Thursday, June 19, 2014
Barking at Sheep
If you’ve read me more than once you are probably painfully aware there are more than a few things that tend to chap my pale hide. Since I’ve been on a “God,wut?” tangent over the past couple of posts, I may as well continue. Sheep can get complacent, muzzle down in the pasture. Sometimes a dog like me needs to sneak up behind one…and bark. So here’s the list in no particular order.
1. “I’ll pray for you.” Yeah, that little phrase isn’t worth the exhalation of Co2 it takes to say it if isn’t followed up with immediate action. Its right up there with the dreaded “How are you” greeting (the conjoined churchy twin of the “blessed and highly favored” response. For the love of corn flakes if we can’t be honest in church with each other, where then can we be? As if the Big guy doesn’t know your whole existence is circling the toilet as you speak.) If you’re going to pray – grab that person in front of you by the hand and actually do it. Agree with them right there for whatever it is – from heat rash to total devastation. If you’re not gonna do it, don’t say it.
2. Any cutesy talk about angels, from “God took your child because he needed another”, to “Here is an angel to protect you.” Like anyone’s life and death deliverance was facilitated by some ringlet coiffed, suspiciously large domed, lute strumming, diaper or cloth draped toddler with gnat wings. War isn’t cute. If you’re invoking the power of something mighty created by the Almighty then represent the truth truthfully. Otherwise, you’re just about as effective as a Facebook meme. “What kind of angel do you need? Oh a sparkly one. That’ll fix the mess I’m in. Oh yay. Click, share.
3. Defending your position with gore. In the age of graphic prime time fodder like “Bones” “The Walking Dead” and let’s not forget “Fox News” your dismembered, High Def horror is, no matter how personally wrenching and true, but mundane fare for the masses, especially if it’s already dead. Starving, mangled and or otherwise seriously compromised by this thing called planet earth roulette isn’t much better. I know that sounds harsh but most of your audience probably takes in multiple murders, crime reports, and stories of nature’s brutality in the 22 minute span it takes them to slurp a boxed dinner and stare sallow eyed at the nightly news report. Peppered and mixed as that report is with commercials for class action law suits against pharmaceutical companies, and sex/mood/life enhancing products pedaled by other pharmaceutical companies. Death without the promise of life is hopeless and your efforts, though well intended only promote hopeless. It will take more effort and you won’t get as many little likes on your interweb post but show the victory. Better yet, get out there yourself and feed the hungry, clothe the naked and offer real help to parents and children who face fear you cannot imagine. While you’re working, if you must share your Instagram moment – try doing so without including a selfie. It isn’t about YOU anyway. It’s about them.
4. “I don’t need church, church people are hypocrites. I just need nature. That’s my church.” Hello. You’re a human. If you were perfect, you probably wouldn’t be sitting under that tree somewhere because you’d be making billions of dollars, curing cancer, and coming up with classroom desks that repel gum because you are perfect. Since you aren’t doing that, and you are sitting under that tree, you obviously didn’t pay much attention to the Creator that created the creation you’re using to avoid the creatures the Creator created you to buddy up with. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying creation and finding evidence of God in it but faith is multifaceted. Submission to others, assembling with believers, forgiving etc. is all part of it. We are all hypocrites and we all are commanded to forgive and to love everyone. Even the church folk you’re trying to avoid by sitting under that tree. Make the effort, find a body of believers, be teachable and be usable. Otherwise you can sit under that happy tree and all you will be is fertilizer.
5. Fighting a social firestorm phenomenon with peashooter scripture tidbits. Yes, the Word of God on the tongue of His people is one of the most powerful weapons of mass destruction in the universe but wielded at a nonbeliever can be as effective as swatting a wasp nest with your Tinkerbell wand. If you are so consumed with passion that you MUST engage the minions with your defense of all that is good and true – go for the kill shot with a weapon they can’t block. Don’t take on De Grasse Tyson’s number one fan with your stock excerpt from Genesis. Do your homework. Find an expert. There is a dancing plethora of really smart Christians out there in every field from neurobiology to quantum physics. Educators and thesis brandishing peeps with doctorates. Scientists who love science and love God and can articulate a truth without flame wars or financial support from Kirk Cameron. Find one of them. Post a link. Walk away. You’d better serve creation by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and comforting the comfortless than by vehemently pontificating your position on creation, anyway.
6. Misrepresentation of God’s people by random acts of stupidity and or sheer ignorance. This includes those of you Taitboys bumping, ichthys flaunting, stick family sporting holy highway rollers who drive like you’re three laps back in the Indie 500. I bump Taitboys too. Often. I also pay attention in traffic. God gave you a big ole frontal lobe. Use it. This category also includes passionate peeps who suffer from all manner of lapses in things like proper spelling, wild swings in position “Oh glory I just love Jesus I am so blessed yada yada yada to I am just a miserable worm undeserving of existence.” Don’t ride the fence. Don’t be lukewarm and don’t be afraid to rejoice but wow. If your written skills are abysmal – stick to warm fuzzy memes, ok? Lolcatese is only cute-ish if plastered under the furry visage of some domestic feline. Paired with a human speaking of the most high God? No. God uses real people for real action and so does the enemy but sometimes we face plant all by our little selves because we don’t watch where we put our big flat feet. Unless you like the taste of toenails – you must employ smarter tactics than your adversary or at least engage your audience if that is your only goal.
Rest assured I’ve engaged in pretty much every lapse of reason, inadvertent display of character flaws and flat out stupidity induced myopia listed above and more. I’ve judged, I’ve ridiculed and I misrepresent – often. That’s why I come to you now – friend Christian. Take it from a girl who has “Epic fail” written in India ink on her forehead most days. Talking the talk is a waste of breath if you aren’t living the life. God is a gentleman. He won’t call you names. He won’t even send a sheep dog to nip your woolly errant hide. I do that of my own volition because I love you and I want you to succeed. You can’t be perfect – but we all can be better.