Summary: This series is based on Mike Yaconelli’s book "Messy Spirituality and is designed to convince seekers that God wants their Nitty and Gritty lives.

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June 8 & 9, 2002

Matthew 10: 18-36

“Nitty Gritty …Meet Who I Have Become!”

There is a wonderful story contained in Robert Fulghum’s book entitled “Uh-oh”. The story is about a young elementary school student named Norman. Norman’s teacher announced that the school play for the years was going to be “Cinderella.” Many children were very interested in becoming the leading parts of the handsome prince and Cinderella. However, Norman was a quiet youngster. Fulghum relates that Norman wasn’t shy or bashful, he just didn’t do a lot of talking. Fulghum says, “Talking about nothing was a waste of time for Norman; he talked only when he had something to say. Norman had a mind of his own and was perfectly comfortable being himself.” All the real parts and some made up parts had already been given to the rest of the children in the class. Norman’s teacher said, “Norman, I’m afraid all the main parts have been taken for Cinderella I’m sure we can find an extra part for you. What character would you like to be?” Norman’s immediate response was, “I want to be the pig.” “Pig?” the teacher replied, “But there is no pig in Cinderella.” Norman replied, “There is now!”

Mike Yaconelli describes the rest of the story from Robert Fulghum’s book like this. “Norman designed his own costume-paper cup for a nose and pink long underwear with a pipe cleaner tail. Norman’s pig followed Cinderella wherever she went and became a mirror of the action on stage. If Cinderella was happy, the pig was happy; if Cinderella was sad, the pig was sad. One look at Norman and you knew the emotion of the moment. Fulghum writes, “At the end of the play when the handsome prince placed the glass slipper on Cinderella’s foot and the couple hugged and ran off happily together, Norman went wild with joy, dancing around on his hind legs and broke his silence by barking. The presentation at a teacher’s conference was a smash hit. At the curtain call, guess who received a standing ovation? Of course, Norman the barking pig. Who was after all the REAL Cinderella story. The script limited Norman. There is no pig in Cinderella.

Well the script did not include Jesus. The religious leaders of the day had already written the script that described the Messiah. A Messiah does not disregard his reputation, befriend riff-raff or hang-out with or in places where questionable people are. The Messiah does not break rules, he does not question their leadership, threaten their religious practice or act irresponsibly. What does Jesus have to say? Well, this Messiah does!”

That is why the Good-News is the Good-News. We are an equal opportunity faith. The door is open wide to everyone. There are plenty of scripts written by an abundance of playwrights in the church who are all too ready to announce that that there is no part in the Christianity play for those who wear earrings, have a tattoo, drink wine, have too many questions, look weird, aren’t baptized, have pink hair, have had an abortion, are gay, liberal or conservative.

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