Friday, May 12, 2006

Just Tell Me When It's Over

I am a bit of a weirdo. I confess this to you freely. If I am in a situation where someone is about to, or currently is, embarrassing themselves by saying or doing something foolish, I can't stand it. This is so bad that I cannot even watch television or movies with very much enjoyment. My wife recently rented the new Johnny Cash movie. I like Johnny Cash, but I couldn't watch the movie. Why? Because of the profanity or nudity or something "moral" like that? No, I don't even think that the movie had much of that in it. The reason I could not watch is because I knew Johnny Cash's real life story, and I knew that eventually, he would break covenant with his wife and they would divorce. I could not stand to watch that happen, so I left the room.

Today, as I was driving down the road, I was listening to "Christian Radio." On the program, they had folks calling in about various things. One lady called in and said that she had never realized before that Jesus was God the Father. She went on and on and on. I was about to wreck my car. I was literally begging the radio host to cut her off, to correct her. I was yelling like a lunatic in my car to people who could not possibly hear me. I told you I was a weirdo.

It got worse, after the caller hung up, the radio host tried to correct her. However, it quickly became apparent that his view of the Trinity was really no better than hers. He kept saying, "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three people" or that they are three separate "beings." Then, he would affirm that there is only One God. I was in hysterics. I was so horrified that other people might be listening that I was dying on the inside. I had to change the station before I had a total breakdown.

To further complicate things, I find myself being overly introspective perhaps. So, I began to analyze why this so upset me. It didn't take much probing to realize the answer.

"Self," I said, "the reason that this almost sent you into an uncontrollable frenzy is because you know that the average member of your church probably would not do any better and that means, at some level, you are failing them."

I live and labor with the understanding that many of those for whom I will give an account are fairly ignorant of the fundamentals of the faith. (Is this true, or just perception?) I am afraid that despite all of my efforts, my ministry may look more like slap-stick or tragedy than heroic epic. If my life were a movie, I would probably have to leave the room or shut my eyes and say, "Just tell me when it's over."

So that is partly why that radio show made me so uncomfortable. It is a deep-rooted sense that I am inadequate for the task that God has assigned me. However, I must say, that if you put a guy on Christian Radio who articulate the latest trends to grow a church but cannot articulate the majesty of the Triune God, then a pox upon you and your house! Not a deadly pox, just a rashy, itchy sort of pox.


MColvin said...


Having started this new S.S. Class about 6 months ago, I can somewhat connect with how you feel. The level and time at which you've experienced these things is nothing compared to mine, but I get the same sense, especially on those days when the stares are blank and the questions go unanswered. Speaking with the teachers (who are fantastic by the way) of the class we branched off from, they have these same exact feelings you do. I believe we just have to realize that God has called each of us to do our part within the church body and regardless of what you do or say, some people either have a really hard time getting it or just can't grasp it at all. These people are not due to your failure or any teacher's failure, but most often due to a sinful heart. Some people just don't want to know! That's sad, but it's the realization of the issue. We must continue on and pray that the Holy Spirit will convict hearts and give clear vision.

My rant for this Saturday morning.


Daniel said...

I think the reason so many of our congregation today are fruitless and barren is because the gospel they heard only saved them from "hell" and not sin. Thereafter they presume upon their salvation and have no more need of, or fear of God. He has served the purpose for which they came to Him (to be free from hell), the only reason they came to church in the first place is because they wanted to be sure their salvation had "worked" - and the only reason many of them stay is because it has become their moral habit, and it makes them feel better to come and hear that gentle old preacher talk about how saved they are.


chigbee said...

I definitly think that the church needs to know the fundamental believes of their faith. However, I think that the diversity of our own faith as seen in denominations is proof that we're all shooting in the dark just a little bit.

What would God do if there were no churches? No Christian bookstores? No theology scholars? How would we then no Him...I think He's bigger than our missing certain points of theology.

As far as Johnny Cash. It was frustrating knowing that he cheated on his wife. However, isn't that what grace is about...not the freedom to sin, but the ability to cover it. I'm not entirely clear on Cash's entire life story, but he became a Christain later in life didn't he? Shoot where do I pick up my stone?

Cal Wallace said...

I don't know Brad, I think watching a movie made of your life would be fun. Anyway, can I have your popcorn when you leave the room? And don't count on me telling you when its over; it would be more interesting to keep to you guessing. After all what are friends for?