14 December 2006

Gifts and Mangers

Lance, at The Scrawny Pulpit, and I were talking about this today.

Is today's Christian church trend geared toward honoring Jesus by giving our best or toward stroking our own human egos?

Frankly, I don't think the question matters much until we tackle a more basic question- Is my heart a manger?


Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I was just commenting to my sister (on email, in the wee hours of this morning) that Christmas is about hard love. She is facing so many people that need such love, so I said, "You are right in the Christmas spirit."

Sometimes our whole life feels like a manger... do we look to the Child to grace it?

7:38 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Oh, how sweet and clean Mary and Jesus look considering the fact that they just went through childbirth in a barn with no clean-up.
And no epidoral!
Sorry, I'm being all sarcastic on your spiritual post.
Good question. Is my life a manger?

12:17 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Main Entry: manĀ·ger
Pronunciation: 'mAn-j&r
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English mangeour, manger, from Anglo-French mangure, from manger to eat, from Latin manducare to chew, devour, from manducus glutton, from mandere to chew -- more at MANDIBLE
: a trough or open box in a stable designed to hold feed or fodder for livestock

That would be a literal "no"...but that's not what you're asking, is it?

For the record, I **HEART** you, Erin! I have been lovin' your comments at my place lately. But when I pop over here (in a hurry :/, EVERYTHING'S in a hurry lately), I get stopped in my tracks by the way you think and present your thoughts.

I've taken all this time, not to answer your question, huh?

Is my heart a manger? A place to hold...Jesus...son of God...VERY God. A manger doesn't "do" anything really, does it? It just RECEIVES...it's a vessel...it "holds" what others take out. It's humble, not flashy or pretentious. It just completes a task that it was designed to accomplish.

I WANNA SPEND MORE TIME THINKING ABOUT THIS, but for now my answer to your question is no..........and yes.


2:49 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Ha! Heather, the sarcastic pirate. Who likes flowers.
Yes, this is a very pristine and stylized version of what we know really took place, but I was looking for a painting that had Mary WORSHIPPING the Christchild rather than being worshipped right along with Him. (Do you know how hard it is to find one of those?)
I wonder, how would we respond to a depiction of the stable/ manger scene if it really portrayed things as they were. Stinky, bloody, body fluids, crying, frigid, steamy breath, animals bleating, no epidural... would I enjoy standing there looking at that? (I dare say that I actually MIGHT. At least it would draw me into worship on a much grittier level than a lot of the sterilized paintings of the Adoration.) Whew! This was not supposed to be about art.

So I've just been ruminating ("manger"ing) on the way our 21st century churches bend over backward to reach the consumer in each of us. I have noticed in myself a tendency to view my church as just another service provider. Not happy with my service? I just switch providers. (Ok, I'm not that fickle, but you get my point.) I think there are so many aspects of consumerism within me that I don't even recognize!! These things are so subtle, so pervasive within our culture, that they're just a given. We ALL walk around with an idea that the world needs to operate on OUR terms. And if it doesn't, well we switch providers, quit the club, move on to something else... "It's just not for me."

I worship Jesus because He came into this world without any terms. He chose the crappiest, bloodiest, messiest environment to make an appearance. And within my heart, no matter HOW "excellent" I think my offerings are, He finds the same crappy, bloody, messy scenario. My heart IS a manger, whether I recgonize it as that or not. But l.l. barkat and Robin added a new twist- does my manger-heart RECEIVE what's being placed in it?

There's only One way to make a manger a place of beauty.

If I waited to trust Christ until I got my act cleaned up, I'd be waiting a loooong time. Where else could this Grace engage me if I am to come to Him with my sin? No where BUT a manger.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Thought provoking post and comments.

7:19 PM  

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