“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” (1 Corinthians 1:32 NIV)
There are times when I read the newspaper I have to check to make sure I’m not reading the latest issue of “The Onion” or the latest parody from “The Babylon Bee”. My go to rule, is that if I read something and it’s so out there no one would believe it, it’s probably real. Only parody writers hold things in check because “no one would really do that.”
I resisted the temptation to check what I was reading as I came across an article in the newspaper today. It seems that a man in New Jersey dared to write in a letter to the editor for the local paper that he hated yoga pants. He went on to say they were a horrible fashion trend and that not only should most women not wear them, they are almost always, unless actually going to yoga, inappropriate attire. In a few days three hundred women, and others appeared at his doorstep staging a protest. I’ve copied the link here for your convenience.
Now let’s let a few things sink in. This guy isn’t a governmental official. He isn’ passing legislation. He voiced an opinion. In a letter. To a newspaper. Essentially, someone these people did not know made a comment about fashion. All of these people could have simply thought, “Well since I don’t know you. I don’t care about your opinion” and turn to the comics to read “Pearls Before Swine” Or even simply thought a few namaste thoughts (sorry!!) about the fellow and go on with life.
Instead they are so outraged they put on their yoga pants and this guy has 300 people tracking Ugg prints in his yard and spilling pumpkin spice latte on his begonias. He has claimed that he received some death threats, which seems to be a bit of a…wait for it….stretch. But in this day and age who knows
So before we get into the meat of the blog today let me share a few random thoughts on this particular protest. First if the worst thing that happens to you is an unknown person disagrees with your fashion choice you ought to consider yourself a fairly blessed person. Secondly, how dull is your Sunday afternoon that 300 of you have nothing better to do than stand in the yard of a guy you don’t even know? Third, let’s be honest. Not everyone looks good in yoga pants. I’ve been to the State Fair. A culture that loves the bacon cheeseburger on a donut bun and the deep-fried Oreo might not also be able to have a love affair with yoga pants. Yes, of course you have the right to wear them. And this poor sap probably has the right to say not everyone can pull the look off. Franky I’m surprised people in love with yoga pants weren’t more flexible or willing to bend over backwards to be forgiving.
Bad puns aside, it does point to one of the issues we struggle with in our society today. Our culture’s tendency to live in a perpetual status of preadolesence. You know the age where everyone is self centered. Where not only is everything offensive and worthy of an eye roll, but also must be pointed out and ridiculed. A culture where heaven help the person who dares disagree with anything we might want to do.
I’ve noticed that in our preadolescent culture becoming an adult, maturity, has become a thing to be ridiculed. There once was a time when becoming an adult was not only an expected outcome in life, but one people looked forward to experiencing. Now we don’t even talk about being an adult or reaching a level of maturity as a thing anymore. Being an adult is not a stage, but an activity. We have comments such as “I don’t want to adult today” or “I’m tired of adulting”. As if being an adult were a verb or an activity. Can you get the underlying sentiment? I adult until I don’t have to and can then retreat into my preferred preadolescent status. The problem, of course, is that when we see maturity as something we only have to do for awhile we miss out on becoming an adult. And experience all that we were meant to experience and enjoy in life. In short, we miss out on the good stuff.
That’s Paul’s frustration with the people in Corinth. Paul writes, in short, “You’ve become a bunch of babies. You’ve stalled in your spritual maturity. There is so much more of Jesus I want to give you. But I can’t because you aren’t grown up enough to digest it. You’ve been created for a banquet and are satisfying yourself with formula. Jesus wants you to become his but you try to keep one foot in your child’s life in the world before you knew Him.
So how do we stop “adulting” spiritually and become mature in the faith? We need to make the choice not to stay where we are. It’s not so much an immaturity issue as it is a lordship issue. Are you willing to submit even your spiritual maturity to God? Find ways to stretch yourself spiritually. Move away from the formula. Attend a Bible study, small group or get involved in a ministry that you have always said, ‘that’s not really for me.” You don’t have to stay there forever. But it’s not bad to spend a season trying new things to mature your spiritual palate.
Find some mature Christians to spend time with. We tend to rise or sink to the level of our surroundings. By taking time to intentionally surround yourself with some people who have spiritual depth you’ll discover new depths and maturity yourself.
Physically our bodies mature with the appropriate nutrients. What are you feeding your soul? Feeding your hearts the equivalent of spiritual Cheetos will delay your growth Take a note from John Wesley and attend to all the means of grace (scripture, worship, the sacraments, study, silence, service) that you can as often as you can. In other words, put yourself in a place where you have the best chance of maturing.
No spiritual maturity isn’t easy. You have to forgive and learn not o be offended by people who disagree with you. You run the risk of offending others with the Gospel as well as your refusal to back down from your faith. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. And before you know it being an adult is who you are, not just what you do every now and then
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><