It's not a contest

Here's the most recent Blog entry I wrote for "Opening the Bible" at i.ucc. (You can go there to particpate in the discussion and comment too!) It's called "It's not a contest."

Does everyone want to be the best? What does that mean, anyway?
I have to admit it. When I play a game, or run a race, or compare notes with other pastors . . . I like to win. I know that competition over who finishes first or who has the best skills or who is the most successful at their careers can be very destructive – yet I still engage in the practice.I know this week’s passage (1 Corinthians 12:12-31a) very well. I’ve spent time reading it, studying it, preaching it and quoting it to others in conversation. (Thereby proving what a great abundance of knowledge I have about such things, therefore winning, right?) Yet I wonder if I’ve ever really taken it to heart.While this passage communicates that distinction doesn’t really make one better than the other, it does celebrate the distinctions. It celebrates diversity. This week I’m spending a week on vacation on the tropical island of Bonaire. I can appreciate the diversity here. There is diversity in people, culture, and also much diversity in the kinds of aquatic life I have seen. Though things are not perfect here in this wonderful location, it is as close to paradise as I’ve ever known. It seems as though the people work together without trying to be better than the other. It also seems that the underwater ecosystem shows how all its parts are precious and necessary for the system to continue.I get all that – and still I want to be the best. What is it about ego that gets in the way of respecting, celebrating and encouraging the gifts everyone has to share? Why does it feel unnatural to celebrate all instead of the winner? How do we get to the place where diversity is the celebration?
I’m so glad to be a part of this community. Thank you for what you all bring to it – I hope that we continue to celebrate the gifts we all bring to this community for a long time to come. (with no contests)

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