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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Real Men Cry...

I don't know if society has taught me that "real men don't cry" or if I somehow came to that conclusion on my own, but I have always felt like I was just being a "girl" anytime my emotions got the best of me and I began to cry. So, I would try everything possible not to do it. Even as a little kid, I remember being on the soccer field or basketball court and never wanting to come out of the game so I would play hurt. BUT, I never wanted the embarrassment of crying in front of all those people. Of course, as I have gotten older I have actually cried more. I remember crying by myself my freshman year of college because I was going through a tough time with life, but it wasn't in front of anyone. First time I can remember letting loose in front of people was my granddad's funeral, and then again at my other grandpa's funeral. I have also let my guard down with my wife and have cried with her.

The reason all of this is fresh on my mind is because I recently moved to Chicago. I cried leaving my nephew Corbin because, (although I will miss all of my family and friends), he will grow and change so fast that I felt I would miss a lot of it. I also cried (and I felt really stupid for this one) leaving my dog Cooper. He had been a companion dog for me for 6 years and we had been through a lot. So, I am an emotional guy, and for me to hold those emotions in has meant for almost 90% of my life I haven't been real to other people or myself. I have had a guard up, not letting people into an area where I was comfortable being my true self.

I am convinced this is a huge issue for us in the American church. We are not real with each other. Furthermore, this has me convinced that we are missing a level of the Biblical church--the basic level (house, cell). Sure we have home groups where people share "community" with one another through a meal and bible study and go and do fun things together. That's like calling Facebook "real" community. I want to be in a community in the body of Christ where I can be real. Where I can laugh. Where we can pray for one another and really know what is going on. Where I can share my needs and I can meet the needs of others. Where I can cry.

This is a picture of the body of Christ that is the true church, where people are true. This will lead to a real community that becomes strengthened to not stay inward focused but goes out and changes the world. If we don't have real community what do we have to offer the world? If all we do is bring people into an event where 1000's are gathered every sunday have we accomplished helping them discover their eternal purpose of being in community with God and in community with others? We've given them false community by having a "greet" time or inviting them to a class or home group. We need REAL community, or else I don't think we can change the world. You see, real men do cry. Be real.

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