A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Compassion in the Face of Ridicule

A Short List of Things Not to Put Me in Charge of......or Really, to Have Me Included With in Any Way:

1. Arts & Crafts
Still learning how to utilize perforations without tearing the rest of the paper

2. Decorating Cakes
Or really any Event-Driven Cooking (i.e. besides dinner for my family and friends or anyone else who will still love me anyway)

3. Animals
I can handle a cat. Probably goldfish. Beyond that, you’ve got an Urkel episode waiting to happen.

4. Driver’s Education Classes
Well, I’m almost 35 and I still avoid backing into parking spaces

5. Teaching a Group of Children
I’m more than a fish out of water here......

6. Photography
Somehow the shot will be ruined. Blurriness. Red Satan-eyes. Poor lighting. Years ago I visited my friend in Tampa and she took me to the beach one day. Sooooooo splendidly splendidy splendid. There was a parasailer out over the water. I grabbed my camera, enthralled by the sun sparkling off the water, sailboats in the distance, and the parasailer soaring through the air. All of these items were captured in the shot, and they beautifully framed the metal garbage can sitting on the beach that ended up being the star of the picture.

7. Being Photographed
Since puberty, I have had approximately 7 good pictures taken of me, thanks to either unruly hair, facial volcanic eruptions, incessant blinkage, or just plain goofy expressions.

8. Gardening/Plant Care
I loathe getting dirty, first of all. But when I was at my last job, I had a little cactus on my desk. It lasted for a good while, and I’d either forget to water it for, oh, weeks and weeks, or I’d forget if I had watered it and basically water-boarded the poor thing. One morning when I came in I found it lying on the floor, pot broken in 3 places. My coworkers decided it must’ve just finally had enough and plummeted.

9. Gift Wrapping
If the packaging isn’t a perfect square, it’s hopeless.

And one last:

10. Predicting the Rapture

And while I have, at times, either adventurously voluntarily or by some sense of interpreted indirect peer pressure/societal guilt-trip attempted most of these things, not the last one. This one I am certain God has not chosen me for. Or any of us, as the Bible makes pretty clear.

That being said, I found myself saddened this week by the tone of, well, just about everyone who on the Internet anyway had a sarcastic or snide or cruel remark about this whole doomsday thing. I don’t really know anything about Harold Camping or his followers besides what was reported on this past week, and I found myself wondering whether all this was a deliberate hoax for financial or egotistical gain or if this is a man who truly believed all that he spouted out about Jesus returning yesterday. And if the latter is the case, I can’t imagine the overwhelming sense of failure, disappointment, and guilt he must be experiencing.

There were several discussions about this on Facebook this week, and one woman (who I do not know) had what I found to be the most relationally warm and spiritually insightful remark that I’ve seen or heard. I can’t quote her because I don’t remember it word for word, but basically, it was that the church has to be ready to lovingly embrace this group when the predicted events do not happen (assuming it wouldn’t......because after all, Jesus said He’d come back at an hour we don’t expect and what perfect timing that would be when all the rest of us are spouting that we are certain He won’t return then because it would be expected......) because the bewilderment and loss they will be immersed in will be spirit-crushing. That sounded more like something Jesus would say than anything else I’d heard on the subject. I found the public mockery, which escalated from being about Camping and his followers to basically the whole concept of Jesus coming back at all, ever, to be just as saddening as the predicting itself.

What I can take from all this in regards to spiritual growth, then, is a lesson in sensitivity and compassion. In knowing the Bible and what it says, certainly. And faith. Because even though I believe all of this was clearly against scripture, some of these people performed monumental acts of faith in their own lives in preparation in regards to their finances, livelihood, relationships, etc.

Can I reflect on my own life and see any sense of peace-filled, joy-driven, love-inspired urgency to live a life of worship and growth and readiness for Him?

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