Breaking News…”Misremembering” And The Quest For Integrity

Brian Williams has been suspended from NBC this week.
Longtime NBC anchorman was challenged by others within the media world as to the substance of his “encounters” while reporting on the Iraq war in 2003.  His “misremembering” of specific details has left some scratching their heads while others calling for his immediate termination.  Whether intentional or not, the fallout of “misremembering” at the journalistic level will undoubtedly have consequences.

Similarly, within the Christian world “misremembering” and/or inconsistencies of witness will also undoubtedly have consequences!  Like those who report the news nationally and internationally, Christians leaders are looked up to.  They provide other Christians and would-be believers vital information, sources of hope, and godly direction.  Integrity and honesty should be a given, although there have been some who have fallen from grace over the years. swaggart

The witness of Christians can become greatly devalued when inconsistencies and misremembering takes place.  What good is it to speak of love and grace and even Jesus when suddenly we misremember how we are to treat other people?  What good are these Christian qualities when our actions and attitudes do not resemble our words?  Worse yet, what good is it to go to church and sing all the right songs and pray all the right prayers only to walk out of those doors and resemble anything but a Christ follower in our unhealthy habits, speech and actions?

Do we run the risk of running empty on integrity when we misremember how we are to be as Christians?  You bet we do!  The unfortunate consequences of lack of integrity as people of faith is that we will lead people away from God. Why would people want to seek out Christ when His very own followers do not practice what they preach?

Two things happen when we live within the “misremembered” and dishonest walk of “faith”

hypo1. Our Christian witness is compromised, phony and detremental to others who are ACTUALLY living as God has called the faithful to live.  We are not only ruining the chances of potential new believers coming to the faith, but we are making it even harder on other believers who are living lives of integrity.   It only takes a few rotten apples to ruin the whole bunch.  When others look at the church they will mostly likely first see the rotten ones.  We must be aware of our witness to others…it matters THAT much!

2.  Our personal faith and growth will be stuntedstunted
…from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.”  (James 3:10-12)
Living a dishonest life within the realms of faith will inevitably shortchange our potential maturity and growth.  We cannot live this way.  As James puts it “this ought not be this way“.   We jeopardize not only the Christian witness to others, but we tarnish our own paths and limit what God can do through us by living this way.   Living a “misremembered” life that lacks integrity is cheap and unfortunately more common than not.  Dare I say that Christ has called us to live the uncommon life that is full of integrity, love and obedience!

BrianLet’s face it, Brian Williams isn’t the only one who has “misremembered” things, he was just caught.
Many are just as guilty of this same character flaw.  Brian Williams just happened to be in the public eye reporting the news.  Will there be more who will fall from grace?  Of course…but you and I do not have to be included in this statistic if we are mindful of this trap!  Integrity is a valuable, often tarnished commodity that many lack today.  As people of faith, we ought to make it our goal to strive to live integrity in all that we do and all that we are!

Let’s stop the “misremembering” madness in our own lives and start practicing honesty, sincerity and truth both in word and deed.

Something more to ponder today!

Dear Salvation Army, Rituals And Sacramental Living

Our founders, William and Catherine Booth got away from the observances of Communion and Baptism…did they go too far?

I know that this blog has covered the sacraments in the past…I’m will not shy away from such conversations.
communion
The question still remains, did our founders go too far in regards to the sacraments?  I am not disagreeing with our doctrinal stances, I wish to ask the question.   I also understand that they weren’t condemning anyone who participates in communion or baptism, but has it become something of an elephant in the room?

RITUALSrituals
One could argue that anything could become ritualistic and routine within worship practice.  Thus, if our only argument against communion or baptism to be “ritualistic” in practice then perhaps we could look at certain practices we in the Army already participate in.

Can sacred moments in worship become routine and ritualistic?  Yes.  Have they become so in our services?  Yes, at times.

searchA SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE
If anything that we do within the practice of worship becomes something that it was never intended to be, should we cast it out?  Or, should we bring it back into alignment?  Whatever “it” may be?

When we have our altar calls and the Mercy Seat is open, do we make it less significant if it is over emphasized…every.single.Sunday?  I do not wish to diminish its importance in worship, but has it, at times, become our surrogate “go to” for the sacramental life?  Is the Mercy Seat and the “sacramental life” one in the same, or mutually exclusive?  Are there other representations or manifestations of the sacred that we over look and/or ignore in the process?

Please do not misunderstand me, I do not wish to downgrade the importance of the Mercy Seat, but is there a danger of IT becoming ritualistic and thereby causing its loss of significance?  Isn’t that partially why our founders moved away from the Sacraments in the first place?

“Outward Expressions of the Inward Change”
I believe that all of the external representations of holy or sacramental living are NOT as important as the inward relationship.  This should not, however, eliminate the outward practices.   It’s like a love relationship with a would be spouse or soul mate.  You want the world to know that you are in love with that person and you want that person to know it too.  So we express our love in many ways.  We put our love on display for all the world to see.  This is what the sacred should look like!  It isn’t about appearances, or a statistic for Holiness meeting.  It isn’t about anyone else but our relationship with the Lord in a corporate setting.

How are our outward expressions today, dear Soldier?  Are they bound up in appearances and/or ritual practice?  Have they lost some of its true meaning?  Are we running the risk of having these become more about practice than about significance within our hearts?

Anything can become rituals devoid of meaning and significance if we allow them to develop as such.  What kind of fruit are we producing from our spiritual walk with God?  Can we be honest with ourselves as we reevaluate our priorities, our practices, the outward expressions of our inward change?

If we are called to be set apart and to live out holiness in our lives, how can we avoid the ritual, the mundane, the loss of spiritual emphasis?

These questions are worth pondering today in our Army world.
More to come…
To God Be The Glory!

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