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Many things to many people and a thorn in our side.

Updated on September 18, 2013

Life's roads are often not straight and not level

There is a reason in for the notion of ftattening mountains and filling valleys in the Christian faith.
There is a reason in for the notion of ftattening mountains and filling valleys in the Christian faith. | Source

There was this preacher man named Paul.

He was charged with bringing a notion and belief to people of such varying cultures that the task seemed impossible for a man. Trying to be all things or many things to all or to many is like a self imposed schizophrenia it is a true thorn in ones flesh of course our mind being of flesh. (you could go to about here to see the biblical sense of what I am talking about 1 Corinthians 9:10-27 and about the thorn here:2 Corinthians 12 especially 7-10)

And so it is I tell of another preacher man more contemporary. Oh of course not of any caliber or divinity as Paul. But charged with the same duty to spread the word. Offer up encouragement. Admit to shortcomings. Publicly confess his sins. Adapt and even adopt cultures so that he may speak as one of them and not some interloper who cares only too count like trophies converts. As with Paul he faces detractors from all sides and yet must stand fast to foster conciliation between all men.

It is nice and comfy to say the right path is straight and narrow.

And well it should be for one of faith. But that does not mean we have a right to make everyone stay on our path. Each mans path is a little bit different or a whole lot different. There are no freeways in faith. If you find your self in freeway traffic in your walk in life, take the next exit and find your way on the side streets. Faith does not work in a "herd" mentality.

This metaphor of a narrow straight path is meant as a personal relationship and choices one makes not that we are all on the same one.

And here is where our preacher man comes in. Like Paul, his calling is multicultural and multi-theological and multi-dogmatic. Or perhaps better looked at as lacking all three.

Let me end this section with a parable: One man is father to 4 children two girls and two boys, obviously varying in age and development. For the most part he has taught judgment or right choices rather than strict rules that must be followed. In essence he has taught them free will with discernment. Each child and different stages discerns differently and each child at the same age discerns differently. Clearly to aid in judgment of the different children and at the different stages the father must use different approaches, methods and temperament.

So with this in mind how is our contemporary preacher to act toward those he serves. Which is every one?

I use this song in conjunction with the picture below, and it kind of tells a story.

Would you believe this man has a doctorate, has dug ditches for living, and once practice law and was a CEO? Has lived in four countries on four continents.

He is also father of four and a preacher and a teacher. Probably his favorite job was as a river runner on the Colorado
He is also father of four and a preacher and a teacher. Probably his favorite job was as a river runner on the Colorado | Source

It takes someone who has walked many paths to relate to those all walking different ones.

When a preacher man has walked so many paths his ability to empathize and not judge is greatly enhanced. And in that he is able to relate to wide varieties of people. And therefor he can speak in many methods and styles in order to reach the audience he is preaching to at the time.

Our Paul has 13 epistles attributed generally to him. Computers analyzing writing style narrow it to probably 7. And I am quite certain he collaborated with his lesser disciples who spent more time in an area than he when writing some. And I am sure, I mean one hundred percent sure that like many authors right here on Hubpages he could switch style and verbiage to reach different audiences so I put little countenance on computers and those who think Paul conformed to one style when speaking with Romans or with Ephesians.

Can you relate to different ethnicities?

Do you ever hang out with totally different cultures than your own

See results

Do you pick friends based on similar beliefs?

Do you think that it is a compromise of your principles to hang out with those of different principles

See results

Our Preacher Man's Platonic Apology

Our Preacher man has deep convictions of his faith. Almost every conservative Christian value you come up with is in his faith. His belief in the Trinity is unyielding. His devotion and study of the Holy Bible scriptures is unquenchable. He attends services "religiously". Though he does not talk in quotations those who know him know that he knows his Bible and can do so. He reads the gospel to a congregation almost every week.

However he does not demand of others to follow a dogma or religious affiliation. He is tolerant of other views but he must constantly fight with religiosity as Paul had to fight with Peter to get Gentiles accepted even though they were not "under the law". His justification is that it is his calling not to preach to the choir or to bring others under the law. But to teach the Gospel of Love. To accept and be all things to all people not just to those that quote law and require obedience to their dogma.

So many will find fault and criticize the "broadening" of the road when they themselves are simply cruising down the freeway and not choosing their own path. These are the 99 sheep that stay with the flock. But for the preacher man he must go and find the one that is lost by traveling into areas unfamiliar and often unfriendly. But there is great rejoicing when that lost sheep is brought back in Love.

So the Preacher man will leave the flock and be criticized for not watching over the 99 and he might not even find the lost sheep, the wolves might eat it first. And it is not the Preacher mans job to bring the lost sheep into the herd but to keep it safe and let it know that it too is loved.

So as is the Author's want let me conclude with some thoughts

Of what merit is there to teach to a student that already knows

If we believe that the Bible is exact and everyone must act a certain way - there is no free will

If a man walks into a church and listens that is good usually, if he takes a walk with friend and listens that is better.

Cultural traditions do not interfere with faith and belief. If faith and belief interfere with cultural traditions that is what gives Religion a bad name.

If Religion is part of a culture that is more akin to legend and superstition, for each man's religion must be his own.

America has it right "church" and state must remain independent of each other. However it is good that we constantly debate the limits of tolerance and cooperation and restriction.


Are we to deny followers of this man our love?

A man of different faith is no less my neighbor
A man of different faith is no less my neighbor | Source

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm right with you buddy. There is too much richness in the thoughts and beliefs of others, and people fascinate me. I want to learn as much as possible in the time I have left.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well Mr. Holland, Learning by experience is great and the best. But I got to tell each morning I learn more about how to learn from you. This one here is a home run in the 9th.: https://hubpages.com/literature/Writing-Exercises-...

    • profile image

      graceinus 3 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      Eric- there are times when we can learn from someone who is a thorn. Jesus Christ was a thorn to many and God bless Him for it.

      Enjoyed the Hub my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Grace in us, Amen to that!!

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 3 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      wow. will have to read this again ..my friend ..

      I think I know, therefore ..I am still pondering, what I am thinking ..

      I better not say more I will only confuse myself .. I believe that what I believe is true, but logical conclusion examines the odds of whether I doubt my self . or fuly believe. will have to go back to your "Doubting Thomas write ..!! LOL Thanks for the mind stimulation.!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You my friend are a preacher man whether you want to be or not. The best preacher is the one that leads us to examine ourselves and our world and look for answers or more questions. If we do this and truly believe what we believe is good and true -- so will eventually those we have lead to examine. And you are a master at that.

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 3 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      I have often thought about trying to lead others to think deeper than their mind allows them .. but have been stymied by my past transgressions .. I often felt betrayed by having to listen to other (so called ) professionals... that tried to tell me how to stop abusing drugs, when they have never done drugs ..Themselves.. this was the reality that caused me to do it myself by examining and strengthening my own will power ..using my faith to see, that there was a higher power who would help me and guide me when I am weak .. as all human beings are, giving me the mindset that... my own free will , controlled my mind not the rigors of human frailties which cane be overcome .. with the Lords help.

      I used to be very strong and thought that I could never succumb to these frailties .. although abuse was a trait in my family, but when I fell into my own trap of pride and arrogance .. I was then in denial .. which most substance abusers can not get past ! that is the reality of substance abuse...denial, you refuse to believe you have a problem .. there fore pride, arrogance and ego .. are your own downfall .. this is why I am humble when people tell me how great my writing is ... I will not fall again.. with the lord by me reminding me abourt the first time I fell into my own trap .!

      thanks for listening.

      Michael

    • hfortinberry profile image

      H.B. Fortinberry 3 years ago from Connecticut

      There is so much here Eric...each thought bursting forth with rivers which run deep. With consideration of the topic of paths, as well as everything else actually, it might be worthwhile to consider physics. Every thought that we entertain may be understood according as electrodynamics, with each singular thought as an electron. Concerning the narrow versus broad paths spoken of in the Bible, these may be simply understood according to narrow versus broad band frequencies, with God Himself, as White light at the end of the most narrow of band frequencies, serving Mankind with what He is: Love.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Michael, let me preface this by saying Pride in oneself is wrongful. Pride in ones accomplishments is worthy. Think this way; However you would picture God, God would not be sinful or God would not be God. But I gaurandanged well tell you God is proud of His creation in you. (I know some antagonistic atheists - who would argue that)

      But my point is that if we do not think we operate all on our own then we should take some measure of pride in doing things that we believe would please our notion of God.

      So I can praise you, because your work fits my concept of what would make my heavenly Father proud of you. Yes you remain humble by giving the glory over to who helped you.

      If the addict of anything buries himself to far in humility he runs the risk of such low self esteem that he thinks he can do no good works which would be honorable and then what is the use of sobriety.

      Just my thoughts on it. (hey I am so bad I could get addicted to HP ;-)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      hfortinberry, I think you can run with this further. The miracle of a thousand thoughts per second. And then our choice to bring/funnel them collectively and filter them through love. Which then adds to the white light that is Love in everyone which is God. I believe that energy is reciprocal and creates a synergism. There is some phrase I think in Romans around 6 that talks about that same power being in all of us - that is in God. Our knowledge of energy is just beginning, I think we will find that the energy of love is far more empirical than we now think.

    • hfortinberry profile image

      H.B. Fortinberry 3 years ago from Connecticut

      Absolutely! I have spent the last four years absorbed in things I never had a clue about and have been able, through the Lord providing me with visions, knowledge, and understanding, to delineate and communicate the bridges between science and the Word of God. The book will be out soon: "Logics of the Kingdom." Have a great night.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I look forward to it!

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 3 years ago from Borik√©n the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Hello Eric, your hubs almost always will bring a scripture to my mind. It is written in Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      "There are no freeways in faith." Amen, preacher. Each must find his own narrow path.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lastheart --- Isn't that so cool!! And if we combine that with 'he who is last is first' and 'be a servant to all' Oh mano oh mano you can just feel the love, it is palpable. You just gave me a huge compliment. For if I teach I may teach certain scripture, but if I preach it is my hearts desire that you find the scripture that works for you.

      And for us writers, if we view our writing in such a way as to be equal with the reader and to serve a higher purpose --- That is sweetness.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      MsDora, here is a really cool thing about that path. I now see work that must be done and service that must be performed and focus on Jesus. Perhaps that path is really wide but with my eye on the prize Jesus I only can see the one foot in front of the other.

    • hfortinberry profile image

      H.B. Fortinberry 3 years ago from Connecticut

      I recceived a vision of how the body of Christ was configured a while back. All of us are uniquely created to fulfill a particular office that no one else can fill. It's like a puzzle comprised of 250, 500, or 1000 puzzle pieces, that will be incomplete until all come to the fullness of who they have been designed to be and placed in their particular slot. The full image of Christ therefore depends upon each individual's obedience to their own specific calling.

      The problem has been that there is judgment and jealousy between people, with everyone trying to copy everyone else, etc, so that very few are truly listening to the Spirit of God and discerning their uniqueness as vital for the completion of the body of Christ.

      Now in response to LastHeart's comment about Galatians 3:28, it's important to realize that we are all one only when we are obedient to the specific calling of God on our lives, and are fulfilling the different role and office that has been preordained for us to follow.

      In addition, as one body has many members that each functions differently, every member can only help itself by helping the other members fulfill their own roles and services. For instance, the foot requires the hand to help it "clothe" itself with a shoe...

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