Monday, June 25, 2012

The Least


We all have certain things that we just won't say. I cringe when people talk about unpacking anything other than a suitcase. I find that pastors, in particular, really like to unpack things. They unpack topics and ideas and articles. Bleh. I don't know why. It bugs me. I'll never unpack something that doesn't roll through an airport. Cross my heart.

I'll never call you "Honey"  or "Hon" unless you are A) young enough to be my child or B) Cory Martin.

Upon being surprised by something, I won't slap my knee and exclaim, "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" (Though I kind of love it when other people do.)

Similarly, you may foolishly choose to forgo the use of "swoony" to describe anything from a garden to a belt to a premature shifting of the seasons to kid art. Whatever, okay? It's your life. Choose to be unswoony if you must.

Up until a year ago, I prided myself in never, ever typing "LOL" on anything. For me, it will forever mean "Lots of Love". I just like it better that way. When something is funny, I've found that an old-fashioned "ha ha!" still works just fine. Sidenote: Cory recently found out that LMAO doesn't stand for "Lame-o". Now, I reserve my LOLs only for Haven, who uses the abbreviation almost like a period. She used to text me from the Fox Room, "I'm hungry LOL." or "I think Calvin's out of bed LOL." To Cory and I, it has become its own thing.  So sometimes he'll text me something like, "I'll meet you by the entrance in ten minutes LOL." It cracks our funky business way up.
 
Of course there's nothing wrong with saying these things. They're just not for me. They don't feel quite right.

Confession, I have always secretly struggled with referring to anyone as "the least of these". I'm sorry, Jesus. It bugs me. No matter who says it or how many tattoos they have, it sounds kinda uppity. I don't care for the us/them ring to it. It feels a bit caste-systemish. If I'm saying she's "the least", what does that make me? The much better? The slightly holier? The fancier? The cleaner? The luckier? What??

I could never shake the feeling that I was the least, even if no one else could see it. Even if they refused to believe me. 

I tip-toed this one around in my pocket, because churchy people right now really like talking about serving "the least of these". (I don't even like to type it.)

I never breathed a word about it out loud, though I did take it up with God a time or two. I felt like there must have been a better way, and who better to have cracked that code but the one who wrote it in the first place?

He never answered or maybe I just never heard his rebuttal. Until today. And naturally, His beautiful truth was carried straight to my faulty ears by a loud, emotional, Southern woman. You know the one.

This is how grave the gospel's challenge is: 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' (Matthew 25:40). It is as simple as it is radical. If every believer obeyed accordingly, I daresay we would become the answer to all that ails society.

These are the words by which we are sent, but wondrously, they are also the words by which we are saved. They are not simply a revelation of crisis and the call to active love; they are also an invitation to personal recognition. Each one of us, as it turns out, counts as the least...It is not that Jesus looks on us as helpless or powerful, poor or rich, weak or strong. We are loved because we are living images of God, made in His likeness and created for the heights of His glory and the depths of communion. Our very God took on our form for the love of humanity, privilege or poverty aside. In contrast to God's perfection, we are all the least, each and every one, identified entirely with a Savior who loves us recklessly.  (emphasis mine)

- Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted

Maybe it's been made clear to all of you by now that I am officially enamored of all the Hatmakers, every one of them, even the ones who haven't written books. Yet. (Put me on the waiting list, Remy!)

But I'm telling you, man, they'll send your head to spinning then put it back on upside-down. The crazy part is - you'll like it upside-down. You'll realize that it was always meant to be that way. Sure, people will think you're a weirdo. And yes, an upside-down head does complicate the whole eating thing, but in the end, a heart seems to like it when someone comes along and helps decode the riddles.

Lots of Love,
The Official Least


ps - I also read this today in Interrupted, "We looked each other in the eyes, and we were the same. Fragile human who are patterned after Jesus..."   I have but one word for that: spooky. (Not to be confused with "swoony" LOL.)

38 comments:

  1. That was... swoony. Fur reals, LOL. (No really, it was. I'm just too brain dead for more enlightening words at the moment).

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  2. OMW!! LOL! You make me laugh like no other! I can not read that texting lingo without cringing. Especially when my mom uses it! I see Lots of Love too. I'm definitely a haha girl. Or if it's really funny you get an extra ha. Hahaha!

    I too have felt that way about the "least of these". Why wasn't I smart enough to figure out that He was talking about all of us? I was thinking: I am so rich compared to most of the world, I not be included as the least. Not in an upppity way, but in a way that I feel blessed to not be in want. But it isn't about that at all. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Yes, so true, those Hatmakers ARE flipping worlds upside down and it does feel better that way (albeit quite confusing at times.). :) Love this. :)

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  4. Well, I'm swooning. And let me tell you something: that is the first time in my own personal history I have ever said that word. So, turnabout is fair play, missy.

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  5. Quite honestly, I'd greatly prefer you unpack this a bit more, this whole upside down head thing.

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  6. What exactly is LMAO anyway? I don't text so I never seem to know these abbreviations. I'm under 40 and sometimes I feel so old! Loved the post! Jen gets it right on.

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    1. Uh...you'll have to ask Haven. It rhymes with Laughing My Sass Off.

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  7. I was really afraid of SMH. Glad to find out it's much more innocent than FML.

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  8. YES the whole "let's unpack this" thing that pastor types say ALLLL the time and don't leave out RELEVANT...good grief....they overuse that one too.
    Drives me crazy...

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  9. I just knew you were going to throw an LOL in there! It made me happy to see another commentor used my favorite abbreviation - OMW! :)

    And under all that, this was beautiful and convicting. As usual.

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  10. For such a young pup Shannon you are so wise! Thanks for swooning me with your wisdom! I am trying to figure out who the Hatmakers are....is she the one that only wore or ate 7 things for much to long for me?
    Agreed, Lots Of Love!!

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    1. God bless you for the "young pup" thing. You have no idea..... :)

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  11. ok. i actually did laugh out loud and then found my head nodding and lips smiling in bless-ed agreement.

    this was good. thank you.

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  12. Good stuff, Shannon. I have also come to understand that I am the least. The least of the least. I used to get a little unnerved when Jesus calls Himself the shepherd that left the 99 to to go find the one lost sheep. I mean, why the heck am I getting left behind?? That is until I realized that I AM the lost sheep who gets herself into trouble and the one He left everything to come find and bring back home...on His shoulders.

    Love the Hatmakers, too. They make me want to move to Austin.

    Also? Lame-o??? Hahaha!!!!!! I really did laugh out loud. And snort. And squeeze out a few laugh-tears.

    LYLASCYA,
    Jody

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  13. ROTFLMAO on your sidebar note. And I had to have my daughter translate SMH and FML.

    LOVE how you developed this post and now I'm feeling the need to take a look at Intterrupted. I am in much need of recalibration.

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  14. Interrupted kept me up for three nights on end last week. Head officially upside down. Wrecked. Humbled. And the view from here is a bit more clear.

    Lame-o? Heh. Love that.

    My pastor hubs would like me to pass on that he cringes to be lumped with those "unpackers". ;)

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  15. Well, you know I'm a LOL-er but that's because I actually do LOL ;) I'm also a hahaha-er. And an abuser of smiley faces. Thankfully we are still friends. I love the quote you shared. I've actually always thought we were the least of these but I don't know why, it's just what I assumed, because aren't we? Obviously, Jen Hatmaker put it much more eloquently than I though. And I don't mind "unpack" but that is probably because my hubby says it sometimes and I think he is swoony. P.S. I just LOL from your answer of what LMAO means (or rhymes with).

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  16. you are so right about the hatmakers. that 7 book is a turn you upside down kinda read. it's like medicine...burns going down a bit. still not finished. shame on me;)

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  17. Oh how I love thee. BUT I must call into question one key point. You are NOT the least. You can't be when it is I.

    LOL
    The Leastest

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  18. Love it. Love you and Jen Hatmaker. Mainly because I feel like I am walking around lately in a world of my own people who don't understand why I feel the need to sell everything and live in an igloo. When I come here to read, it feels like I am in the land of people who understand my language again. Keep on keeping on.

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    1. Well, this comment made my night. Indeed, you are home here, in the land of understanding. :)

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  19. Shannan,
    You've inspired me.
    (As you so often do.)

    http://www.cookingatcafed.com/2012/06/wind-beneath-my-wings-and-super.html

    Blessings,
    Dana

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  20. Love this!

    I had noticed over the past few months that you are quite "taken" with Jen Hatmaker! I quite like it.

    I began using LOL out of laziness a few years ago. Until then, it annoyed me.

    I love swoony, but it doesn't "fit" me, so I have used "McSwoon" when I REALLY like something.

    You make me want to be a Hatmaker fan as well!

    I think it's always good to be the weirdo and the one who leaves the herd. That's just my thing.

    I have many words that bug me or aren't for me, but for today I'll leave you with one thing I can't stand- not a word: I cannot stand watching most people eat. Even on cooking shows like the Next Food Network Star. If they shove too big a bite in their mouth while trying to describe the food, I angrily change the channel.

    I may need to work on patience.

    Holla!

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  21. I hate writing lol too. IMHO your blog is the best!

    Signed - A fellow leaster.

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  22. The LOL thing cracks me up the most. For so long I thought people were lots of login me. Instead they were laughing at me. I guess this come from an age when my friends and I would write each other little notes in school (70's and 80's) ....remember true love forever made by combing the t, l, f?

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  23. Passed by a homeless man today and with an empty wallet all I had to offer was my half drank iced tea (which you may or may not be happy to know I kept...). What I did share was eye contact and a smile, which he returned in kind. You are right, we are the same. And that's how God loves us both...the same.

    On a less serious note, after sharing a text with my mom lamenting the fact that my detective skills were in fact way off and I did not solve the local crime committed in her small town she promptly texted me back LMAO. SHe turns 70 very soon and I daresay she has not a clue what she was texting. But oh did it make me LOL (haha)!

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    1. Oh wait, that was about the mom story. Not the homeless man/tea story. But while we're here, I love that you made eye contact. I try to always do the same but sometimes I wig at the last second.

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  24. girlfriend, you are the bees knees {add that to your vocab}. blahahaha! for reals though, i'm right with you on "the least" topic.

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    1. Girl, I am ON bee's knees! Sometimes I find myself telling someone "You're the knees" and then I realize that I sound like a big weirdo and no one knows what I'm talking about.

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  25. it must be a generation thing because i get texts from my bro (he's 21 and a college graduate) that say he is "having dinner LOL." and i always want to go have dinner with him if it's THAT funny. i do use LOL, but only for really really funny times, when the ha ha doesn't cut it. anyways. on to the meat... i was just reading the story of Saul's conversion to the kid's tonight and how he went from full on pride to complete humility instantly, all because of Jesus. i want that, too. i want to be the least so He can be the most!!

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  26. um....this post?
    amazing.
    spoke to my soul.
    i learned tonight. right now. you just gave me a WHOLE NEW way of understanding all of that.
    thank you....i may be crying right now. that blew my mind.
    isn't the bible so cool???
    i have heard that verse no less than 100 times and NOW it's clear.
    i mean that.

    LOL.

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  27. girl. i swear we are sisters. first the ms. hatmaker business. now the lol business. really. shouldn't we be neighbors or something?

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  28. Ok, I only called you Honey once, but it was a movie quote from the movie Mannequin where Hollywood sashays around and says, "create, honey, create!". Does that explanation help me at all? I was afraid not. A frayed knot.

    When I first read the words "the least of these", I immediately thought of little ones. Children. I guess that's how I subconsciously reconciled that some were the least, but it wasn't me. You know, avoided feeling superior about feeling superior? Ouch!

    It is me. I'm not actually surprised. Just really thankful He looks out for me.

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  29. I recently had my view of the "least of these" turned when I heard Wes Stafford speak about orphans and vulnerable children. He believes that the "least of these" refers to those are least able to defend themselves, least able to obtain food, least able to have a voice, etc. Not necessarily "least of these" as being the lowest of the society. I believe we were all the "least of these" at one point, but I know if God's eyes we are much more than that. "Least of these" I think is our human view of people.

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  30. ah... i just a few weeks ago discovered Jen Hatmaker's book, Interrupted. {{where have i been??}} it most definitely interrupted my life. && i've been recommending it to everyone who will listen to me talk about it!
    oh & i like the way you write, for real! :)

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