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Saying “Thank You and Good Bye”

“In the essentials unity.

In the non-essentials liberty.

In all things love.”

John Wesley

“Good and bad, I defined these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow

Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now”

Bob Dylan    

    Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant from Japan who has written several books including her best selling The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.   She also has a hit television series on Netflix called “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” in which she goes to the homes of her clients who are in desperate need of organization and decluttering.  Kondo’s method of organizing is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering items together, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that, in her words, “spark joy” .  After separating those things from others that don’t spark joy, a place is found for those things that one wants to keep. This is applied to all categories such as clothing, pictures, tools paperwork (of course, allowances are made for things such as bills and other important documents), etc.  In addition to arranging by category items are organized in designated areas or places of the home in order to be used most efficiently. There is also a way that things are stored away, not haphazardly but strategically and in order. There is a certain way to fold clothes, a way to categorize tools, a way to organize books.   Objects, material and space are sacred and of intrinsic value therefore should be treated with respect and dignity. This philosophy comes in part from the spiritual practice of Shintosim.

    And what do you do with those things that don’t “spark joy”?  You make the conscious decision not to keep them and to properly dispose of them (i.e. give them away, thrown them out, etc.).  But it is not a matter of simply making a “throw out” pile and discarding them into a large brown bag. Instead she instructs her clients to be thankful for each item.  Express thanks for what joy or benefit it once brought you and be reminded of what it once meant to you. Be conscious that at one time you may have wanted this item or it may have provided you with something you wanted or needed at a certain time. And even if the item is a benign possession, somebody, somewhere put it together. So, according to Marie, you thank your old socks for keeping you warm, you thank that pile of books and magazines for providing you with entertainment, you thank that collection of knick-knacks for any memories associated with it.

     In our journey of faith in Christ there are some things that once provided us with stability and direction but may no longer serve that same purpose.  Speaking from one who has been in the “Evangelical” tribe for nearly 45 years I can say that there are some thoughts, beliefs, styles of worship and theologies that have served me well but no longer are held as core convictions.  Whether it be eschatology (theology about the future end things), soteriology (the study of salvation; understanding of atonement theories), modes of witnessing and sharing my faith, style of worship and what I practiced or didn’t practice, or  thoughts about other Christian traditions, I can say they provided rails for me to ride on. They served a needed foundation. But they are not the things I have saving faith in. I don’t have that kind of faith in any “thing”, not even the Bible, although I believe it to be a holy and God inspired book.  My faith is in a person who I believe and profess to be Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ. That is why the Apostle’s Creed begins: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”  That is hardly ambiguous.  

    There is a danger to live on the faith of yesteryear without ever renewing, reviewing or reevaluating what we believe or practice.  We can become lazy if we have the exact same viewpoints and understandings that we did 5, 10, 20 years ago. There are some things we keep because they are core to our faith in Christ and most of those things are found in the ancient creeds ratified by our Church Fathers; The Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.   Then there are what John Wesley calls the “non-essentials”, those things that we can debate and discuss without dividing the Body of Christ (e.g. mode of baptism, day of worship, gifts of the Spirit, etc.).  And then there are some things that we just say “thank you and goodbye.”

  What do you think?  How does it make you feel?