Around our house we’ve got a little trend going. We’re keeping things natural. We haven’t really talked about this. It’s not a bandwagon we’re on or anything, we’ve just been enjoying a lot of natural, simple things…
Local produce from Hollygrove Market and Farm.
Creole tomatoes growing in our yard.
Mint Juleps with mint we grew ourselves.
A new/old shelf from an onion crate found in the neighbor’s garbage.
A made from scratch Mother’s Day brunch at home.
These days natural things are kind of rare. Natural foods, hair colors, clothing, body parts… they’re an oddity rather than the other way around.
Even things that say “natural” on the label usually aren’t really natural at all. I’ve been thinking how the same goes for our relationships, with God and with each other. Natural, honest, calm communication is rare. What we normally experience is flowery, fake, frantic and fraught with double meanings if not all-out untruths.
Being part of a house church provides a very natural, basic way of expressing my faith. I find myself more and more uncomfortable with manufactured spirituality. My own included. Have you ever heard someone pray aloud and wondered if they really talk to God that way in private? Heh. I’ve wondered that about myself. There comes a point when the “pre-packaged” expressions of spiritual speech just don’t nourish anymore. Just like a wrapped granola bar can’t compete with a warm homemade oatmeal cookie, the boxed and labeled premixed prayers and conversations cease to satisfy a craving for true, authentic interaction with the Father God and His other children.
I’m not talking about prayers like The Lord’s Prayer here. I’m speaking of those expressions, fillers, things we say just because it’s expected or because we don’t know what else to say. I have a few pet peeves like using “Amen?” to ask for agreement or understanding, the “unspoken” prayer request, or asking an omnipresent God to “be with” us. You know the type of thing. Could be a figure of speech or just saying fluffy stuff in prayer or conversation with another person rather than getting to the real, natural expression of actual thought and concept. I’ll be first to admit that sometimes I’ve said nothing in prayer because other than platitudes, I had nothing to say. Yeah, God wasn’t surprised. I find my “out-loud” prayers with my family and my church family are sometimes stilted and awkward as I struggle to keep it natural rather than resorting to something prepackaged or formulated.
I’d like to see my life, in prayer and conversation, filled with less prepackaged things like “Fine, how are you?” and more home-grown stuff like “I don’t tell you enough, but I love you.” or “You know I really respect you, admire you, or even disagree with you.” I’d like to stick to natural words and concepts that are real rather than convenient but empty words that fill time but don’t really accomplish any communication. And ya’ll can hold me to it.
Here’s to natural!