You are not going to believe what I saw today. We were parked in the handicapped parking space at the school – waiting for the grandkids. The person parked next to us picks up her child and leaves. All of a sudden this SUV pulls in and I do a double take. The reason for this double look is that there is a blonde driving and hanging out from under the driver’s side of the SUV is this bright orange traffic cone. I had to turn away so she would not see me gasping for breath – laughing almost doubled over. You just can’t make this stuff up… I never would have thought to set this up… but all of a sudden there it was in our midst. She told the lady parked next to us that she “had no idea where she got that traffic cone.” This got me to thinking about the stereotypes – are they valid? and do we live them out.
I am a “PK” a preacher’s kid. The stereotype of us PK types are thought to be either ones that run afoul of the law – that is we go bad – rebel against authority, and the other side is that we become part of the “God Squad.” So, PK’s are either Goodie-Two-Shoes or greasers. I have known PK’s of both types, but I have also known PK’s who were quite normal… that is regular people. In my growing up years I was close to both camps. I was a God Squad-er in that I went to church and mostly enjoyed it. I was once the president of our youth fellowship. I tried to care for and respect all people. I was near the greaser group in that I was rebelling (as a teen) against some of the so-called church authority that spoke high and mighty but actually lived low and lousy. We spoke about loving each other but it was only if you fit into my preconceived notions of what acceptability was. The way back to a real world belief for me involved becoming a Marine (discipline), serving in Vietnam (a heavy dose of reality), college and seminary (learning systematic theology – why I believe what I believe), and forty years of serving hurting people in the real setting of the church. All of those elements taught me accountability, responsibility and humility. So I was a mixture of the PK types but not solidly in either camp.
Preachers themselves have stereotypes… shouting their sermons, pounding on the pulpit, going overboard on some theological tangents. Television preachers are the most laughable and bring the most damage to the church. Some of these healers are so unreal it is pathetic… but people believe them, follow them and support them. I think they must go to TV Preacher’s School somewhere… cause they all seem to be reading from the same script. The two major emphasis of these charlatans are “Healing” and the “Prosperity Gospel.” We call that playing to the cheap seats… giving people what they want to hear so they will come back and support your work. These guys hurt the church and pollute the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just because they can fill a football stadium doesn’t make them right at all… after all old Adolph filled a whole country with his speech and beliefs. You and I both know he was dead wrong.
Contrary to doubling over with laughter, bad theology and a lack of integrity in the lives of the preachers is deplorable and a sacrilege. The point we need to think about is it behoves us to know why we believe what we believe. Is it because some preacher said so… or is it because you have tested it in your own soul, mind and experience? What if the Christian stereotype became a person who grows into the full knowledge and love of Jesus Christ……… well, just maybe that already is who we are to become…
That is the essence of what Paul points to in his prayer for the Christians at Ephesus in Ephesians 3:16-21…
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Amen and Amen!
Grace and Peace