Monthly Archives: May 2013

Open mindedness is a tricky thing

I got a good buddy who lives in California.  This guy has a heart of gold.  He continually surprises me and challenges me with the way he faithfully loves people and pursues joy above all else.  What most impresses me with this guy is not how “good” he is at those things though, but how much he thinks about the things that he does.

Meticulous in everything, life is in the details and answering the question why for him.

I love that about this dude.  It inspires me and reminds me to do the same.  So, we are talking on the phone catching up and we start talking about his conversations with people who don’t believe in God and their issues with Christianity.  It usually boils down to one thing – Christians are “closed minded”.

People say it’s their issue with marriage equality, or hypocrisy, or judgmental tendencies and I would say that all those things are rooted in this idea that Christians are “close minded”.

Touche world, touche.

So my buddy and I started working through this and it got me thinking, are TRUE evangelical Christians who have been captivated by the incredible finished work of Christ close minded?  It’s for sure a good question – I guess I’ll make it more personal…

Are you close minded? Am I close minded?

Confession: I am close minded at times.  I think we all are, that’s not a stamp for Christians, or for atheists.  That’s just a reality of people.  We all have opinions and we think they are right.  The question is what funnel are we looking at it through, and how do we evaluate our opinions and beliefs?

So person A thinks I, Garrett the christian, am close minded because I look at this book(The Bible) and without fail say this is True and nothing else is.  That’s a thought, and a legitimate one at that – but here’s my response:

Honestly, I don’t think someone whose an honest bible believing Christian is close minded.  I think it takes an extremely open minded person to read and consume the things that are stated in this book and come to the conclusion that its the right design for the world.

I think it takes someone extremely open minded to read Romans 8 & 9, and everything in their first glances think “this is wrong, this can’t be what God means!” and then come to the place of submitting to the Word of God because it’s not your decision, but God’s as to what Truth is.  I’m extremely open minded to that.  In my head I might think its wrong – but my heart KNOWS God is not wrong, so I will submit to that Truth.

One step further – There are some crazy things that happen in this Bible.  I mean like ridiculous things.  A virgin had a kid.  People raising from the dead.  Some old guy building a massive boat and lived over 500 years.  Massive bodies of water splitting down the middle… I mean it takes someone pretty open minded to read all that and then go… Yup, I believe it.

I think it has less to do with how open our mind actually is and how well we actually articulate ourselves.  And more importantly, people care less about what you say and more about what you do.  So Christians, we must realize knowing Truth is only part of the game, but portraying Truth is the GOAL!  The gospel words without Gospel action is no gospel of Jesus.  And the Gospel action without the words of the Gospel is Christ-less, therefore HOPELESS and leads to nothing!

Last, Christian – are you open minded in your own faith?  Are you willing to read the Bible and accept what God is trying to tell you about who he is?  Or are you only willing to take parts of the Bible and implant what you want it to say about God and use those verses as your ammo?  I worry that men and women in my generation (including myself) that we look outside of the Bible to find who God is.  I worry that we read passages like Ephesians 1:4-6 and John 15:16 and say things like “I refuse to believe in a God like that!”  What if God’s moral compass of what is Good is more advance beyond your understanding?  I think that’s a legit possibility…

I think our open mindedness as believers has gotten mudded.  Let me be clear, when I say open minded, I mean open minded to the Bible and what the Scriptures tell us.  The problem is, we as Christians have taken the word open minded and replaced it with acceptance.  We say we are open minded to culture, but really we now accept things in culture that the Bible blatantly says – NO.

We are not God.  God is God.  He hasn’t messed up yet – I trust him.  We must let Him do His job and not predicate our assumptions on to what He says and declares about Himself.  I think we feel entitled to our assumptions because of our “freedom”.  But Paul is pretty clear when he is talking to his brothers and sisters in Christ about their assumptions of God:

“But who are you O man to talk back to God?  Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘why did you make it like this?’  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some pottery for a common use?” Romans 9:20-21

Let’s just take the Bible for what it is Christians…

Truth.

I coached swimming all through high school and two years in college.  I loved it.  I always oversaw the 4-8 year olds.  And in California these practices aren’t just “make sure they don’t die” type of practices, but these kids can MOVE!  

In college, I started coaching for a new team.  And there were these twin girls that won me over really fast!  They would always somehow find a way to get put in my lane for the day.  And good night were they cute!  And they knew it!  And they knew I knew it!  So, needless to say they did whatever they wanted.  

Here’s what I loved about those two, still to this day they remember things that I did for them during the summer.  Still to this day, they remember exact words and things that I said to them before races, or while babysitting them.  These girls are like sponges!  I know this because this family is so great and still calls me from time to time.  I’ll get text messages from their mother with pictures of the girls on Christmas, their birthday, and big swim meets!  I have not been their coach for years now…but they still remember me, care about me, and honestly love me.  I am the most undeserving of that – but man, will I take it!

Fast forward, and a week ago Emmy Jo and I hear three beautiful words from our doctor… IT’S A GIRL.

If I was honest, I wanted a girl.  I wanted a girl REAL BAD!  Why?  I don’t know, it just was what my heart desired.  But as I am preparing for the daunting task ahead of me of being a dad to my sweet girl that I get to meet in four months, the weight of her life looms from time to time.  What is to come of her life?

If I’m being transparent, I am scared.  At times terrified.  And yes, because I’m a first time parent, but more because of the reality of where the world is now.  Whether you call yourself a Christian or not, no one can deny that there is something WRONG HERE.  There is so much division, hate, utter disregard for other people, and just evil now.  And yes its always been here.  But now, it is right in our faces!

I’ve noticed that my heart has gotten so sensitive over the past six months.  I truly believe it’s the Holy Spirit shaping me for my daughter.  But, my heart breaks for the reality of what women see, feel, and are impressed on by the world today.  I hate that for my daughter!  I hate that for my wife!  I hate that for all the girls that are involved in K-Life!  

My personality and bent is always “fix it”.  So immediately, my first thoughts go to how Emmy Jo and I will make SURE that our daughter will be protected from these things.  And if I think long enough about it, I get to this point where I’ve convinced myself that because of Emmy Jo’s gifting, and my gifting – we are going to beat the system.  Our daughter will not only be fine, but thrive!  And wow, what a scary place I found myself in this past week.

I never want to be at a place where I think that I, Garrett, have overcome the world.  What arrogance!  My best and worst quality is my confidence – and it got the worst of me this week.  And now I’m at a place in life where my sin affects TWO people now(wife and daughter).  

it’s funny how one word can completely not only change a sentence, but change a heart.  Change a heart, change a life – right?  

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

There is so much in those two sentences for me:

1.  “In this world you will have trouble”

This is promised throughout Scripture.  I don’t why I can so quickly get away from this.  Probably because I spend too much time on my own plans for my family life, and not enough time in God’s plan for my life in the Word.  But I can’t control, hide, shelter, and avoid the fact that myself, Emmy Jo, and our daughter are going to have trouble on this side of Heaven.  It’s a truth.  And I don’t like that.  I don’t want to believe it – but its so true. This truth can drive me to endless sleepless nights.  But, Jesus told me how to counter this truth…

2. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.”

Peace.  What that heck!  I don’t meditate!  I hate quiet! How can me knowing that this world will bring me, my wife, and my child trouble bring me ANY SORT OF PEACE?  Therein lies the problem – I’m looking for peace in my situation, and in the world.  My peace, and ultimately my family’s peace is being sought after in the concept of “not having trouble”  Because, if we don’t have trouble, that will equate to happiness, joy, and ultimately comfort, right?  Jesus so brilliantly combated my thoughts with his sentences here and followed up peace with two powerful words: 

in me…

Scripture so eloquently states that IN CHRIST

I am faithful (Ephesians 1:1)

I am God’s child (John 1:12)

I have been justified (Romans 5:1)

I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15)

I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20)

I am a member of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 12:27)

The future peace of the Perkins family has so much less to do with me, Emmy Jo, and our daughter, and more to do with our belief, trust, and submitting to Jesus.  These promises are throughout Scripture.  These truths bring me peace!  They bring me joy!  I want these things for my daughter!  I love that these things have been promised to my wife!  There is a promise of struggle in this verse, but Jesus greater promise and ultimately remedy is always found IN HIM.

3. “Take heart! I have overcome the world.”

And this is the best news of it all!  My wife and I will not and cannot overcome the world.  There is too much ugliness, and evil here for us to just avoid all together.  We will fall and fall hard at times.  But Jesus tells us, instructs us, and probably commands us to TAKE HEART!  We are good, it’s going to be okay!  Why can I say that?  Because Jesus has overcome the world through the bloody means of the cross.  My wife and I know that.  We believe that – this is where our peace comes from.  It isn’t because I’m good, no but it’s because I’m bad and Jesus is PERFECT.  We cannot control our daughter life.  What we can do is this, proclaim like crazy that black and white truth to her from day one:

This world will not bring her joy, but only brokenness.  But Christ has offered a way to joy that surpasses everything this world has to offer – and it’s Him, and He’s worth it!  

I’m learning…I hate that I don’t have control of my daughters’ future.  But I love that I know who does!  That brings me peace.  Because if it were up to me, she’d run for the hills.  

Hadley Jo – you are and will always be loved by me, that’s a promise.  Here’s another promise: You are already more loved by Jesus!  

It’s a girl