I had some blog post ideas set to finish up the 31 day challenge, but I’ve decided to scrap them and go with a few other things that are weighing on my heart……

The minister who I was talking about in http://tomvanderwell.net/2014/10/church-is-whoa/ also said something else that struck me yesterday.

We’re a “mixed nut” church.

Now I believe that in many ways he was referring to his particular church because they are very culturally, chronologically and economically diverse.     But I believe that applies to, or should apply to all churches.

Let’s look at what mixed nuts are.    Basically a can of mixed nuts is a little bit of this, a little bit of that, some of the other thing and a bit more of that type.    Truly a mixed variety of things all pulled together and put in a can.

Now they are all of the same basic type – they are all of the same family (the nuts) but they are all different.    The peanut is not like the cashew which is not like the……… (you get the picture)

And together, the end product is good.    It accomplishes what the label says and it has the ability to provide what people who look to it need – nuts.     Would I eat cashews if they were just in a can of cashews?   No, I wouldn’t.    But when they are mixed with other nuts, it all works well and I end up partaking of a variety of the ingredients. 

Church should be the same.    It should consist of people who are all different.    Short ones, tall ones, married ones, single ones, old ones, school age ones, employed ones, employer ones, unemployed ones, stay at home mom ones, sick ones, emotionally challenged ones, struggling ones, happy ones, worried ones, angry ones.    All should be welcomed and celebrated for what they bring to the church.

But  that’s where the church falls short of being mixed nuts.    Too often, we want to be a can of salted peanuts.    We’re most comfortable when we’re all the same.    We’re most comfortable when we don’t have to ask,  “What’s that?”   We’re most comfortable when we don’t have to deal with the nuts that don’t quite meet our taste requirements. 

That’s not the way that Jesus wants His church to be.  

Jesus wants us to embrace all of the mixed nuts in the group.    Celebrate the differences.   Care for the least.   Struggle with those who face struggles.  

And don’t leave anyone alone at the bottom of the can.    Because we are all part of the same family.

Join the mixed nut party.   It’s God’s plan and it should be ours too.

TJV