As a substitute for cold, hard cash, plastic has proven our undoing in the West. Whatever else may be said about irresponsible government deficits, overcompensated corporate executives, unscrupulous mortgage brokers, or evil oil producers, let's face it-- it was our addiction to plastic money that jumped the cushion. We thought plastic helped grease the wheels of commerce, but at some level, within tight tolerances, it only serves to seize up the whole system.
Plastic is rampant in the church. You know, plastic smiles that hide uncaring, even spiteful, hearts. Plastic hugs that forget the closeness of that contact three feet out the door. Plastic testimonies that have no semblance to the reality of our lives. Church is not a masquerade ball, yet how many churches are filled with the made-up, costumed, and scripted every Sunday?
I've come to learn that I'm never alone when it comes to feelings or reactions. Stuff that bugs me, bugs others. Stuff that seems out of place to me, seems out of place to others. Convictions that stir my heart, stir the hearts of others. So I'll share a hope that some of you probably have too.
I dream of a plastic free world. I'm resigned to its use at the gas pump, and I can live with it on the dinner table, or even in my car's transmission, but I long to see it disappear from the church. Wouldn't it be nice to be so dependent on Christ and the grace of God he embodies that we could gather as saints without costume? That our successes wouldn't serve to shame others, nor our failures serve to shame us? That we could walk with each other, as we are, and actually progress into the deeper things of God?
Plastic doesn't feel, doesn't know, doesn't love, doesn't develop, so if we're ever gonna to be more like Jesus, we're gonna have to strip off the make-up and start keepin' it real.