I’ve never been too fond of the Apostle Paul. As a Christian I can’t publically say a lot of negative things about his writing, but something about the way he comes across irks me. Apparently he’s the only Christian that has ever really got his theology straight; the rest of us have been trying to decipher his ramblings for centuries now.
Paul probably has his own action figure. I should run down to the nearest overpriced Christian bookstore to check it out. His doll is almost certainly proudly displayed next to the Moses and Jesus figurines. If I had an action figure it would be two shelves lower, marked down half price, right between Larry-boy and SpongeBob SquarePants. (Who let him in here?!)
I’ve always thought that the Christian life is like a circus, but even in that context I think Paul would have me beat. He’d no doubt be the fearless lion tamer. “No problem,” he’d quip, “I used to see this all the time in the coliseum.” And crack goes the Indiana Jones style whip. Yours truly would likely be stuck down in the clown car, wedged sideways somewhere between Doubting Thomas’s armpit and Loudmouth Peter’s backside. (Dude, lay off the kosher dill pickles!)
Actually, Paul would disagree with my circus metaphor and start going on about running this race or that marathon. You know it’s true! And why is it that every time I read about Paul running a race, I hear Chariots of Fire playing in the background? ANNOYING!
Yup, Paul seemed to have it all together, which means that he and I have very little in common.
How about you? Have you reached the heavenly plateaus of sainthood? Good for you. The air is obviously quite thin up there, because it’s messing with your opinion of yourself.
For the rest of us, I want to suggest that if nothing else, we have something in common with another apostle: the disciple from the Gospel of John. He keeps showing up near Jesus. Jesus seemed to actually want to spend time with him. He is described as the disciple Jesus loved.
Is it enough for you, to be the disciple Jesus loves? I hope so, because it’s true.
Just for today, let’s take a break from the need to be better Christians. Let’s just be loved, beloved.