Posted by Unknown on Saturday, January 9, 2010
There must be something about my face or my "rapscallion" persona that attracts the "true believers" and causes them to feel an overwhelming desire to pull me from the flames of hell. I would say thank you, but I won't.
I was minding my own business, not making trouble with anyone... Seriously! I was being good! And this "large-ish" woman with a bright sweater came to sit on the chair facing me in the crowded Doctors Office Waiting Room. I was reading an old copy of ESPN Magazine, trying to find some relevance in such an old issue when, Out of the Blue, "Excuse me, young man... Are you saved?"
Whoa! Is she talking to me? I look up and she is holding her New Inspired Translation of the New Testament and staring at me intently... along with everyone else in the waiting room.
Belief, Faith, the Nature of God, and the Savior...those are, for me anyway, very personal and private matters. Which is why I am taking my time on this blog post. I don't want to attack this woman's faith or enthusiasm. But I do have some very serious qualms about her propriety and self-assembled superiority.
First of all, it has come to my attention that some of my "acquaintances" and religious-type readers are under the impression that I am certainly going to hell... which is fine! I wasn't aware of a "Hell Bound List" being passed around among them. BUT! If there is one, and I'm on it then I am certain, merely by the character of the people who have made the list, I am in very good company.
Just because I don't wear "Jesus Attire" or have the appropriate number of "Jesus Flair" on my car doesn't mean I'm any less "motivated". I mean I'm at least as motivated as the lady smoking a cigarrette with her kids in the car and a "Jesus Is My Co-Pilot" sticker on her back window. I just express my devotion in other, non-carcinogenic and less tacky ways!
The problem with Born Again or Fanatical Christians is that they seem to mistake emotion and enthusiasm for knowledge and testimony. A good drum solo seems to be more important than a 10 minute introduction into the historical perspectives of the writings of Paul, who may or may not have authored all of the writings. And passion may cover up a lot of theological ignorance, but it's the ignorance that is manifest when you step out of the church into the real world, because honestly, we don't care how excited you are if you don't sound like you know what you're talking about.
And I don't mean to imply that passion, emotion and enthusiasm are wrong. But if you are asking yourself "What Would Jesus Do?" you would see in the Bible, that from the age of 12 he was STUDYING at the Temple. "Hmmmm. Read a book or watch NASCAR?" What Would Jesus Do? (I can read what Jesus did and I can correctly surmise what 95% of you did, too.)
And stop trying to pull an "OBAMA"! Just because a group of men decided you have earned your "Heaven Bound Medal" based simply on things you've felt strongly about and voiced a belief in, doesn't mean you don't still have to help. There's still a lot of good you could be doing before you go!
Just don't be too surprised if you end up living next door to me in the next life for wasting all of your time polishing your medal. I will try to keep the loud music from bothering you too much.
Imagine! All of these thoughts and responses rushing through my head as I tried to find an appropriate response to the "Have You Been Saved?" question. I didn't want to be as rude as she was being in asking the question in the closed-in and crowded front lobby of a Doctors office. It's like asking how much money you make, but worse!! Worse, because belief and faith are the two things a person holds in their heart as more valuable than monetary accomplishment. Money is good, but its our faith in God that allows us to move forward after the tragic loss of a loved one or immeasurable suffering due to sickness or disease.
You can't assume that a person is any less "faithful" than you simply because he is reading a two year old copy of ESPN magazine rather than a "dumbed down" version of the New Testament with lots of pretty pictures and inspirational music CD. Perhaps my studies were a bit more "inclusive" by actually reading the Bible and studying the Historical and Eschatological perspectives. And by looking at and studying different religions, I may have developed a broad and deep resevoir of knowledge to turn to when my heart was troubled so that I wouldn't have to lean so hard on passion and trite little euphemisms like "God will never give you more than you can handle."
I appreciate the womans enthusiasm... as long as she stays enthusiastic... OVER THERE!
So how did I respond? Did I unload this diatribe and sarcasm on her?
I simply responded,
And then ignored her. She quickly got the point. Just as it wasn't the proper venue to discuss Theology and Personal Belief; it wasn't the venue to lamblast rude behavior.
I may be an Ass, but I'm not a Jerk!