Sep 9, 2005

behind the door

Sometimes it stinks to look behind the door.

I remember as a kid when I met Snoopy (at least, a guy in a Snoopy suit) at a Butternut Bread outlet store. I shook his hand and hugged him, then went into the store to try to score a sweet deal on some Hostess Fruit Pies.

(For those of you who don't know about these and think Krispy Kream is all that and a bag of glaze, you really need to get your hands on some of these original crusty, flaky, goopy treats. If you play life safe, go with the Apple or Peach flavors. But if you want to live in the danger zone, dare to consume Cherry or Blueberry. Some argue that Lemon is a waste of space, but then again... we are talking about a dessert that literally meets 115 percent of your daily allowance of sugar.)

On this particular summer day, it was quite hot. As I was enjoying the air conditioning of the store, "Snoopy" came in from working the corner outside and went into a back room.

"At last!" I thought. "I don't have to share him with any of the other kids." And so I snuck over and opened the door...

Peering to the left, I saw Snoopy in front of a tool bench. Just as I was about to say "hi," I saw him reach for his head.

GASP!

He took it off!!!! Not only was this freaky to witness, but underneath was some sweaty guy who looked like Napoleon Dynamite (it was the 70's, okay?). The guy started wiping his brow and drank a large glass of water. He was probably dehydrated from wearing company propoganda, but this one simple act stole some of the magic of childhood.

Sometimes it stinks to look behind the door.
  • I remember the first time I heard my parents argue...
  • or the first girl who led me on (and then I found out about it)...
  • or the first time I realized what "special effects" were...
  • or the first time a friend stabbed me in the back...
  • or the first time I realized that whole Santa thing...
  • or the first time I realized that the Church is made up of imperfect people...
  • or the first time I realized that I'm one of those imperfect people.

In such moments it's easy to want to shut the door and walk away, pretending that you didn't see what you just saw. The only problem is that we did see it... and it won't go away.

It's like that moment in
The Matrix when Cypher is making a deal with Agent Smith to go back into the matrix.

    You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? [Takes a bite of steak] Ignorance is bliss.
I've learned this - seeing what's behind the door gives you a choice to either grow up or act like a baby. That day at the Butternut Bread outlet store, I think I grew up a little bit. Not because I'm smart, but because I chose to accept what I had seen and integrate it into my life.

Sometimes when I've looked behind the door, though, I haven't liked it. And I turned into a whiner... and became self-centered... and tried to get the world to revolve around my paradigm.

Like a baby.

How amazing it is that our God says, "Come near to me and I will come near to you." He isn't afraid for us to see Him more closely... for there are no masks when it comes to Him. He wants to expand our world...

So that instead of assuming if we do nice things for God that we'll have a nice life, He reminds us of
how John the Baptist ended up.

And instead of believing that this world is good, He reminds us that it's broken and
engaged in war. So when we have a bad day, that's actually what we should expect - when we have a good day, that's a rare glimpse into how the Real World works (that Christ-followers will one day see).

The good news, then, is that the door God is offering gives us the same choice... will we turn the knob and grow over to the other side? Or will we run away and stay spiritual infants if we don't like the weight of what we see?

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrew 5:11-14)

7 comments:

Royal said...

Unfortunately, it is easier to stay immature because it takes nothing.

Most Christ-followers spend all of there time trying to figure out how far they can go over to the dark side and still consider themselves in the light. While others spend all of their time in the huddle (studying the playbook and feeling good that they know the playes and otehrs don't)

Paul is saying, stop studying the book and run te plays. And the more you run the basic plays the more you will be ready to step up and run the more complex plays and the audibles.

It's late and I just got home from a High School football game. Thus the football analogy. We lost.

But I was proud of the kids for running the plays whether they ran them perfect or not. They got out of the huddle and left it all on the field.

Tony Myles said...

Wow... I hope that is said of me. That I ran the plays whether ran them perfect or not.

Suh-weet!

lee said...

nothing like tryin' to unsee what we know we truly saw...

i've been dealing w/this very thing lately...

i keep thinkin' to myself how much easier it was when i measured my obedience by the number of things/programs/whatever that i attended/taught/whatever @ the church building...

fortunately/unfortunately, God dropped the scales from my eyes & i've had to re-evaluate pretty much everything in my life...

i'm not the same person that i was or thought that i was going to be & i can say quite confidently that it's the best thing that ever happened to me...

so this is what a transformational mind looks like...hunh...?

scary suh-weet!

PNoel said...

You discribe this wonderfully, I think of it as one of those appocalyptic movies from the 80's, the world has ended we know it and there are just a handful of people left, they are standing on some hilltop looking at the surise, there is nothing left behind to go to, and the future is now radically differant than they ever expected it to be, but what option is there but to move forward. Sit and die or move forward! yet, it the step forward there is hope and resolve to venture forth into the unknown and meet God

Lars said...

i think you've hit on a very big part of what it means to 'grow up' from childhood to adulthood.
it's like in the wizard of oz, when the wizard is just a guy behind a curtain. it forces you to grow up, realize things are what they really are, it's not magic, it's not larger than life.
the disillusionment never happens for some people - they always think there's no one in the snoopy suit - it's what makes moviestars and rockstars and sportsstars rich - so many people think they're better than us, they're superhuman... when they go home at night they take off the suit and they're a normal person just like anyone else.
You're right, refusing to acknowledge this is painful.
It takes away a part of our fantasy that is so wonderful to indulge in. It's just a little bit painful watching the curtain tear back and someone says to us, like Morpheus says to Neo in the Matrix, "Welcome to the desert of the real."

kayla said...

I don't want to look behind the door! I realize that we aren't perfect...but that doesn't mean I want to see it. I know, I know..."Come on Wayne...live in the now". But the now kind of stinks too.

Tanner Ridge said...

One of the problems of the church I've witnessed is that the leaders are afraid to open the door themselves to show the sheep (their flock) their short comings. They would rather put on a false front then to have the truth of their short comings be known. So when one of the sheep accidently opens a door and finds fault, they end up questioning the church as a whole. They end up themselves having to keep quiet and not let the truth come out for fear of damaging the weaker brothers faith the chance of hurting or splitting a church. So the lies can continue to keep the peace. Meanwhile, that poor sheep quietly goes his own way looking for different shepard.