Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Me in the ninth grade and the modern evangelical church...lots in common

One of my more embarrassing, yet vivid memories is liking a particular girl when I was in ninth grade. I wanted her to like me so bad...

I tried to dress in a way that would impress her. I bought a particular kind of sneakers, at no small expense (thank you very little Michael Jordan!), attempting to show how important fashion was to me. I wore a particularly nice pair of parachute pants from Chess King- not the "fake" kind you could get at K-mart. I even did my best to "mullet-ize" my extremely curly hair (I looked like a white Buckwheat with a poofy squirrel on my neck). Man, how many tubes of Clearasil and Oxy did I use trying to "clear up" for this particular girl?

I talked differently to her, in a way that was not myself. I was testy around my family hoping she would call me back after I'd leave a message at her house. I would snap at my sister or mother if they were on the phone during the magic time she might call (she rarely did, if ever). I actually blew off my friends a few times in hopes that I would get to talk with her or go out with her. I wanted her to like me in the worst way.

At school I would go way out of my way to try and cross paths with her. I would try to get close to her table in the lunch room. I would try to get close enough to crack a joke or otherwise show my quick wit in hopes she would like me. I'm embarrassed by how much energy I spent trying to get her attention- trying to attract her to me. I was just sure I could win her over if I became someone other than myself- I figured I had to. She wouldn't simply like me for who I truly was.

My poor mother. She tried to tell me I was making a fool of myself. It had to be hard for a mother to watch her son not be himself. She had to think, "what's so bad about my son that he thinks he has to be somebody else...how could she be worth him becoming someone he isn't"?I know my mother thought the world of the true me. It had to frustrate her to watch me act like a fool to attract a girl who just didn't like me. Such things are hard on parents, no doubt- when their kids abandon themselves for the sake of someone who doesn't like them.

As I look at the broader evangelical church and all it's efforts to court and attract the so-called "unchurched" and "seekers"- changing what it is designed to be in order to make them like her- constantly apologizing for this or that-doing all manner of foolish silly things to get their attention...I know just how my mother felt watching me.

When will we realize that the Church being the Church is what God uses to win the lost to Himself? By all means, let us reach out to the world- but let's not suppose we have to be someone we're not to see fruitful ministry. The only thing we get by being someone we're not is the wrong girl liking us. Think about it.

10 comments:

GUNNY said...

Great analogy. I can relate. However, I can't relate in that you only had one girl you went through this process with.

I was guilty of multiple offenses, but I've always been a slow learner.

grj said...

Thank God for this biblical church.I hope and pray that we continue to seek to please God before we seek to please men.Thank God for His Word and the sound, clear exposition we are blessed with, and our Pastor's obedience to God's commands.amen

Frontier Forest said...

Today’s devotional, from John MacArthur’s Daily Living, may not tie directly into Tony’s candid and humorous escapades of trying to fit in and not offend but there is certainly a common thread here. And I believe it’s importance must not be overlooked. MacArthur’s says, “False leaders, teachers and prophets always appear pleasant and positive. They like to be with Christians, and they know how to talk, and act like believers. False teachers and leaders usually exude sincerity and thereby more easily deceive others (see II Tim 3:13). But you can identify false teachers’ true colors by noting what they do not talk much about. They usually don’t deny basic doctrines, such as Christ’s deity, His substitutionary atonement, the sinfulness of humanity or that unbelievers will go to hell. They simply ignore such “controversial” truths. But whenever a false teacher, leader or prophet is in your midst, you must not ignore his presence or the harmful effects of his heretical teaching.”

rgmann said...

Please tell me that's not how you won Shari over...with parachute pants and a mullet!

AJF said...

Oh man...Shari would have been totally repulsed by me in those days.

I managed to straighten up enough to woo her...only after she said "I do" did she realize what she had done!

Kampfguppa Hoppa said...

Water down/change or eliminate the gospel message as not to offend the 'unchurched' or 'seeker' and then the modern evangelicals can say, "They love me, they really love me..."

BTW- Is there really such a person as a seeker?

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I started looking for--and found--a church like Redeemer. I was being told that traditional worship was out of style, that in order to grow, we had to go more contemporary/casual to attract young people, and unchurched people. I felt like we were preaching to people who weren't there, and I felt guilty because I wasn't 6 people.

AJF said...

Mr. Brit! Good to see your name on here!

NO, there really isn't such thing as a "seeker", except the one who is being effectually called by God...if you want to call that person a seeker.

William Perry Guilkey said...

Like Gunny, I am a multiple offender (even at the "ripe old age of 40"). It's about time to make my appointments for hair implants, liposuction and porcelain veneers. On second thought, I'm too tired to pick up the phone! If there are any pictures floating around of the mullet-headed, parachute pant wearin', old-school Air Jordan high top wearin' "T-Dog" Felich, I would love to see them! I wish I could be more "spiritual" with this post but I just don't have it at the moment, so maybe I'll just "keep it real." On two unrelated notes, how could you leave Byron Nelson off of the choices in the survey (his streak was impressive) and Phil Rizzuto will be missed but there is no way he is a "Hall of Famer" strictly for his "on the field prowess." He was a product of the Yankee dynasty. They pitched around many of his teammates and his lifetime stats don't "blow me away." He is in the HOF because of his broadcasting abilities (in my opinion). Product of the system. Good ballplayer, NOT a hall of famer. (And, I'm not a KC Homer just "hating" on the Yankees. Lou Gehrig is my "all-time" favorite player and he played in the Bronx.)>

AJF said...

Oh my...William!

A Scooter hater? How could you? I'm devastated by such comments! I can't even type I'm so...