Sunday, July 14, 2013

If you eat 'mor chikin, you might be "over-saved"

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When my mom was having surgery on her hip a couple of years ago, I was seated with my laptop in the waiting lounge at the hospital. This minister acquaintance strolled in, caught my attention and proceeded to plant himself down in the seat next to me. I knew I was doomed and might as well forget about using my computer or reading the newspaper online. He and I are at opposite ends of the theological spectrum. He probably thinks I'm barely saved and I feel the same about him, so I chose to just sit and listen rather than offer my advice or wisdom which would have gone in one ear and out the other anyway.

He was lamenting the fact that some folks only go to church once or twice a month. And then, all of a sudden, he turns and looks at me almost like I was one of "them" and he says, "I can't understand how some folks think they're going to heaven when they don't go to church on Sunday nights and they miss the mid-week service." Like the hypocrite that I was, I agreed with him because I did not want to get into a big theological argument there in the surgical lounge, surrounded by so many church people who, if they had to choose sides would probably have ganged up on me and beat me senseless with their Bibles. His last words on this subject were, "Where's their commitment? Where's their love for God and His Word?"

I thought of that encounter yesterday as I was running some errands and listening to K-Love on my car radio, The song, "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe came on and I immediately punched in another station because I really can't stand that syrupy song that every Christian is supposed to love. It got me to thinking that maybe I'm not saved. Because if I were saved, I would want to go to church on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. If I were saved, I would love "I Can Only Imagine" and wouldn't be switching to some pop song by Imagine Dragons. 

There are church folks who will question your salvation if they see you smoking. When I was a young youth pastor in Burlington, Vermont, I remember the senior pastor was on a tirade because members were smoking in the parking lot and stomping out their cigarettes just before walking into the church building. He had heard from some members that it was not a good "witness" to those who happened to drive by and see this horrible sight. So one Sunday, he's in the pulpit and says, "I better not catch anyone in this church smoking. You're ruining God's temple and it's a sin." From that point on, all the condemned smokers would wait until they were in their cars to light up. I resigned from that church a short time later and this was just one of the many reasons why I felt like I didn't belong there any longer.

Eat mor chikin
As Christians, we can be an awful self-righteous bunch. We so easily fall prey to setting up our own Pharisaical standards. Here are a few that come to mind. You might not be a Christian if.....
  • You don't go to church??(I used to think that and now I realize that there are a number of saints who don't attend church for various reasons, including some bad experiences. Renee and I went to 5 or 6 churches in this area over a period of several years before we found the fellowship that we currently call home. We also spent many a Sunday at home. I understand how condemned you can feel when you are exercising at the gym on Sunday morning rather than sitting in church.) 
  • You don't listen to Christian radio?!! What's up with that? Sometimes I listen to Christian radio but after awhile, it starts to sound like Christian muzak with a homogenized sound, and it becomes 'boring.' I know that there will be some reading this who will truly wonder about my salvation, but that's just the way it is. There are times when I think K-Love needs MORE energy, and that's when I punch in either talk radio or Maroon 5. 
  • You watch HBO?!! The typical Christian response is, "Are you kidding me? HBO. No way. I only watch the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Inspirational Network and the Worship Channel. Yeah but then you're going to miss "Game of Thrones." Actually, I think I would be better off spiritually, watching Game of Thrones on HBO than most anything that TBN has to offer. I try to stay away from the Christian "entertainment" ghetto because IMHO, it can mess up your head and your spiritual life.
  • You don't eat at Chick-fil-a?!! What's up with that? Don't you love Jesus? This may be a southern thing because there are no Chick-fil-a's in New England and I don't think they are out west yet, but I'm sure they're headed your way. Around here, it's almost a sin to not frequent Chick-fil-a because it's owned by Christians and they are closed on Sunday (the Lord's Day). I have nothing against Chick-fil-a, but I prefer hanging out with the heathens at Taco Bell or Dairy Queen. Besides, you can't get a Blizzard at Chick-fil-a.
I could list several more things that make others question your salvation, and maybe you could as well, but you get the idea. Now, hopefully, you realize that much of this post has mostly been written with tongue-in-cheek. I like K-Love radio and listen to it a lot. I also like Chick Fil-a but I've only been to their store one time because I'm not that into chicken sandwiches. Still, I think they are a great American fast food company with strong Christian values. I also believe that God has a purpose for the church and we need to be in community with other believers and not living as "lone ranger" Christians. But sometimes that's not an easy process and it's not always as simple as "If you truly loved Jesus, you'd go to church."

There is a point where you can be "over-saved." An "over-saved" person is just religious, and lives an insulated life apart from the world. He's in the world, but he's NOT in the world. To give you a funny take on what an "over-saved" person sounds like, watch this brief video from comedian Michael Jr (one of the funniest comedians around today!) It's less than 2 min. in length and will put a smile on your face!

                                  Christian comedian, Michael Jr "Over-saved"

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