It was his opening volley in what lead to a real and meaty exchange in an earthy and practical conversation about God.
My conservative roots and his progressive ideas flowed together in a kind of swirling eddy of thought on what personal theology and applied faith look like. This most recent exchange of ideas over roast beef and Reuben sandwiches is one of many such raw and real spiritual explorations we have shared.
The fact that we are brothers, 3 years apart, grew up in the same house with identical rearing and environment does not guarantee that Ron and I will always agree. But the depth of our brotherly connection generates mutual respect. This sincere esteem creates the safe vulnerability undergirding the honest exchange of ideas and experiences.
The atmosphere of our chats is simplicity; the heart of them is authenticity. The resultant beauty of the dialog is real intimacy.
In these moments we each show the other our true colors.
Though I am not Catholic, I am fond of and fascinated by Pope Francis. Elisabetta Piqué is an Argentinian journalist who shares a decade-long friendship with the newly elected Pope. In a recent interview she made an off the cuff remark that resonated like a peeling church bell in my soul. She said his election to the papacy represents: “a scandal of normality.” Another author referred to Francis’ “recognizable humanity” as “positively revolutionary”.
These two disparate events–the open God-talks with my brother and the vivid descriptions of an intriguing spiritual leader–left me wondering: why is it so rare to be real and revolutionary to be normal in the contemporary cultural and faith community?
It seems apparent to me that normal is supposed to be the norm.
Honesty, reality, authenticity–these are the hallmarks of true followers of Jesus, not exceptions to the rule.
Jesus’ whole Sermon on the Mount seems to be synchronized into one purpose for His followers: get real. No play acting; no posturing; no posing.
Show people your true colors.
When you pray…do it sincerely, without show. When you help the less fortunate…do it from the heart, not for attention. When you fast…do it to focus priorities, not to earn brownie points.
Jesus wants us to concentrate on the values of God’s kingdom and the passions of His heart, not the clutter and distractions of ever-changing cultural ideals.
We are to be real; in touch with what truly matters and in tune with what really counts. He wants us to be who we really are and who we are becoming…honestly.
Anything less than this open vulnerability demonstrates that our treasure–what we value most–lies in the natural. It focuses on how we look to others.
But it is easy to look better to the world but un-real to God.
What does it look like to show our true colors?
- Authenticity—this is who I really am right now.
- Sincerity—this is what I honestly believe right now.
- Integrity—this is how I actually live right now.
God is not into cosmetic procedures—silicon spirituality. His desire for us is deep heart change that lastingly beautifies the real person he made.
I really want to stop primping the parts of me that will pass away. I am learning that the greatest gift I as a created being can give to my loving Creator is to show my true colors.
After all, they are the ones that came from His divine palette. He painted the exceptional beauty of our normalcy. He loves the true colors!
To him, the only scandal is when we exhibit less.