I just finished Elaine Miller's book, We All Married Idiots, and discovered that, sure enough, she's right. David Bogdan married an idiot. Chances are good that you did, too.
Idiot: "common man" (or woman). According to the Latin root of the word, an idiot is one who makes common mistakes. The kind that are mostly unintended.
...leave clothes on the floor and the gas gauge on empty.
Forget to buy milk.
Say the wrong words at the wrong volume level.
Become addicted to things.
Don't pay the bills on time.
Collect useless stuff.
Toss out important stuff.
Watch too much TV.
Read books when they should be cleaning.
Idiots annoy. They exasperate. And sometimes, idiots drive people straight into divorce court.
Which is sad, of course. Idiots divorce idiots because they don't understand We All Married Idiots. But what Elaine pointed out is that, Biblically speaking, there is a difference between an idiot and a fool.
Fools harm willfully. They approach relationships from an arms-folded stance: I am fine the way I am. My problem is not your problem. It's not even a problem.
Fools refuse to get help, or to acknowledge the need for it. Fools can't be taught, because they can't hear instruction from those who could help them the most. Those closest to them. Those they continue to hurt.
Idiots stumble and fall, but they get up and keep running. They see marriage as a marathon. Fools see it as a sprint; when the exhilaration wears off, the race is finished. Or else it's finished by a fall, not by long and painful endurance to the winning line.
These are some of the things I learned from Elaine's book. Things I can apply to other relationships as well. Like the church, for instance.
I've scratched my head over certain practices of the church that scream of idiocy, and potentially harm others. How can they not see....? But at the same time, I have to admit, in the midst of what looks like Charismatic chaos, good things happen. Great things. Addictions are broken, bodies healed, minds renewed, and who am I to stumble over the idiot (common man) in the pulpit?
Who is the idiot here, and who is the fool? I fold my arms, thinking things could be done better. Wishing people would listen. Thinking I can't love them until they do.
It has occurred to me that most of the miracles I've seen in my life have happened at the hands of idiots. Idiots like Peter, James and John. Temperamental, power-hungry, clueless idiots like the disciples, who, after they fell, got up and kept on running, until they stumbled right into the resurrected Lord and then "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6).
There was one factor that kept those men from becoming fools: "everyone could see that they had been with Jesus." This is why the lame took up their beds and walked.
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).
And this is how the things I think are so lame in the church are actually putting "feet" to words and getting some things done--things that don't often get done in the places I prefer: smart, thinking, cautious, white-collar-neat-and-clean places.
It has to work that way. Hasn't God "chosen the foolish things (idiots) of the world to confound the wise" (I Cor. 1:27)?
And who is among "the wise?" Those with arms folded, saying ministry can't happen this way. Not in this fashion.
I have played the fool.
"The fool has said in his heart, there is no God" (Psalm 14:1).
When I see where thinking foolishly about my brethren in the church could ultimately lead me, I'll gladly be an idiot among idiots.