writing my thoughts has always been somewhat productive. i wrote for the school paper in high school and college, and might have gone on to get a journalism degree, but to get scholarships i chose music, and i love music. i always have and i always will. maybe i could be a music journalist, who knows…
so i’ve decided to try and write a book. don’t laugh, just read my little excerpt and tell me what you think. i could use encouragement and true critique. if it stinks, then tell me. if it could use some work, i’d like to know. if you like it, tell me. keep in mind this is an opinion, and is not true of everyone. it is true of me for most of my life. this is how it was, and only in the last 5 or 6 years have i seen this so very clearly. the things that i saw in my younger years, i’m now able to process, so without anymore explanation or fanfare, i give you an excerpt from my “book”
Do you remember playing “make believe” as a child? I think we all played the normal games of school, and if you grew up like I did where all of your mom’s friends had girls, you played house. Maybe you had a voracious imagination and were able to create worlds and dimensions that the rest of us only dreamed of. I created my own bows and arrows because I had this childhood dream of being Robin Hood. Maybe you played like you were a soldier or a movie star, a fireman or a princess. Either way, as children we learn to play and appear to be something we are not. It’s as if we are all on stage acting out our part. We were the super heroes of our own made up story and it was amazing to save the world before lunch.
But then we have to grow up a little and it’s not cool to play like we are G. I. Joe or Spiderman anymore, so we adjust the part a little. Our role changes. Like the ancient Greek actors we begin to put on masks to play different characters. We learn how to “behave” at school. We do the things that please our teachers in elementary. We hide who we truly are and begin to play someone else, especially during our adolescent years where popularity and pecking order are so important. We become who our peers think we should be. This drama continues on through high school and then on into college or work until we don’t really even know ourselves. We’ve learned to play this part, and we are only truly us when we are all alone. We learn the lines and we act how we think others expect us to act so that we might fool them into thinking we are something we are not.
So how does that affect those of us who grew up in or go to church? Well, we learn “the game” at a young age. There are specific answers, behaviors and rules that we must adhere to in order to “succeed” at church. You know the answer in Sunday school is typically “Jesus”! That will get a smile out of your teacher every time. As we get older, we listen and learn how to pray, how to glean nuggets from the bible, and how to fire off the latest Christian cliché. We become better and better at playing the game. Oh there may be moments here and there where we have actual encounters with God, but we still continue to play the game. We don’t realize that transformation is readily available to us through a transparent relationship with God. It’s difficult to live a life of transformation! It’s much easier to play the way we always have. I mean if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Certainly if we perform well and continue to follow the “rules”, we will make God happy? Right?
I think that’s where our problem lies, and it’s not just our problem, it’s plagued people from way back in the Old Testament. God doesn’t desire this act from us, in fact in Isaiah 29:13, He says
These people honor me with their lips,
But their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce
For they teach man-made ideas
As commands from God (NLT)
Jesus uses this quote in Matthew 15 when He calls the Pharisees hypocrites. The Greek word for actor is hypokritēs which means “a pretender”. So the question begs…how good are we at “playing our parts”? Notice the verse says “their worship is a farce…
1. an exaggerated comedy based on broadly humorous, highly unlikely situations
2. broad humor of the kind found in such plays
3. something absurd or ridiculous, as an obvious pretense
is this what our services and events have turned into? Absurd? Ridiculous? Pretentious? Are they sketch comedy, or have they become a stench in the nostrils of God rather than a pleasing aroma? How long will we continue to play the part of the fool?
this post is part of the Water Cooler Wednesday over at Randy Elrod’s Ethos