Thursday, October 14, 2004

Is your church "out of the mainstream"? Are you?

Yet another quick article from the Washington Post, this one dealing with a pet phrase of both electioneering teams: "out of the mainstream." The implication by this little verbal salvo is to suggest that the persons or groups to whom the phrase is applied are somehow weird, off-beat, or somehow excluded from what is "normal" or "central" to American culture. To those allegations, I only have one question.

Is that really so darn bad?

As a friend of mine once said, "It's sad when the 'Bugs Bunny-Roadrunner Show' had to retreat to cable channels, and 'Sex & the City' made it onto TBS." Do I really, really want to be a part of "the mainstream"?

Of course I do.

I mean, I'm not stupid...I have wanted to be "a part of the 'in' crowd" ever since someone figured out that there was an "in" crowd. And to be honest, I've always wanted to live the life of the moderately-well-off, and be able to just revel in pleasure-seeking, self-serving behavior like others I see doing it with impunity. If I thought I could get away with it, I'd have four TV's - one with the Cartoon Channel, one with the Playboy Channel, one with Food Network, and one with SciFi - and sit in front of them in sloth 24/7, eating cheese curls.

I just doubt I could stand myself, morally and spiritually, after much more than 30 days in that neighborhood. (If I could even keep from slipping into a diabetic coma with the cheese curls, that is.)

We don't often hear pastors preaching about how truly hard it is to be "in the world, but not of the world." Jesus told his disciples to "take up your cross and follow me," but I don't think he was expecting a stampede of followers, at that point. Why? Because they - like I, and many like me - were/are adept at taking "the easier, softer way." If it had been me in the Garden of Gethsemene, I would not have been the one saying, "If it is possible, take this cup away." I'm pretty sure I would have said something like, "Listen - You and I have evidently had a simply horrific misunderstanding...Sure, I said I'd follow you, but I never meant this!"

How, on this day, can I strive to be both in this world, but also an arrow or a pointer out of "the mainstream," and into the Kingdom of God? Lord God, show me how to live deeply in Your will, and not in my own for these 24 hours! Amen!

1 comment:

Rick said...

Hey brother,

I respect your honesty. Great post!