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Who am I, really?

January 4, 2018

7I don’t have much time to write today so I will make this entry small. 

Just like my former home town.

In my teenage years our family of twelve crammed into a two-story home on State Street in the little town of Delmar, “the Little Town Too Big for One State,” the slogan that meant that Delmar straddles the state boundaries between Delaware and Maryland.

It’s a small town but it has had its share of exciting things in the town:  high school football championships, two citywide fires, a booming economic heyday from the Pennsylvania Railroad. An elderly teacher in high school told my class that as a child she saw actress Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin make an appearance at the local theater in order to promote a film.

The town’s name still holds as a matter of pride to us former residents.  There may be malls and other fashionable changes, but it was always be good ol’ Delmar to us.  And we love it that way.

In the Bible Jesus spent time in a little town of Bethsaida.  Its name was simple enough; it meant “house of fish.”  This was a solid, hard-working town.  It was the center of attention when Jesus fed thousands from bread and fish, and healed a blind man in a fascinating story in Mark chapter 8.

But I find an interesting note in the parallel passages in the Gospels:  while John Mark records that Bethsaida was a village,the writer Luke calls it a city (chapter 9). That’s because the monarch Herod Philip wanted to give it some flair by developing it and he started by naming it after the daughter of Augustus Caesar.  It became known as Bethsaida Julias.  Along with the name came expansion, prestige and development into a city, but as John Mark writes the narration from Peter, he remembers his old home as the simple village of Bethsaida.

In the new generation of social media, I see people trying to re-fashion themselves over the carefully spliced and edited pictures they offer to the public.  They’re known and loved by who they simply are, but they aren’t satisfied with that.  They aren’t content with the simple down-to-earth folks that they are; they want to add some flair, and they go overboard in embellishment.

This happens to the world of Christians, too, I’m afraid.  We aren’t happy with being the consistent, faithful persons that God made us.  We want to add some spark that shows more than we really are.  Our social media mania equips us to creating an artificial universe around us.

I want simplicity to come back.  Good old raw honesty of character.

Oh, that we could have some Christians restrain themselves and be the solid honest characters that Christ can use.  Oh, that we could spend more time in studying and emulating him, rather than cropping pictures so that our profile is Hollywood-worthy.

We’re good people who can show people the Kingdom.  That’s our true nature.  That’s our true name.

Can we get back to that?

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