Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Republishing Grace and the Building of Boats - Part 2

I am republishing a series I did last November on the analogy of boats and my religious life that I was leaving behind. Hope you enjoy:

Grace and Why Would You Leave Your Boat

In my last post I described the boat we had built in our family to safely navigate the waters of our life in Jesus. Remember that it was very outfitted. We had everything we could think of in it to keep us safe. It was huge! Big! Sturdy! So why would we want to leave it?

Did I mention that it was heavy? It did not seem so heavy when we first started building it. In fact it was quite light. At the beginning there were not many expectations for our boats or others. We just needed to love God, love to worship him and love each other. We often tied our boats together and ate and had fun. Our kids played together and we loved to be together. We didn’t only meet together on a Sunday morning but played together as families a lot during the week.

But little by little over the years it seemed that something would happen. Either someone would wreck their boat or the leader would notice that something was missing from his boat and we would add things to keep us safe. And so, over time, it became very heavy. Just to take it out on a Sunday would make you tired. It was so much easier to just keep it tied to the dock.

We added the spiritual disciplines so that everyone would be safer. We thought there would be fewer wrecks if everyone was doing the five or then 6 or then 7 disciplines. Our kids would be safer. People would get to the goal in one piece. But as things were added it just got heavier and heavier. Some actually sank because of all the stuff that was added.

And did I tell you that this boat got uncomfortable? With all the additions it seems that you were always being stuck with something that you had not done yet or needed to add. All the stuff made it impossible to move around freely. We felt crammed. When we did get together with others on a Sunday morning I felt so proud of my boat that I wanted everything to be perfect. I started making my children play the part of being happy in this boat. They had to be at all the meetings, events and such. There were not times of fun as much as we had had before with the others in their boats. It seemed that after all the “shoulds” there was less time for just fun.

And where was grace? Well we knew of this material of grace. We liked the feel of it. Of course you could not build a boat out of it, (or so we thought) but you could cut it up and use it in places to try to pad all the things that seemed to poke at you when you were sitting or working in this boat. Grace was sometimes used in our boat but you could not use too much of it. A little poking and prodding was good for our kids, right?

I think the final straw for us though was the addition of seat belts of loyalty and not questioning. As they got tighter and tighter we started realizing that it went against what Jesus said about building boats in the first place. He came to set us free. His burden was light. There was only one Father, Teacher and Rabbi….Him. We began to listen to other stories about boats out there that were absolutely wonderful. Did they really exist? We needed something.

Tomorrow’s installment is Grace and What She Says.


Anonymous said...

Barb, this is awesome stuff. I especially relate to the disciplines part.

getting there said...

I can so relate to this Barb! excellent post.