A Voice in the Shadowlands

I Dance a Fine Line…

I think most Christians will agree that there are churches out there that scare them. There’s a couple of them in my town that do it for me. One of the roads that I drive pretty frequently has a sign outside it. In big bold letters it proclaims, Prepare to meet Thy God! on one side and Know thy sin shalt find you out. Just cozy. I mean, doesn’t it give you the warm fuzzies? Now, I agree that we all should prepare to meet our Maker. Which can be scary or incredibly pleasant depending on where you stand and sins do have a rather inconvenient way of haunting you in one way or another, but this isn’t what I would call your best sales pitch. As a teacher in an elementary school, I quickly learned that scare tactics work…the first time. After that the sound and the fury tends to lose the impact and you end up with the precious little ones (or hellions as the case may be) either shrug off the ranting or mock you.

It reminds me of discussions I’ve had for years that Christianity is supposed to be offensive. Yes, it is supposed to be when you compared to the rest of the world. We are supposed to have the guts to stand for what is right, popular or not. This doesn’t mean, however, that we’re supposed to go out into the world and look for any little screw up to rub the KJV down someone’s throat. When you look at what Jesus did during the course of his ministry, you see instructional teaching as to what was right or wrong, broken down in ways that his audience could understand far more often than his righteous indignation. Were there times that he was a whip-cracking, table-turning, brood-of-vispers-calling ball of frustration and fury? Heck, yes. Oddly, though, those were towards the religious folks who thought they had it all together or to people blatantly disrespecting the way God’s house was used. Peter and Paul tended to pack punches on occasion, but it tended to be a balanced approach.

Now don’t get me wrong. I definitely agree that many churches have gotten to the point where they’re huge pushovers. The Wiggles have more backbone. This isn’t what we were called to be either. Again, Jesus and the apostles took stands and weren’t ashamed of doing what was right, whatever the cost (I mean, tradition holds that only John died of natural causes). There has to be a happy medium, though between the two. I think the current situation of the church causes some Christians to become reactionary in order to show that they aren’t like the marshmallow Christians. This in turn causes the fluffy Christians to expand their fluffiness like a microwaved Peep (and if you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do. It’s amazing. Peep duels are crazy fun as well, but I digress).

There’s an old quote that I think I get wrong but I still like, “I dance a fine line between heaven and hell, sometimes I soar but often I fail.” The Christian life is hard. It takes a delicate hand.

On a lighter note, I repotted my curry plant today. I hope she takes! I heard that this species doesn’t particularly like replanting, but it definitely needed it! And Becky’s curry recipe book came in today…Awesome curry-ness here we come!


One response

  1. Stephanie Curtis

    I am going out on a limb here because I never comment on stuff like this but here goes…

    Those signs bug the crap out of me too! Meredith was with me one day and saw the one that says “For the wages of sin is death”. She said “Mom, they forgot the good part… ‘but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Why did they leave out the good part?” So needless to say we had to have the… not everyone “does” church like we do… and scare tactics and beating folks over their head with scripture is often the way they try to “win souls”.

    My question for these folks is “How’s that working out for ya?” Have you seen how that particular church has grown from the “soul winning”? I can say in the last 10 years that it’s been there, little to no growth. I realize not every kid would pick up on that, but she could see right through the scare tactic. Probably only a handful have even had enough exposure to grace to be able to pick up on the “good part” of the scripture. I just wonder the number of souls that have been “wounded” as opposed to “won” by “Condemnation Theology”?

    9 August 2010 at 8:19 pm

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