Archive for November, 2007

Eat My Dust!

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Acts 18:1-17 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

Midway through today’s scripture, Paul is opposed and reviled by the Jews in Corinth. What is his response? To shake the dust off his clothes and basically tell them, “You’re on your own from now on.” Elsewhere in the New Testament, we see people shaking the dust off their shoes when a place doesn’t want to hear the good news they are preaching,

One of my duties as a Church office volunteer is to answer email that comes to the office. We sometimes get email from people telling us that our Church is wrong/we are all going to hell/we are abominations, etc. These are, more often than not, just a few sentences typed in ALL CAPS with no punctuation.

However, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a woman who was questioning our interpretation of a particular scripture. While she was clearly against our stand on gays being able to be true followers of Jesus, something about her letter made me want to respond with more than our typical “thank you for your opinion/ we see things differently/ here is a link to what we believe” response. What began was a dialogue that would eventually involve many emails back and forth where she would quote a scripture and say “see, God smote Sodom because everyone there was Gay”, and I would respond with points and evidence that these things are different than she is interpreting.

After many emails, she asked me why I chose to be gay. I could hardly believe that someone in this day and age would still think that people just get up one morning and decide to start being gay. I explained to her that it wasn’t a choice, and in fact I had spent the first half of my life trying to become straight, but it just wasn’t possible. She was not to be convinced, and claimed that God made me to marry a woman and have children. Nothing I said would convince her otherwise. I finally had to tell her I couldn’t email her anymore. I couldn’t make her understand what was so obvious to me, and her emails and my responses were taking up a lot of the time I needed to do other things at the Church. In essence, I had to shake the dust off and leave.

I think as disciples of Christ, we need to be prepared to encounter these “no win” situations. We will encounter people who will reject the good news of Jesus, no matter what we say or do. Maybe it just isn’t their time to understand. Maybe they are so hardened that they never will. But we have to know when we are wasting our time so we can move on to something productive. We must be prepared to “lose a few” and not let it affect us in a way that would make us stop doing the work of Jesus. Otherwise, Satan has won.

Thought and prayer for the day: God, help me to not get derailed by those who are against me and my efforts to be like Jesus. Help me to know when it is time to move on, and help me then to just let it go, so it will not keep me from doing Your will and being like Jesus to others.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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