You know what it means when a guy asks you if you are one of those "Once saved, always saved" people? It means they are about to label you a heretic and an idiot, so they can walk away feeling bigger than you. I was in Taco Bell last Wednesday with my students. An old man asked for the guy in charge, actually he asked one of my girl staff members who is above her as if she could not possibly be in charge. I came over and spoke to the guy and he asked me plenty of theological questions and challenged some of the ways that my church does church. He asked if we were one of those liberal churches. It is never a good thing when someone uses the word combo, "One of those." It is never followed with a positive comment. I asked him to describe a liberal church. He said, "One of those that eat in the service and stuff." In that case, we are not a liberal church, but only because there are no food or drinks allowed in the school auditorium. He spoke with a long and drawn out southern accent and for a guy his age, he still carried a certain bravado and confidence. He told me to watch that these kids didn't drag me into the world with them and asked me with pomp in his voice whether these kids were pretty messed up as he noticed how they looked. AHHHHHH! I love it! I love it folks! I love it when it all comes back to how we look. I love it when people ignore the whitewashed tombs comment Jesus made. I love it when people actually think that God prefers a Men's Warehouse suit over a JC Penney one. He would have had a heart attack if he saw what some of us actually wear to church. I love it because it gives me a chance to share with people what the gospel means to me. Not that he wasn't saved, I don't doubt his sincerity. But I love to share the gospel as I know it, even if that story is offensive and doesn't make a lick of sense.
Like when Jesus ate and drank with sinners. They called him a drunkard and a glutton.
When Jesus went to the house of a tax collector. He was a common criminal.
Like when He cast the demons out of that wild man. They asked him in fear to leave the region.
Or when He defended a woman caught in the act. We all know the act. They walked away ashamed, but instead of change, they plotted His death.
The world needs to learn that the Gospel is much bigger than sweat box churches with arm pit stained preachers screaming. (Tongue in cheek because my arm pits sweat like the MGM Grand fountain) The Gospel is accessible.
I used to go to lunch at a local deli when I worked at a factory some time ago. Every day, a local pastor would eat there and keep looking at me. He looked like Fire Marshal Bill to me, so his staring would kinda creep me out. Well one day, he approached me and sat down next to me. I studied body language for a spell for reasons I will not share today. He came at me in dominance. He took the head of the table between me and the door. He shook my hand, turning mine over, exposing my palms so he had the upper hand. He looked at me straight in the eyes without looking away, which in some cultures is aggressive, in others it is sexual. I hope it was just aggression. He looked at me and began his speech about Jesus. I was a believer, willing to die for my faith. I stopped him when he got to "Do you know who Jesus is?" I said yes and explained that I was a believer. He looked at me, then down at my arms that had tattoos covering my epidermis. If he would have read what it said, he would have seen, it was a quote from Ephesians 2. If he read my t-shirt I was wearing, he would have seen that the very same verse was printed on the back of it. He couldn't see past his judgment. He denied I really believed. He wasn't so sure I really understood the Gospel. So I explained it to him. I explained that I believe that Jesus paid for all of the world's sins. That He demands belief. That His Spirit changes us and seals us for the day of redemption, when we are made perfect. I explained that the Good News was that you didn't have to look perfect or never make mistakes to be forgiven, that the work of forgiveness for me was already done. That made me one of those, "Once saved, always saved" types. He looked at me and still did not believe. So I apologized for not looking the way he would expect a Christian to look and walked out the door and back to work.
It made me sad.
I saw this same guy in the mall last weekend wearing a Tapout shirt, which made me laugh until I peed in my heart, which probably would have made the Holy Spirit angry being it was His home if he weren't laughing too.