Posted by: pastordarren | February 6, 2013

Barriers We Create

Junk-mail-NO1Many of you have heard the news by now, the postal service is considering not delivering some mail on Saturday in order to save money.  There is some mail that would still be delivered, but most of the general mail would have to wait until Monday to reach our door.  If you have not read about it, here is a link to the NBC news report.

In reading the article, a couple of sentences really jumped out at me:

The move is another milestone in the long-running political dance between Congress and Postal Service managers over how to finance the delivery of mail to 151 million addresses, nearly 40 percent of the world’s “snail mail” volume. Lawmakers have spent more than a year trying to nail down postal legislation, but have been unable to settle on an agreement.

Though its Capitol Hill critics complain that Postal Service should be made to operate “more like a business,” Congress has created a set of rules that all but guarantee billion-dollar losses.

I don’t know much about the inner workings of Congress and specifically how they interact with and control the postal service, but it seems to me that the constraints, rules, and control that they exercise over the USPS (and other aspects of the country?) are in a real way killing the ability to function and do what they need to do.  Makes no sense to me.

As I read this, my thoughts went to what we do it the church and how, in way too many ways, we are just like congress, trying to control, set rules, and make judgements (intentionally and unintentionally) about who is right, what is the correct path of discipleship, expressions of worship, how we live out our faith, and many other instances.  In other words, we put up barriers to people who are seeking that relationship with God because they are different or do things in ways we do not approve of.

The story of Cornelius and Peter in Acts 10-11 is a great example of God’s grace and love working outside the perceived normal paths and the change in perspective and understand that Peter and the other leaders go through.

We put up these barriers based on our need to control, our understanding of what is the right way to do things (that is many times personally or culturally based) and this ends up turning people away from the church and in some cases, away from God.  We put these things in place because we see them as helpful, when in reality they are hindrances.

I hope that we will really begin to look at how we try to control things, maybe even see where our church parallels congress’ actions, and then remember that we are called to love God first and then love all around us, those like us and those unlike us, and see God’s grace and love that is already at work.   We then listen to the stories that others tell us of how God is working in and through them and we learn and grow too.


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