Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holy Mañana


When I was but a wee lad, a common joke that my parents and their friends would use was the term "mañana", which I seem to recall was from a popular song in the days before Elvis. Basically, it's Spanish for "tomorrow", but the term as popularized by the song was really a comment on procrastination.
Never do today what you could put off until tomorrow.
Procrastination is a way of avoiding difficulty; a methodology that works hard at not working hard (on something important). For example, I don't like that I weigh more than I used to. I could do something about that. And I plan to. Really, I do. Trouble is, I've been "intending" to get around to more exercise for awhile now, and my weight isn't waiting for me.

Mañana. I'll get to it. Eventually. And suddenly my pants don't fit like they used to. So, instead of taking that as a signal to do something about my weight, I just quietly buy the next bigger size of Levi's, and keep "intending" to get on it later. Mañana.

A lot of ink and blogging has swirled around the high-profile crash-and-burn of certain Christian leaders south of the 49th recently. I wonder if part of the problem was possibly a "Holy Mañana" approach. "Yes, I've got a problem. And I really DO want to change and be more Christlike. Holiness is important; I fully intend to deal with this. Mañana."

And almost unnoticed, the years go by, the good intentions still there but unacted on, and then suddenly el baño ka-BOOM (the bathroom explodes). No more mañana.

Some people blame it on the cult of Christian celebrity. Others blame the mega-church model. Some blame charismatic theology; others, a perceived connected to the emerging church.

A certain Seattle-based pastoral-type has gotten himself into a big cauldron of boiling yak paste by somehow connecting the situation to Fat, Lazy Pastor's Wives. Basically, everyone co-opted a tragic situation to flog their own pet whipping post.

Personal holiness isn't something we can play mañana with. If there's anything to be redeemed from the sordid mess of just a week or two ago, it's a recognition that personal holiness is a "now" issue.
  • Unforgiveness towards CLB (Church Left Behind).
  • Bitterness towards leaders/people who have hurt us.
  • Pride that keeps us justifying ourselves at the expense of reconciliation and relationship.
  • Anger that expresses itself in unGodly ways.
  • Selfish ambition that is the worldly opposite of everything that should characterize the Body of Christ.
  • (Fill in the blank here....)
Joshua told the people, "Consecrate (purify) yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." (Joshua 3:5) Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3, emphasis added)
Holy Mañana -- it just doesn't work that way.