Friday, September 18, 2020

Jesus Experts

There are many rules in this internet era.  Don't read the comments.  Don't ever search for anything without Safesearch on.  Do not click on a link in an email that claims to be from your credit card company.

To those, as we all know, is added this: do not ever use the internet to diagnose yourself.  Oh, it can be great for troubleshooting an issue around the house, or for figuring out how to fix something.  But when it comes to your own body, nevereverever go online to figure out what that ache, twinge, or throb might be.

Because even if the information is there, if you're not an expert, you can go way off the reservation.  You don't know how to interpret what you're seeing, don't know how to bring in other relevant information, and don't know how to assess the likelihood of a particular outcome.  Whenever I've attempted to diagnose myself, I have a nearly 100% track record of being wrong.

I mean, yes, we all do want to be good at everything, but we aren't.  There are certain things other human beings know that we do not.  I may regularly garden, for example, but a master gardener I am not.  I am constantly learning from and being informed by folks who know seed and soil better than I.  I can do the most basic motorcycle maintenance, but when things get more technical I know...from experience...that I'm better off trusting the heavily tatted mechanics who are less likely to render my bike unrideable.  I can do some basic home rewiring, but when things get complicated, I'd rather call an electrician than burn my house down.

Similarly, I'm more likely to trust a doctor who's been to medical school, or a nurse who's gotten similar training.  They know what they're looking at, in ways that I really don't. I've learned to give my trust only to folks who genuinely have a clue.  

Is this true for our journey with Jesus?  Are there folks who are experts, in ways that we are not?  That's a little tougher to say, because the metric is a little different.  How do you know when someone's take on the faith is Spirit-filled, and when it's just them lining their pockets, padding their egos, or serving the purposes of power?

I look to the saints, honestly.  Meaning, not necessarily the saints of the ancient faith, although they're worth knowing.  I look to the saints around us, the folks who show the fruits of a deeply authentic walk with Jesus.  They're the ones showing grace, offering up forbearance, giving comfort.  They show hospitality to the stranger, and serve those in need.

They don't tend to be the loudest or most aggressive folks.  They don't seem to need you to agree with them, or pressure you to parrot everything they say.  They make no claim to perfection.  They aren't trying to sell you something.  They just do the Jesus thing, day after day.  

You might have to slow down a bit, and listen for them.  

It's worth doing, as we seek to build up our souls.