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Is Christianity Messy?

Brooke Luby drew a brilliant analogy between chocolate pudding and spirituality the other day in a piece that I had missed on the online magazine that I helped start — Wrecked for the Ordinary. I try to keep up with Wrecked, but I’m happy to say that sometimes there are so many new pieces coming in at once, it’s hard to read each one. However, I’m glad I found Brooke’s article.
Chocolate puddingHer basic premise is that humanity is messy and that there is a spiritual lesson to learn in the “adventure” of getting messy. It reminded me of the book Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli. She writes:

If you look at the Bible, you see that it reflects the life of
screwed-up people and a flawless, loving God, perfectly. The Bible’s
writers did not choose to sanitize it and make it “safe for the whole
family.” Scandal, blood and guts, and steamy sex scenes are common
place in this book some people see as archaic and irrelevant. Hollywood
couldn’t write a screenplay as intense as half of the Old Testament!
Yet, the Bible is overflowing with beauty, grace and redemption. It is
God’s story. It is my story.

I am beginning to see that life is a mess, but the mess is, in fact,
beautiful. Does a parent love her kid any less when he smears chocolate
pudding all over his face? It’s funny; no matter how many times you
give a little kid a bath, it’s like they keep getting dirty. It’s
almost like they are a dirt magnet. Yet somehow, getting dirty is part
of the adventure. Read more…


I often hear people say that “life is messy.” But what does that mean, exactly? Is that a justification for immorality? Or, is it just a fact of life that we have to make mistakes in order to grow?
I do know that times can be tough, that I often feel like a failure, and that the last thing in the world I am expecting in the messes that I’ve created is… grace. In Brooke’s article, she paints a picture of what Jesus is doing when we’re screwing our lives up:
I see Jesus more in the moments when I am smeared with self-hatred or chocolate pudding, or mud or condemnation. He’s there, smiling:
“I love you. You’re beautiful. Now, let’s go take a bath.”

Maybe Brooke’s right. Maybe there’s more to life than sin management or living hedonistically. Maybe “getting messy” is taking a few fumbled steps towards that Savior who wants to clean us up. Maybe Yaconelli’s subtitle to the book I mentioned earlier sums it up: “God’s annoying love for imperfect people.”
I don’t know. What do you think?
Read Brooke’s article here: Chocolate Pudding Spirituality