This is not your average Christian blog.
The title for one. I am not going to call myself a saint. I am not going to even attempt to be cute. At this point I want to strip down the titles to what I feel like much of the time - a failure.
In truth, most days I do not feel inspirational. I do not feel like the cute posters with nice platitudes on the bottom. I appreciate that this works for some people. For me though the truth is that I feel like a crappy Christian.
I think it's important to know a few things in this moment.
1. I'm not alone.
2. It is okay to feel this way.
What Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:18-33 is the expansion of our mission statement:
"Let me come back to where I started—and don't hold it against me if I continue to sound a little foolish. Or if you'd rather, just accept that I am a fool and let me rant on a little. I didn't learn this kind of talk from Christ. Oh, no, it's a bad habit I picked up from the three-ring preachers that are so popular these days. Since you sit there in the judgment seat observing all these shenanigans, you can afford to humor an occasional fool who happens along. You have such admirable tolerance for impostors who rob your freedom, rip you off, steal you blind, put you down—even slap your face! I shouldn't admit it to you, but our stomachs aren't strong enough to tolerate that kind of stuff.
Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much (remember, this is your old friend, the fool, talking), let me try my hand at it. Do they brag of being Hebrews, Israelites, the pure race of Abraham? I'm their match. Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can't believe I'm saying these things. It's crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I'm going to finish.)
I've worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death's door time after time. I've been flogged five times with the Jews' thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I've been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I've had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I've been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I've known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.
And that's not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut.
If I have to "brag" about myself, I'll brag about the humiliations that make me like Jesus. The eternal and blessed God and Father of our Master Jesus knows I'm not lying."
The other part of being a Christian, is struggling with Christian life. Struggling with the issues of faith, doubt, church, and such. So this blog will document my life, my failures and my love/hate relationship with the church as well. (It's hard to have people as representatives of God, right?)
Feel free to interact with me as I crash through this obstacle course. But keep in mind that respect is expected, and our mission is stated under the title of the blog. We are a Christian blog, and while debate is encouraged, I reserve the right to remove anything hateful or profane.