Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Selecting From the Buffet

Over the holidays I watched the movie The Wedding Pact, a charming low budget movie starring Haylie Duff which I recommend. You may be better acquainted with her little sister Hillary. As I sometimes do, afterwards I checked Haylie's Wiki page to learn about her background, career path, and beliefs. She turns 30 next month. Describes herself: "I am a Christian, but I don't see myself as a religious person. I see myself as more of a spiritual person. There are things I agree with in Christianity and things that I don't agree with. I'm not a regular churchgoer, but I do think that I have my own beliefs that I feel strongly about." Don't we all.

This is not to pick at Haylie in particular. In fact she should be commended for proclaiming her Christianity (especially in today’s mostly anti-Christian society). None of us are perfect. But more and more people take issue with this Bible issue or that Christian belief. While some issues are a matter of doctrine or interpretation, the basics of God's word are not to be tampered with. Some commandments are harder to follow. That doesn't mean they are to be thrown out. Picking and choosing only certain beliefs from the Bible - this but not that – is this not foolish and even blasphemous? Can someone successfully assemble a thousand piece Lego Star Wars Death Star by only following SOME of the directions? Can someone drive from New York to Los Angeles while consulting the road map only some of the time? Can a pilot fly a plane for very long when observing on just some of the rules of aviation?

Considering all that God has blessed me with and done for me, I have no problem following Him on His terms. I fall short in so many ways - but not because I deliberately set out on a different path.  

Deuteronomy 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.

Deuteronomy 12:32 See that you do all I command you; do not add or take away from it.

Revelation 22:19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophesy, God will take away from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

On social media more and more articles are posted about why people are leaving the church. Some think the church should not change with the times, others think that it should. Same with the music - some like the older hymns and hate guitars and drums. Can one way appeal to everyone? When Jesus walked the earth and taught his followers, His ways were new and revolutionary. What Jesus said and how He said it weren't the same old ways the people in His time were used to. Many were looking for the coming messiah prophesied in the scriptures, but many did not recognize Jesus as the fulfillment of those many prophesies.

Perhaps Miss Duff is on to something. Whereas she clings to her version Christianity, so many people today angrily reject the Christian Church -  and therefore reject God and Jesus. You see the outright hatred so clearly on the internet and social media, in their comments to articles on different topics: evolution vs creation, global warming/climate change, homosexuality and gay marriage, Chickfila, various articles about the church. While there was always a relatively silent slice of the population that didn't believe in God, now they have a platform to express their hostile opinions. What made these people so anti-God? Events that happened in their childhood? Rebellion against parents? Churches that delivered the wrong message? Someone at a church that hurt or abused them? Some non-believers think anyone who believes in God is an ignorant fable-believing fool. How can these non-believers be brought back to God?

They will have to see Jesus' love lived out, but God will have to open their hearts and minds. To break it down, there seems to be a growing divide in the church - cool vs uncool. Polyester vs. Denim. Why doesn't anyone get a tattoo of Leviticus 19:28? Thank God that Jesus' sacrifice freed us from the old law.

I just finished a book about being an introvert in an increasingly extroverted world, and it has me thinking. While it may be easier for an introverted parent or parents to deal with an extroverted child, I could see how extroverted parents could struggle to raise an introverted child. Would these parents who push their introvert greatness? To do things and stick with things they might have given up on this always good? Does every fish need to swim in a big pond?

Should a parent encourage their child to make an unchangeable, irrevocable decision that could impact the child's future - just because the parent is enthusiastic about the decision? Everything isn't for everyone. Profound, I know. Some parents allow their children to continually let their children experience things at a younger age than recommended. Some tweenagers have been attending the Passion Conference for years. While it is a great experience for everyone, the kid will be tired of it by the time their age group can attend.

It starts with being the youngest at a skate park. Riding extreme roller coasters when they're an inch shorter than the height requirement. Parasailing. Wearing teenager clothes at seven and skanky twenty-something clothes at 13. Haylie Duff started young, first taking dance lessons then appearing in the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company's The Nutcracker Suite at the age of eight. She starred in Addams Family Reunion at 13 and won an award for her performance (not sure if she's an introvert or extrovert).

But if a child grows up constantly experiencing things at a much too early age for their maturity is the result a constant hunger for even more daring and dangerous adventures? Could this lead to eventual rebellion, premarital sex, or perhaps drug use? What is wrong with waiting sometimes?   

One answer: following a well-rounded diet of God’s word – both the ecclesiastical broccoli and brownies, the spiritual steak and sweets.

No comments: