Oxen in the Stall
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”
Debbie pointed out a thought-provoking blog post from old frienda who note why Christian community is inherently messy making reference to the quote from Proverbs above. Glenn and Phyllis wrote an entry Oxen in the Stall for their blog Kingdom Come!
If our goal in ministry is neat, clean, orderly lives, forget it. Ministry is about living in the mess and understanding that the oxen – the people we have around us – are both the producers of the dirty stall as well as the harvest.They go on to point out that "There are no really good people, the potential for greatness is in us all, but marred by the propensity to sin and fall short, and there are no really good functional families."
I think about this as I work with people. And that’s what I do – and have done all my life – I work with people. Mostly, people with grand ideas but no experience, or money or connections. People with tons of baggage from bad families, from bad relationships, from substance abuse, from people abuse. People who bring loads of poop from other lives, other relationships, other ways of living. These are the folks who mess up the stall.
But these are the people who also will bring in the harvest.
I get tired of using the shovel to work with people to clean the stalls. I grow weak and weary. I’m looking for people who have it all together – cool people with perfect lives! Who don’t need a lot of fix-up. As my friend Larry Nunnally says, “I’m looking for a better class of sinner.” I’m looking for people who are ok when you find them.
The full text of their reflection is online here: Oxen in the Stall. As we really aren't looking for a better class of sinner, the stall will get messy at times. That's OK, as if they started to throw out the really stinky folks, I'd be the first to go and you'd be right behind me, gentle readers. ;-)
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor