It’s been one week since my first post on this blog. It was about me (selfish bugger, ain’t I?), an introduction if you will, to myself. Today I give you an introduction to the blog itself.
The short answer is found in the song from which this blog gets its name, Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns. If you’ve never heard it, or you just want to watch it again you can see it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2HsLAxs1xs&feature=related Really, I suggest you watch it even if you’ve heard it a thousand times. It’s an amazing video by the youth at 4:12.
The longer answer… Consider for a moment the words of that song. Look at the person they describe. It’s your neighbor in the pew, your worship leader, your family. It’s you.
Have you failed? Have you fallen? Do you struggle daily against a temptation that no one even knows you have?
And what of Sunday? We tuck it away, hoping that no one will ever discover ‘the truth behind the person you imagine me to be.’ The alter becomes a stage, and we hide every struggle behind fake smiles.
“How are you doing, Sean?”
“Pretty good, Bill.” Bill isn’t even listening anymore. It was just a greeting, like a basic ‘hello.’ But if he were, he wouldn’t here the truth. This morning I was having the same struggle I’ve fought for six years. And dare I tell a soul?
When I take a look around, everyone else has it under control. The few who don’t, look at me as a leader. I’ve been ‘the Christian’ since I was 6. How can I tell them that I’m really just human?
Taylor Swift, a country singer(yeah, I know, I listen to a bit of non-Christian music), puts it like this in Tied Together With A Smile: “you cry, but you don't tell anyone that you might not be the golden one. And your tied together with a smile
but your coming undone.”
I’ve heard it said “secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone.” These secrets always hurt someone, and it’s always you.
God knows we can’t stand on our own. He’s won every victory for us. He has the power for us to withstand, to overcome but the strength of will... He can’t give us that. It’d be taking away our choice. Alone our will is so easy to wear away, like sand.
But we can’t really have fellowship with each other, can’t share that strength, when we don’t have problems, when we’re just happy plastic people, with towering walls of stained glass hiding every fault. When we don’t even know the other person, how can we possibly have real fellowship with them?
I have a number of friends. Some are in my youth group; some are in some other Bible studies I go to. A number of the friends from youth group have spent more than one night at my house, with my sister and I. We’ve spent nights talking about our lives, our pasts, our troubles, our struggles. In the wee hours of the morning it is slightly easier to share, possibly because the rational part of your mind is getting sleepy. I don’t know, but off topic.
But bible study on Friday nights, our ‘home fellowship’ group... we’re friends. Just friends. One of my friends there, I’ve known longer than all but one of the members of my youth group. And, through no fault of his own, I am, in a way, so much closer to them, than him. Why?
Because of openness. With him I always have a part of me that I hide, and to avoid that part, I have to avoid others. One secret and I’ve suddenly hidden so much of me, that I must become something to fill the missing parts. So I become ‘the Christian.’ Who knows, if they believe it enough, I might too.
But there’s a better way. A way to true fellowship. A way that God himself calls us to*. A way that while it requires us to ‘Do Hard Things,’** like sharing our failures, is the only way to a life that’s free, and a life that’s ready for the amazing things God has prepared for us, as we work together with our fellow believers, in fellowship with them.
Sure it’s scary. Shame, fear of rejection, anger, regret, wounds, worry that we’ve already missed it, all the things on the shirts in those videos… they hinder us; they hold us up. They’re the way Satan tries to keep us from that life.
But I’ve seen a life without it. And I remember being a child, before I started carrying my own secrets. If it’s the hardest thing you ever do, it’s worth it. There may be those who shrink away from you for your openness, or for your sin, but others will embrace you for your courage and your humility. And as you strip away secrets together, you become an army, standing together, firm against whatever comes your way.
Cause temptations will come. And we cannot face them alone.
* This was supposed to just be a brief overview of the purpose of this blog, it got quite a bit longer. I’ll (Lord willing) be looking at the scriptural background for this life next time, which may or may not be in a week.** Do Hard Things is an awesome and amazing book, by Alex and Brett Harris. It, along with the song Stained Glass Masquerade and about 200 lessons on being open, provided me with most of the motivation and encouragement to start this blog. Well, my life, and the 200 lessons prompted the desire for openness. The book and the song prompted the motivation and encouragement to share it like this. Thanks to both of you.
PS: For some reason my first entry was at 1:00 in the morning Central time. For an even odder reason I feel compelled to keep to that time. So here it is at 1:00 though I finished it about 11:15(automatic delayed postage is excellent). If I start doing it on other days I might possibly go to a more reasonable hour of the day, or at least midnight, so it's got some logic to it.