Perfect or Passionate

An old story tells of a hopeful young bachelor searching eagerly for the Perfect Woman. Day in and day out the quest continues until finally he hits the mother lode — the Perfect Woman. She's unbelievable, with internal and external qualities surpassing every item on his dog-eared list. He's ecstatic ... that is, until one day his friend finds him mournfully nursing a lemonade at the corner deli. Of course, in the original tale it's neither lemonade nor a deli, but you get the picture. "Why the long face?" the friend asks. "You found the Perfect Woman ... you should be happy." "Yeah, but there's a big problem," moans the young man. "She's looking for the Perfect Man!"

Your spouse or best friend has no doubt discovered the truth by now. Even the dog knows it. Weighed in the balances of perfection, we all come up tarred and feathered.

The reality that we are not the only blemished gems in God's creation is fed by an ocean of data incessantly sweeping over all of us. With blinding speed, the Internet and other media continually confront us with the fallibility of politicians, professors, preachers and presidents. We are an increasingly jaded, skeptical, cynical society. We've witnessed sports heroes unmasked as charlatans, corporate icons turned to greed, religious pillars reduced to dust. And in the process, we've exchanged our rose-colored glasses for those of a darker tint. Far from expecting the best, we have begun to assume the worst.

Throughout my office are volumes of GLEANERS from the past century. Every so often, I coax one down off the shelf to join me for lunch. Sandwich in one hand, I step via musty pages into another time and place. Some might say they invoke a simpler, naïve view of the world and of our church. It was a time when Linketts were considered health food, H.M.S. Richards walked on water and Del Delker had perfect pitch.

But these pages also tell of innovative leadership — the kind of vision that enabled Northwest members to become leaders in supporting the church's mission around the world. They may not have been perfect, but they were passionate.

This September, delegates will gather in Walla Walla, Washington, for the North Pacific Union Conference constituency session. Leaders will be elected, budgets reported, and strategic decisions made.

As these delegates take their seats, it will be 10 years to the day since the horrific tragedy of September 11, 2001 — when, by the actions of a few, our world became somehow darker and filled with fear.

May God grant us the wisdom to revise this story with a better byline that reads: "On this September 11, 2011, by the actions of a few, our world became somehow brighter and filled with hope."

It can happen, one personal, passionate connection at a time. I won't ever succeed at becoming the Perfect Man. But you and I can share One who is with the world right next door and just down the street.

"Some might say they invoke a simpler, naïve view of the world and of our church when Linketts were considered health food, H.M.S. Richards walked on water and Del Delker had perfect pitch."

September 01, 2011 / Let's Talk
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