My brain is hyperactive. Since I was very young, I have tended to notice nearly everything and then spend great amounts of time and much mental effort trying to sort and process everything. I often feel like a ministerial version of Charles Xavier in the comic-book invention Cerebro, holding the sides of my head and gasping in pain at all of the voices.
So many denominations, so much variance in positions of theology, so many different philosophical views, so much point and counterpoint.
Because of that, moments where everything becomes quiet and crystal clear are precious to me, so very, very precious. I had one of those moments a couple of days ago, and I am still basking in the glow of it.
It had been a Cerebro kind of day. I had gotten an unsolicited, argumentative email from a proponent of baptismal regeneration, the belief that people are saved through baptism.
Whether you agree or disagree with that doctrine (I firmly disagree), please understand that the man who sent it is part of a small group of like-minded men who have the charming (please read that word as I intend it: dripping with sarcasm) habit of bursting into the services of churches with whom they disagree and causing a scene. They shout the preacher down, wave video-recording devices in people's faces and make general all-around donkeys of themselves.
I have never understood why anyone would consent to sit under a pastor like that. I myself would be embarrassed to admit to anyone that my pastor was rude, obnoxious and unChrist-like, and yet I gave him and the church my support anyway.
I dealt with the braying emailer, and then went about my day. But my hyperactive brain was by that point in overdrive. I was wondering how the world could ever be won to Christ if they see such verbal incontinence and behavioral immaturity in those that claim his name.
My moment of quiet, though, was not long in coming.
There is a precious lady in my church who is now in hospice care at home. Her husband passed away just a week ago, and she and the family are still reeling. We expected to lose her first; she has been fighting a losing battle with cancer. My wife and daughters and I went to visit her; we intend to do so pretty much daily as long as we have her.
When we arrived, a smile crossed my face as I saw a goodly number of recognizable vehicles in her driveway, cars and trucks of church members.
We walked into the home, and I had to stifle the desire to simultaneously gasp and shout hallelujah. This dear sweet lady, one of the most precious women who ever lived, was lying there with her bare, gnarled feet in the lap of a sweet young lady from our church. This young lady was tenderly massaging her old feet, rubbing oil deeply into them.
I do not know how you feel about touching the feet of another, but throughout history it has been regarded as a very unpleasant thing. So much so that, in Bible times, it was always the job of the lowest servant in rank to wash the feet of others. And yet it was none other than Jesus himself who, in John 13, lovingly lowered himself and washed the filthy feet of 12 men, including the one he knew was about to betray him.
He then said in verse 15: "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." He went on to say: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
Real Christianity was on display. It was not to be found in disrupting the services of those with whom people disagreed. It was not to be found in seeking an electronic battle of wits. It was found in a humble young Christian lady tenderly rubbing the feet of a precious elderly lady who needed some comfort.
I left that home that day feeling as if I had just stepped onto holy ground and had an audience with the King of Kings. And I was reminded again that theology properly applied always culminates by expressing itself as service and sacrifice.
That is simple enough to take the most cacophonous of days and make them as peaceful as a mountain meadow.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.