Monday, February 23, 2009

The Diseases of Comparison and Imitation

People have a bad habit of looking over their shoulder at what the 'other guy' has or is doing. Its the age old comparison dilemma. Cave man one looks at Cave man two and realizes that his fur pelt jacket isn't quite as luxurious as the other guys. Its plagued the world for a long time. It started in middle school with me when I saw all the 'cool kids' getting nike swoosh imprinted clothing and shoes and I had some wimpy knock off. I would make the appeal to my parents that the only way in which I could become cool, was to endorse Nike in all my attire. They didn't buy it...and so they didn't buy it. I had a problem with comparing myself to others and that led to me trying to imitate or emulate them.

We do this in our churches. We are always looking at the 'church down the street' or the hugely successful church in our denomination, or the trendy new church on tv. The problem is that God didn't make clones. He has made each church a unique embodiment of redemption and hope in which that church is to live into. If we are looking at the church down the street and responding to their ministries, all we are doing is competing for sheep. God gives us the ability to adapt what he is doing in other communities of faith to our own context, but he has not called us to be a willow creek church, a saddleback congregation, or any other fill in the blank. So if I am doing something because it is the trendy thing to do, I fail to live out what God has called me to do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote in Self-Reliance "There is a time in every man's life that he arrives at the conviction that imitation is suicide. He must take himself for better or for worse."

I'm curious, How are you killing yourself these days?

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