05 May Fences

AUTHOR:  David Z. Nowell

I’ve spent a significant amount of time lately thinking about fences. Far too much, actually.

Susan and I have a few acres outside of town, and it’s just about time to put fall calves on the pasture. So most weekends—and many evenings—for the last month or two have been spent setting posts and stretching wire.

Barbed wire and I are not good friends.

No matter how I prepare, how good my gloves are, or how careful I am, the end of a fence-building day means a session with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a tube of ointment. That’s just the way it is for me and barbed wire.

But Saturday night, the final strand was stretched and the gates were hung. The pasture is ready.  If the fence does its job, the calves will be safe and contained—because that’s what fences do.

Useful things, fences. Usually.

But fences can be a real hindrance to Kingdom building. Capital K Kingdom.

A question for you:  What is your image of Jesus? Not Sunday-morning Jesus, but the two thousand-years-ago-walking-this-earth guy? What did he look like? How did he sound? Did he like the foods you like? How did he smell?  Did he have good manners?

Would he have fit in with your friends? At your church?

My Jesus is a lot like me. He shares my values, finds humor where I do, and has really good manners.

He has to, because I know myself well enough that, if he doesn’t, I may not care for his company.

But then I turn to the gospel, and I see his preference for the kind of people who don’t fit in my world. And I find that he is most comfortable with the kind of people I’m most uncomfortable with:  the leper, the beggar, the prostitute, the really smelly fisherman. The street people of his day.

The kind of people on the other side of the fence.

Looks like I’m the one on the wrong side…

I guess it’s time I stop building fences and start tearing them down.

Are there any fences in your world that need to come down?