By Ron Wood
The Meridian Star
Looking across the front seat at my 7 year old grandson, I was surprised to hear him say, "I have 'pinions too!" I'd just said, "In my opinion, you're not ready."
What an interesting phrase, "I have pinions." Pinions are not opinions. Pinions are the wing feathers of an eagle. Just a child butchering a word? Or a serendipitous phrase now stirring rumination in Grandpa's mind? Hmm. Let's consider "o-pinions."
Everybody has an opinion. Some folks are quick to share. Others keep their thoughts close to the vest. Not me. Everyone has the right to hear my opinion! Many opinions are useless, like the unformed "pinions" of a 7-year old. Hard facts, the truth, experience — these can make life work — not invalid opinions from empty heads.
When it comes to church, everyone, it seems, has an opinion. Even those who are not entitled to have one, because they have never been part of a church, they still express an opinion about church. Hey, try it. You may like it. There's a flavor you're bound to like: from high church liturgy to youthful congregations to informal home groups.
Most opinions about church run something like this: "Church is irrelevant." "Church is boring." "People in church are sanctimonious." "The preacher always talks about money." And one of my favorites: "Church people are hypocrites." That's the pot calling the kettle black! To those critics, I say, "If you do find a perfect church,
don't join it — you'll ruin it." But we all know that won't happen.
Church is not for perfect people. Jesus said it wasn't the healthy who needed a physician, but the sick. All of us are born with an inherited fatal disease. It makes us sick in our souls. Being sick, we fall short of the mark of God's holiness, goodness, and glory. We need to be cured, which requires a lifetime transfusion from Jesus.
The fact is, the church is a gathering of people just like me and you: more or less saved; more or less good; but mostly well- intentioned. Modern church is a mixture of saints and sinners. Some church folks are very young believers. Others are not yet delivered from selfish, foolish living. Many believers persist in exalting their opinions above God's word so they remain deceived. Others have become mature, loving, and gracious because they submit to Christ who is living in their hearts.
Even eagles start out as dumb, ugly, weak nestlings. As for my grandson, yes, he does have pinions. In my opinion (and I know I'm right) he's a young eagle learning to spread his wings, eager to ride the wind, destined to one day soar high for God.
Ron Wood is a pastor, writer, and former resident of Meridian. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @RonWoodMinistry on Twitter.