Dog Bones, Dysfunctional Families, and Foundations


It seems to me that every day there is a new battle over old doctrine! Like a dog with a bone, no regard is paid to whether there is any value to that which we cling so tightly – just that someone tossed it to us! I am certain that much of what I believe and am learning is not complete – and very well may even be wrong – but I hold to the notion that it is better to be wrong and learning than to be right and have never learned. Is this wrongheaded? I am not sure. I believe the Text supports this notion as the great men and women of our faith are captured for all of history in the pages of our most Sacred Text with their proverbial (and often literal) pants around their ankles.

A battle rages on within the church for certainty – ironically we call this sought after certainty “Faith.” I’m not sure how we marry these mindsets, but much like the detached and uninterested family center in our culture we feel at home with the dysfunction of faith and certainty as our illegitimate parents. Parents raising a child lost in shuffle of appeasing one without upsetting the other: this is the church.

When fighting to return the family of G_d to a more healthy relationship we are often faced with the opposition of those not wanting to give up the dysfunction – the dysfunction that has become home and comfortable…anything that challenges what is known – even if it is a call for more and better – becomes the enemy. A home wrecker!

We forget the importance of checking the foundation – peeling back different layers and top soil to ensure that it is good and stable. When we find that some of the foundation is cracked or bad, we shouldn’t assume that the entirety needs replaced in the same way that we can’t be sure that the entire foundation is safe by only looking at one or two things. Pulling away the soil is difficult work and sometimes it is done just to see that everything is fine! Isn’t it better to check than to hope that all is well with that which we are building upon?

To tell someone that they should consider ongoing preventative maintenance on their goods does not get as great of a result as the immediacy of response when said thing becomes broken or destroyed…then the pieces seem too many and the hope of rebuilding seems too great. If we’d only be a people that didn’t like to drink the cocktail of certainty and faith…rather we’d recognize it as the Molotov that it is…explosive and dangerous, destructive and violent, arrogant and belligerent.

We need to be a people that embraces uncertainty and align that with our Faith…investigate our foundations – celebrating when they are good and strong, swiftly moving when discovered to be shaky and deteriorating. We need those who are willing to pull back the soil and reveal our foundations…to question their strength…to encourage their maintenance…to help where needed.

5 thoughts on “Dog Bones, Dysfunctional Families, and Foundations

  1. This morning the pastor of the church Jette and I started attending was talking about the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Talking about the conversation or arguments rather, between them and the Jews and which mountain on which to worship. All this to say, Jesus plays an active but critical participant within Judaism yet He points out that YHWH isn’t conserved about where the worship happens, but that it is happening.

    So maybe we should be more thankful that people are worshiping, and not worried about the mountain of which they are on?

    1. The lesson I attempt to teach my son, day in and day out, is that it is (most often) better to be nice than right. In our insatiable need to be right we begin to fight over mountain tops. Ironically, as Jesus points out, there will be a day when it doesn’t even matter! How many of those things (the ones that won’t matter) are precluding others from worshiping all together.

      Great thoughts George…thanks

  2. Kim Warner

    Awesome article. I must admit I was finding myself caught up in this tornado of dysfunction recently. I felt I needed to defend “my” beliefs to people who were throwing stones all over other people’s beliefs and I now wish I would of taken the “nice route” instead of the “right route” (which is an illusion) Judgement is a tricky term just when you feel you are looking at the judgers you see G-d is looking right at you while you are judging them. I loved this article and will have to share it. Have a great day!

  3. I was talking with my pastor the other morning, and at one point I said to him, “It sounds like you would rather have to defend yourself [to G-d] about extended grace when you weren’t ‘supposed’ to than to defend yourself for bringing judgment when you weren’t supposed to.” I think that’s another way of saying it’s most often better to be nice than right.

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