Sunday, October 11, 2009

Call Me the Prodigal Adam

I’ve gone to Oak Pointe church (in Wixom) the last couple Sundays. My workplace (Uptown Coffeehouse!) has been scheduling me on early Sunday afternoons, not giving me enough time to travel to my ‘preferred’ church home of Hope Community, located downtown Detroit. Oak Pointe has a lot of things going for it. It also has a few too many fog machines, stage lights, and large screen projections of the worship band or pastor. With that said, I don’t mind going there with the fam (Mom) whenever I can’t make the trek to Detroit.

Last Sunday, the church began a series on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (& our “Prodigal God”). The pastor is a quiet man and has a PhD and it’s evident in his teaching. My thoughts stem from his general teaching but don’t reflect his sermon directly. His teaching on the two sons involved in the prodigal son parable got me thinking. It got me thinking about how, for most of my life, I’ve thought of myself as the unhappy brother. You know the one: played by the rules, respected his father, didn’t have much fun. I easily identify.

But I’ve also come to realize that I’m the prodigal son. As I get older and realize that I’m not as great as I think I am, I realize that I need to return to the Father on a more consistent basis. I think for a lot of people (especially those outside Evangelical Christian homes), the opposite may seem more relevant: identifying with the prodigal son and then with the unhappy brother. What I’m realizing is that we all have a little bit of both brothers in us, both brothers need to be invited into the party. Good thing both brothers have the same great Father.

Transition that may or may not make sense:

The idea that both brothers had sin issues (even the “good” one) made me think of the story of Adam & Eve. It made me think that we all are fallen and we all suck at life. And for some reason, during church even, I had the sacrilegious thought that maybe the story of Adam & Eve was just a parable of the beginning of every man. That each one of us has chosen to break the relationship with God.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Adam & Eve never ate the forbidden fruit? I know I have. The parabolic reading makes me own up to my very personal decision to be a fool and sin against God. It helps me realize that I was seduced by that sneaky, slippery snake and sunk my teeth into that delicious fruit.

I don’t really think the story of Adam & Eve is just a parable. But I like the parabolic reading of it as well.

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