No, we did not go to a Christian mud wrestling event on the mission trip. Let's just get that out of the way now...
What happened was a long conversation with Leland, our site director. He is going through something that I wish more Christians would go through. He's wrestling with his faith and how to live it out.
Please understand, this is not about what he believes. It has to do with how that translates into life. For the past few years he has been attending a Christian school studying to enter the ministry. He is surrounded by fellow believers who hold Christ as high he does in their lives. He even went on a mission trip himself last year with some people who had such high standards on their faith they only listened to Christian music.
And then he joined Youthworks. He's now on week seven of being in the actual mud of ministry. The kids at kids club don't behave, they act like the broken homes they come from. Other churches in town aren't as co-operative as he hoped. Not everyone wants Christ's love. Ministry sites can be hard to work with. Churches are coming on mission trips with students who don't behave, leaders who don't support or follow the rules and the biggest struggle, all these people believe different things and act in ways that vastly differ. He's in the mud.
I think many followers of Christ have this problem. They live in a world that is custom designed to make them feel safe. They go to a church they like, that preaches what they believe, they only attend the Bible Studies they want, only serve if and when they feel like it and Jesus is a nice guy who's there to listen when they want Him to. If their faith was a house, it would be neat and clean and orderly, just the way they like it. But what happens if someone enters this house who is messy and doesn't know the rules? What if someone enters their life and muddies it up a little? There's two options: You can put up with the mess, get to know the person, love them despite it, try to live with them and their mess, maybe even try to help them be cleaner. A lot of work and a lot of time.
Of you can kick them out.
That seems harsh, but really, which is easier? Which one is do we disciples of Christ do every single day? The advantage (as I see it) that Leland has, he can't leave. He has to finish the job he started and it is helping him wrestle and grow stronger every day. The question is, when someone enters your house of faith and starts messing it up, are you willing to wrestle in the mud and get a little dirty with them?