What's In Your Paper Bag?

Imperfectly Brave Living


My sister teases me that I don’t have a very good memory. It’s true. I just don’t, guys. Some things I can remember clear as day — like the sound of the ocean and walking down the aisle — but mostly, I don’t remember much. On another note, my husband’s memory is like a steel trap. Lock-down. Imagine what that is like in a marriage. Exactly. Imagining done.


One memory seared in my brain comes from high school (bless). I remember sitting in my ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Laxson’s, classroom. I remember her name because she told me once that I would be a writer and I was just crazy enough to believe her (another note: always encourage, encourage kids in their gifts, you never know where it will take them…). Anyway, I don’t know if Mrs. Laxson knew or knows Jesus which makes this story even more interesting — because culture. BECAUSE CULTURE DEFINES A LOT.


One day, she read us a book about the future where archaeologists come and uncover our homes that have been decaying and rotting; instead of front doors they are using shovels to dig through caved-in roofs. And yeah, guys, this is going to happen, unless Jesus comes back and wouldn’t that just be the best?


I don’t remember the whole book but I remember us discussing how these archaeologists made assumptions — just as we make assumptions in what we find underground these days as well. I remember one observation although there were many more—


“These people worshipped a black box because all the chairs were turned to it and every home so far has one…”


Ok guys, I am not advocating for no TVS — hello, I LOVE TV. Chip and Joanna Gaines are my best friends. I have high hopes for my kitchen because of them — as well as my inspiration of having goats in my suburban backyard. Goats in tiny clothes and bottles because AMERICA.


But as I sift through my culture and wonder where the church has been, I am beginning to toss the thought around in my mind of how far we have come from bronze idols and maybe —- just maybe — we have replaced it with the idol of comfort. CULTURE DEFINES A LOT.


Have we just built up new idols? Sports ones, car ones, job ones? Kid ones? Material ones? Pretty people ones? And here we are — humans — walking back and forth, back and forth to our idols of comfort? And honestly, maybe church has allowed this — putting more emphasis on the pastor instead of the all the people? Because I don’t think the church was made to be consumed.


This concept isn’t new though — this serving idols concept. “The people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt…and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations.




Have I been walking in the custom of my nation or the ways of my God?


“They abandoned all commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves metal images of two calves, they burned their sons and daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger.”


Don’t be fooled — it sounds all kinds of carnage and we would never do that — but I can’t tell you the amount of churches unwilling to stand up against abortion, I can’t tell you how much it hurts to know we are burning our daughters and sons at a different stake, the stake of the woman’s body. Have we sold ourselves into evil? And may I say that “silence in the face of evil, is evil itself (Bonhoeffer). Just sayin’ girls, even though it hurts.


I know full well, He has got to be angry with our lack of courage — and sometimes His anger does this —


“The Lord was very angry and removed them from His sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.”


Our American Christianity hasn’t had to look a whole lot different than our culture. For most of my walk, I have been able to add God to my life rather than let Him be my life. And in so doing, I became lazy in my pursuit of a most Holy God. So I think it is time that you and I do a little exercise.


Mrs. Laxson read us that book and then had us bring in paper bags filled with items that an archaeologist might find in our home and make assumptions about our love for them — or lack of love for them.


If you and I were to look at our life right now is it situated in such a way that archaeologists would think we serve an idol named comfort or a most holy God? Is there anything in our life that points to reckless abandon to Yahweh? Think about your calendar. Would it point to pursuit of success or the pursuit of serving others? Think about your pocketbook. Would it point to giving away or building up?


Maybe our Baal has become comfort? And maybe God is opening our eyes? And maybe its time to rub the sleep out and start rolling the word abandon around in our minds, across our lips and into our hands? I’m still not totally sure what that looks like — this abandon word — and maybe it will be a lifetime of pursuing it. But I want to be brave and I want to start saying the word at least. I want to wonder what people will say about my life. I want to know what’s inside that brown paper bag.


What’s in yours?

One Response

  1. Yes please, God….awaken us, help us remember to be set apart, holy and distinct from the world.

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