A minister friend of ours, now gone to Heaven, had an interesting view of things.  He was tight with money.  He once went to a card shop with his wife, picked out a card and showed it to her, then returned it to the shelf.  “That”, he told her, “is our anniversary card”.

He also mentioned that no matter what he did for our church school, no matter how much money he donated, they would never name a building after him.  Our friend, the late Rev. Wesley Poole, just couldn’t imagine a Nazarene college with a Poole Hall.

That’s funny and accurate.  I am thankful for the Church of the Nazarene (this one in particular) and MVNC (now a university) for getting me headed on the right path (I’m talking about institutions, not parents).  But I’m also happy that I am not a part of that denomination anymore.  I’m sure that if I had stayed with it longer I’d have a different view.  I’m sure that if I were a different person, my life would be different now (ya think?).  And the church has probably changed beyond what I knew about.  The doctrine of Christian perfection that I learned was (from my perspective) more about grading results than getting closer to God.  A 99% pass rate means you miss Heaven – no imperfections allowed.

Again, this is all from my personal view.  I’m not condemning the church or individual ministers or Sunday School teachers, or even the group of them combined, or any subset thereof.  This may be solely a problem with the way I received and processed scripture and sermons.

I am glad that God has let me live for fifty years (today, thank you) and grow to see that He wants a relationship with us – with me personally.  Yesterday our minister preached on the Call 2 Fall, and closed with a corporate prayer time for confession to God and connection to God.  He (God, not the minister) is a loving and jealous God who knows our frailties – and loves us anyway.  His love is not performance-based, and as I understand better how to live that out in the world and in my church and in my marriage, I am growing closer to Him.  I rather think that He likes that.

Now off to Chi-nnati’s for some local deep dish pizza, and a Chocolate Wave for dessert.