Blobs Of Glue & Perfectionism

Artist Stefan Sagmeister once reflected on how in his hometown in Austria there was an annual event called the Bregenzer Festspiele.  The Festspiele featured the performance of operas, concerts and theater productions, which were presented from a floating stage on Lake Constance. 

One year, an Italian production company designed the stage set for a performance of Mozarts Magic Flute.  The designers created a scale model of the stage, along with the drawings and instructions, and then left for Italy. 

When they returned, the Italians discovered the set was perfectly created as they had specified, with one exception.  They were flummoxed by the presence of several large "blobs" on the stage---none of which were part of the original design. 

What they eventually realized was that the contractors had so meticulously followed the plans they were given, they actually recreated the blobs of glue that were visible in the model. 

After I read that story, I couldn't help but think about how it illustrated the way far too many of us who call ourselves Christians often approach our faith. 

Like those contractors, so many Christians, in their pursuit of perfection, become too focused on following the "letter of the law" prescribed by a narrow interpretation of Scripture, the teachings of their church, or the traditions of their forebears.  

Eventually, they begin to sanctify these "blobs of glue" and inevitably include them in the "finished product" of their beliefs. 

What I've learned over the years is that if I try to achieve perfection on my own, I am bound for failure.  Or, if my faith becomes nothing more than a means to modify my behavior, it will become stiff, brittle and dry.  

Richard Rohr once wrote:  
We do not really know what it means to be human unless we know God.  And in turn, we do not really know God except through our broken and rejoicing humanity. 
God's own ideas of perfection when it comes to us are grounded in the brokenness and frailty of our humanness, which God embraced fully in the physical being of Jesus.  

God finds our frailty beautiful.  And it is in the "in-between" spaces of our brokenness that the Spirit of God dances and creates newness of life.  

May you be filled with rejoicing at the good news that you don't have to be perfect to win God's love.  God loves and accepts you just as you are. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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