courses in school. But 10th grade math I failed twice. The first time around I knew I was in over my head and aborted the mission at about week three. My 45% was a surprise to nobody. The second time around, I knew the only way out of 10th Grade math purgatory was to get down to business and solve those problems. I poured over the numbers and letters. My 49% was a surprise to nobody. Mercifully my teacher had pity on my pour soul and told me he'd fake a 50% if I promised to never come back and turned my focus to telling jokes and pretending to be trapped by an invisible box in Drama class. Knowing that this skill would eventually come in handy when doing evangelistic outreaches while miming the smashing of beer bottles and breaking free from chains, I took the deal.

Relationships are not like 10th Grade math. Because no matter how elusive the answers to the math equations are, there ARE answers in the back of the book. If you work hard enough at it, you'll arrive at an answer. A=B. Using the proper sequence of pre-determined absolutes will result in the once and for all solution to the problem. Once you "get there", you can close your workbook and go to sleep confident in the fact that each x and y are sleeping peacefully in their own finite bed. Unless of course you have a mind like mine. A mind that used to give either baseball statistics or line of classic poetry as answers to numerical questions, because I couldn't find the way to solve the problem (which incidentally is rarely appreciated those who mathematize). People like me were asked to leave the club.

Relationships are not like 10th Grade math. Relationships are more like running naked through a never ending gauntlet in front of your 10th Grade math class. That's a bit harder to fit on the bumper sticker although I can see a tastefully designed silhouette coming in handy.

Relationships can leave you exposed for the dufuss you are, in front of the very people you want to look cool in front of... as a way to try and solve the great mysteries of life. Pretty simple isn't it? Such a picture kinda makes me wish it was a religion. Bells and Smells, a Swiss Chalet lunch and a punch-clock would be a workable scenario for most of us if it worked. I could get a cheat sheet and solve the equation and I'd go to bed happy knowing that whatever the next day held in wait for me, I'd have the equation solved. I could count on it. It would be finite. Never changing. There would be a beginning and an end. It's very easy to see how we fell into the religion trap because that's what we need from a God. A solid. An anchor. Something immovable. And we're in luck that that's exactly who we've got.

So where's the big issue? Why did we have to come up with earth shaking quips like, "it's not a religion, it's a relationship" to remind us of what we're really doing here?

Because A does not equal B. Actually:

A= (x+selfishness) - y times running naked through math class divided by love.

In relationships, there are variables upon variables. There are feelings. Moods. Deaths. Passions... it's an extraordinarily complex equation that can seem to have changing governing rules from day to day... even with person you share your bed, bath and beyond with. Remember when Homer renewed his marriage vows to Marge after years of... well... being Homer. After years of bumbling, belching, scratching, failing, judging, screaming, strangling, and loving? As presided over by Reverend Love Joy:


"Dearly beloved, I will now read the special vows which Homer has prepared for this occasion. Do you Marge take Homer in richness and poorness, poorness is underlined, in impotence and im-potence, in quiet solitude or blasting across the alkali flats in a jet powered monkey navigated... and it goes on like this."


A decade in... Homer knew it was best to cover all his bases, because relationships are hard and messy but he knew that all he wanted was Marge. See we're locked into a doozy of a relationship. According to Paul... we're married to God who wants us dry cleaned and ironed crisply...


Revelation 19:7-8

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.


...and apparently I'm the girl. I always knew I'd look stunning in white lace. That's just super cus I've been crumpled in the corner and I'm just a bit stained and wrinkled. Isn't it beautiful? See... it's a relationship. It's about growth, patience and the woo of the spirit to a banquet table of freedom. It's an absolutely intoxicating process that excludes not a one because it's never SOLVED. We're never "good enough" but the he keeps on holding our hand in His on our sunset walk into tomorrow.

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