Even my Wife is Cynical
A friend was telling us about a recent encounter that a mutual acquaintance from our CLB had had — this out of some desire to not let their handling of the coals from the Lakeland fire (or however they put it) fizzle without becoming in some way evangelistic. Our friend thought about a book she picked up about how to stop making God look bad and I characterized it as a drive-by prayer-bombing, but apparently the subject in this case was quite touched and began coming to church. Allowing that God genuinely seems seems used the encounter in this case, I said that I still had a hard time making a pattern of an exception. My wife said that “of course,” this encounter is the one that will be continually touted as a testimonial, ignoring the other “fruitless” encounters (the ones that make God look bad). “Of course,” I replied. “It’s the post-conversion embellishment.” What a phrase, eh? If it resonates, what does that tell you?
Driving back from a country fair in a nearby town recently, we swapped a kid with our friends for the trip home so they could each ride there and back with a friend. In the back of our car was my youngest and her friend, who were playing “MadLibs,” I think it’s called. They have to fill in blanks with a random word (noun, adjective, teacher’s name, etc.) and then read it back as a kind of story that becomes funny due to the random blanks they filled in. Occasionally they would stop to clarify what an adjective or whatever really was, and eventually they asked me what a “celebrity” was. “A celebrity is like a famous person,” I replied. The friend, from the back seat: “Oh, like Bono!” My daughter: “Or Muddy Waters, he’s famous, right?” My friend and I were each proud of our kids.
It Tells You Something
I don’t know if it’s a commentary on how the Internet is replacing television, how short our attention spans are getting, how tired I was, or a little of all three, but the other day I set my laptop on the footstool and reclined on the couch to watch a seven-minute video online. Seven minutes, mind you. My eyelids got heavy and I missed the end.
Call it Detox
From another conversation — I was asked if I was sometimes with “church people” and felt like there was a kind of barrier between us. The answer is yes, certainly. The person who posed the question had felt an invisible “don’t-go-there” barrier with a certain pair in a larger group recently, so didn’t feel free to discuss matters of church (or non-church as the case may be). We got on the topic of how long it takes to get the pattern of church out of our systems once we leave. I likened it to the fact it didn’t take all that long to get Israel out of Egypt, particularly compared to how long it took to get Egypt out of Israel. Some of this stuff “sits” latent inside us for a long time… like a cleansing diet or course of antibiotics that you have to finish even though it runs longer than the illness seems to, otherwise it can just flare up again. It’s also a bit like detoxing from a substance like alcohol — getting the addiction broken is only a part of the process, and it takes much longer to make the cravings go away. Such is the path of detoxing from church.
Today I bumped into a leader from my CLB. He was getting ready to go to Lakeland, asked me if I’d been yet. Told him no, I didn’t think I needed to go that far to find God. “But,” he countered, “Don’t you think that God honours people who make an extra effort to go and meet him?” What would you say? I said, “I don’t have a stick-and-carrot God anymore.” Okay, this conversation never happened… but I kinda wish it had. ;^) I like that “stick-and-carrot” line… maybe I’ll get a chance to use it yet.