7 11 2016


There is an individual who has a bumper sticker on his car that reads: “I poke badgers with spoons.” Its significance is not self-evident to everybody who reads it, so let me tell you the story. It comes from a British stand-up named Eddie Izzard. Eddie grew up in the church, and heard early on about the doctrine of original sin, but was a little fuzzy on the concept. He assumed that it meant that priests get tired of hearing the same old boring confessions time after time. Things like greed, lust, gluttony, and lying to the tax man. Eddie thought the priests wanted to hear some truly original sins. So he came up with something he figured no one had ever confessed before: “I poke badgers with spoons.” He thought it was so funny that he had it printed on a bumper sticker and placed it on his car.

 The Vatican recently published a new list of sins that included some “hot off the presses” transgressions such as the mistreatment of the environment which, if not completely original, at least gave an updated twist to those of the old seven deadly varieties. The one common thread with all of the trespasses of humanity is the fact that pride is at the root of it all. Pride makes the declaration that no outside help is necessary or invited. “I can do it all by myself” is the mantra of the messed up that miss out on all that humility has to offer. Surrender and submission to the God who made us is not a death wish but the wide open door to discovering what life is really all about. But if we don’t give God room then we are doomed to the gloom that results when my way trumps the Lord’s way on life’s highway!

 Here are some common mishaps of the modern man. There is the sin of believing that an earthly system can bring what only a heavenly Savior could provide. There is the sin of rationalizing your behavior to reinforce whatever attitude you feel like holding. There is the sin of believing the worst about another just so you can give yourself permission to harbor a grudge rather than building a bridge. “Love is patient, love is kind,” Paul said. “Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.” Selfishness will suffocate selflessness in every area that the egocentricity of the flesh is left to run rampant and out of control of the holy.

 We must be intentional about deepening our relationship with God if we want it to rise above a random behavioral happenstance. The important issues of life never really go away, but we’re tempted to only give them our undivided attention when they threaten the comfort zones we long to hide in. Sustained attention to the vital organs that make our heart strong and true is not our best suit. We need a little divine intervention to call attention to our secret indiscretions that need to be taken out into the great wide open. It is only when we are honest with our weaknesses will we ever be ready to entertain the transformation God offers when we surrender our wills fully to him. If it is ultimately our desperate struggle for power combined with our obsessive need to control that short circuits our ability to live and be free then how might it all change if we would finally come clean before God with a humble and repentant spirit?

 Human Beings have always struggled with their egos and pride problems. We all know by now that our species has a tendency to muddy the waters of morality especially when we long to justify doing what we want when we really should be about doing what we need! I have to be honest. I don’t really poke badgers with spoons but I do have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve and say what I believe and I do believe that as the church we need to be less creative about inventing new sins and more energetic about practicing God’s presence. The kingdom that Jesus came to institute wasn’t about of us being consumed with our own control and coercion. He came to turn his bride into a glowing and attractive “city on a hill.” We would be marked by our service and our love, and not by intimidation and legislation. It is an organism that is willing to suffer on behalf of others, unlike earthly organizations that are driven to use the population for their own political gain.

 Christians, it is time to spend less of our days becoming embroiled in “civilian affairs” so much so that we forget why we are still here. You know you’re too tangled in “civilian affairs” when you begin to hate or vilify people who disagree with your opinions. You also believe that bullying others into buying your values is your basic right and obligation. You find yourself in discussions where your need of being right trumps being reconciled. The kingdom Christ came to institute is a holy dwelling where only Jesus is the true ruler. But “holy” simply means that it is set apart for God’s use. It denotes every individual has submitted their hearts to follow after the Christ. The true and holy kingdom of God exists within submitted hearts who have hung all of their hope on Christ for impending peace and reconciliation.

 The enemy wants us to fear our vulnerability and turn us into wolves. It wants us to grow fangs and claws and learn to hunt in packs. The brokenness of the ones that make up the kingdom of God is its strength. When we become wolves, we may gain power, control and influence, but we lose the distinct comparative value of the Kingdom.  We stop being devoted sheep to our Great Shepherd and we become compromised and confused citizens dwelling in a dark valley where our biggest claim to fame is to poke badgers with spoons. It is time to pray. It is a season to take your faith seriously. Today is the day to make sure that we are wholly committed to the right king. Let your behavior reflect your highest beliefs. And rather than original sins, Christians need to become more sincere about following him and leave the badger poking days behind. 



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