The Myth of the Neat Little Boxes

April 24, 2012
by Associate Editor

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“For the life of the flesh is in the blood….” (Lev. 17:11) The essence of human life is “in the blood.” As we all know from the flood of crime shows centering around CSI team techniques, the modern science of DNA analysis confirms and provides more context to the divine revelation Moses scribed thousands of years ago. The elements comprising life, including human life, are “in the blood.” As the Word of God so often signifies metaphorically, spiritual life is also in the Blood—the Blood of Christ!

In this article the author makes a metaphorical comparison about genuine faith that is obvious, when so stated, yet often not understood or overlooked in practical application. Faith is like the blood of life in every living being. All living beings have blood, which in the context of Moses’ words, is certainly no accident or coincidence, rather living beings are alive and living precisely because they have blood, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Blood is liquid, and thus fluid, meaning it flows. In fact, the fluidity or flowing nature of blood is intrinsic to it being “life.” When blood stops flowing, death ensues, or is an indicator of the occurrence of death. So also, as the article author indicates, faith is fluid, it flows, it bleeds. And, thus, intrinsically, it cannot be contained, and more to the point of the article, it cannot be contained to the aspects of life to which agnostics, atheists, and nominal faith-people contend it should be. Faith, like blood, simply does not work that way. Blood flows into every corpuscle of the flesh of living beings, and if it isn’t, death quickly occurs in that part of the flesh where the blood-flow has ceased. Likewise, cut off the flow of faith in any part of human life, and spiritual death, along with all its consequences quickly ensues.

All this regarding the nature of faith is true in the case of politics as well. The notion that the DNA of genuine faith should or could be somehow excluded from a genuine believer in Christ’s thinking with respect to political matters, including the candidates they consider for elections, besides being a total practical impossibility, is a ludicrous and inane myth. [Editor]

The Myth of the Neat Little Boxes

By Mike Demastus

Right next door to my grandmother’s home was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Crawford. He was a nice old man that would let me strike the match to light his pipe. One thing I remember from Mr. Crawford’s house was a room where he kept all of his tools. He had this one particular drawer that had all these little boxes in them that were filled with screws and nuts of various sizes and shapes. It was so orderly, it was intoxicating!

Although the screws may be easy to find for Mr. Crawford, a drawer like that carries appeal for many because a lot of us like neat little boxes to separate things. (Some of us to the point that we may need counseling because we are obsessive compulsive.)

But neat little boxes may work for separating screws but they don’t work very well for organizing your life. I think men, in particular, struggle with this. I remember hearing Dr. Gary Rosberg say that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti. Men like the neat rows of spaces where everything is in order and everything has its place. But women are a big gooey pile of noodles where everything is connected to everything else.

That may be funny, but spaghetti is a closer picture of reality for all of us. We like to try to keep certain things in their proper place. So we say things like, “Don’t bring work home.” But how well do we actually do that? We haven’t found the magic bullet to stop thinking about work or even dreaming about it.

It is certainly a worthwhile goal to not be so over-focused on work that you minimalize your time with your family. But I believe a very dangerous myth for the Christ follower is the myth that our faith can be kept in a neat little box.

We don’t want to mix “politics with religion.” We want to make sure that we do church stuff at church. And when I go vote, I do so completely void of religious influence…because those two boxes should not be mixed.

But the problem is that faith bleeds. It is fluid. It cannot be contained. Even though there are many in our culture who want to make sure we do everything we can to maintain that invisible wall of separation of church and state, the fact is, wherever there are people of faith, their faith will always be in the public sphere.

To keep one’s faith separate from work or politics or school is like trying to command the outside air from invading the inside of your home. How do you do that?

We are commanded by our Lord to be salt and light (Mat. 5:13-16). We have been given an ultimatum by God to not only take our faith with us into our work environment or our classroom or the polling place, but to make sure that we are ever vigilant at it.

We may try to fool ourselves into thinking that we can put our faith in a neat little box…but a person of true faith knows how foolish that truly is. Faith is not a light switch that can be turned off or on at will.

I believe that one of my callings as a minister of the gospel is to help the congregation I serve to filter absolutely all of life through the lens of Scripture. We must begin to think biblically about every situation we face.

To hold a particular political candidate for office and his or her views up to the light of Scripture is exactly what a person of faith is supposed to do. A person of faith should evaluate every task at the workplace, every classroom assignment, and every relationship through a biblical lens.

Asking what does Scripture say concerning this or that is how a Christian navigates all of life. It is a myth to think that a Christian can approach life any other way. Neat little boxes may work for organizing nuts and bolts but it is impossible to try to keep faith separate from the rest of one’s life.###

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Mike Demastus is the Pastor at Fort Des Moines Church of Christ (The Fort) in Des Moines, Iowa.  The church website is http://www.godsfort.org

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