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Spirituality Is Personal


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Once, an old man, a boy, and a donkey were traveling from one town to another. They decided that the boy would ride the donkey, and the old man would walk alongside. While moving down the road, they passed a group of townsfolk, who began speaking among themselves, saying what a shame it was for such a strong, young boy to be riding on the donkey, leaving this old, frail man to walk alongside. The boy overheard their words, and, feeling ashamed, suggested that the old man should ride the donkey, and that he would walk alongside.

 

A while later, they passed another group of people, who began commenting on how shocking it was to see this man riding the donkey, while making such a small boy walk. The two overheard their comments, and decided that they should both just walk and put an end to all these opinions.

 

Eventually, they passed some more villagers, who began to laugh at how silly it was for these two to be walking when they had a perfectly good donkey to ride. The man and the boy decided that maybe the critics were right, and they decided to both ride the donkey.

 

Soon, they ran into another group of people who were aghast to see such animal cruelty. What a load to put on this poor little creature! Hearing their words, the man and boy felt terrible. They wanted to give the poor donkey a break, and decided to carry the donkey for the rest of their way.

 

While crossing a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal, and he fell into the river, to be seen no more. The moral of this story: If you try to please everyone, you will eventually lose your ass!

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re: Spirituality may be personal,

perhaps, but Christianity is social/relational/communal:

 

A story:

 

One day, a man who had been active with a congregation stopped attending worship services or being active in any of the Bible study or support groups, or other ministries of the church.

 

After a two months passed, a woman in that congregation stopped by that man's home to visit with him. The man let her inside and they sat down beside his warm fireplace. The woman asked the man how he was doing and what's been going on in his life. The man started sharing about things and as he did, the woman reached over and grabbed the metal tongs in the fireplace kit and reached into the fireplace and pulled out a burning ember and set it down on the brickwork floor in front of the fireplace. The man continued to share as that ember gradually died out and went cold.

 

A few minutes later, still listening attentively, she pulled out another burning ember from the fireplace and laid it by the other one and they watched it too grow cold and die out. She did this a few more times as she listened to the man share about his life.

 

After a while, the man said, "You know, I think you'll start seeing more of me back in church again."

 

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The moral of the story is that God created God's children in God's image and part of that means that we are relational creatures who thrive best only in intentional relationship with others. If we leave our communities, we (and they) are less than they should be - and in time, we grow cold and fade out.

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I thought it was a funny story, that's all.

 

I thought it illustrated all the "infighting" between different Christian sects (or Jews, Muslims, Pagans, etc) very well.

 

Don't avoid fellowshipping or starting your journey because of not being able to please everyone. You never will.

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True enough. Pastors especially need to take this lesson to heart. They simply cannot please all the people all the time - nor should they. The sooner they learn this lesson, the sooner they'll sleep better at night and the less likely they will be to burn out.

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I think that church members/friends need to help Pastors by not expecting them to be perfect. It's easy to get upset about things going on in church when you don't know the whole story or understand all the variables. We have to remember that pastors are human and have strengths and weaknesses just like the rest of us... they can lead as best they can and we need to love and support them rather than nit-picking about things that have little to do with us in real terms.

 

It's good to have people to walk with, but ultimately we walk with God, alone.

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