Is Real really the new Black?

Here it is four days after hearing a Sunday sermon and reading a couple associated blogs and I’m still thinking about each of them. That’s got to be some kind of record for me. I’m conflicted as to whether I agree or disagree with the message(s). Perhaps that’s because I’m post-“The Best Generation” and pre-all of the other generations the messages referenced. I left the old Black behind thirty some years ago and have never looked back. I like sunset orange and lavender and sky blue and canary yellow, anything that conveys life and joy. Another thing I left behind years ago was formal wear – the other day I thought a necktie would be appropriate for my mother-in-law’s memorial service and had a hard time recalling how to tie a half-Windsor.

The message(s) made much of the fact that the Bible is not adverse to exposing the “real” life frailties of its characters. While the point is accurate, I’m not sure I “connect” with Paul precisely because he once murdered Christians and struggled with sin; rather I connect because he spent the last half of his life doing everything within his power to make up for his prior errors and inadequacies, including foregoing all payment for his ministerial services, though Biblically he was entitled to it.

When I first committed to Christ I served as secretary of the Macomb chapter of FGBMFI, making me responsible for lining up speakers. Every speaker had a dramatic testimony of a horrendous past life changed by the power of God. The hundreds of people that came to hear these speakers each month I don’t believe were moved by the “reality” of a former life as a Grand-Wizard for the Ku Klux Klan! I believe they were impacted by the power of God that changed him into the man who was now ministering to and feeding the hungry on racially diverse inner-city streets.

Though I know every family has its share of hurts and struggles, I personally enjoy seeing their beautifully manufactured FaceBook pictures. The Bible says think about good and pleasant things for a reason. Focusing on a brighter future instead of a painful present helps one to heal. Sharing the “real” is necessary in a counseling session – not necessarily in day-to-day interactions with our neighbors, or even with our church family. Seeing and speaking what “can be” with God’s grace is the primary path to freedom.

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