Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Accept Jesus and Die


I drive past so many church signs, but this one almost caused me to wreck:
COME AND DIE!
What an invitation! I am sure they will have a big crowd for that sermon. It just sounds creepy. I wonder what the follow up sermon will be next week: Carry Your Own Cross in Pain and Suffering, or  what about, You Will Be Persecuted!, or God says, "I Want Everything!"


Some loony Fundie (Urban language for Christian Fundamentalist) must have taken over the pulpit of that church. I wont be surprised if we soon see bonfires encouraging people to burn Korans, Crude Music and Adult Rated Movies.

When I got to the red light, I glanced back to make sure I read the sign right. I did. I shook my head and then rolled my eyes in disgust. When will those preachers ever learn? That is not the way to win people to Jesus. People have to know:

  • He loves them, 
  • He will heal them, 
  • He will always be there for them, and 
  • He wants to be their friend. 
The little children's song started playing in my mind, "Jesus loves me this I know, because the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong...yes, Jesus loves me..." As it trailed off I laughingly thought about what that church might be teaching their children to sing, "Jesus loves you, come and die, Sunday Preacher will tell you why, Expect to suffer and some pain, Your life will never be the same... yes, Jesus love you..."

I continued down the familiar road home, my driving was on mental cruise control. I instinctively knew every bump, stop or turn. My mind drifted back to that church. Newer popular churches have learned how to attract people to the gospel message. A successful church aims to get as many people as possible to come to their church by creating a memorable, appealing experience. Even the church names are chosen to sound inviting: Willow Creek, The Vine, Coastlands, Saddleback, Grace Street and Pleasant Valley. In my memory, I thought back to picture the name of that church, The Cross. Oh, well that was a winner! Why not call it "Two Bloody Beams Nailed Together"?

I finally arrived at my home sweet home, ready to plop down after I opened the door. I rattled around my purse as usual digging for the keys I just took out of the car. Panic hit me... oh, no... maybe I forgot. Are the keys still in the car? Flinging back to the driveway I peered through the window to see no keys in the ignition, but I was grateful I left the doors unlocked. Pulling across the front seat I slid my finger between the console and the seat. Yes, I felt the dangling metal objects that slid between some old piece of paper. Drawing them both out, I rested back in relief. I began to open the worn, tattered flyer. 

Seeing it, I remembered it was a piece of paper that someone slid under my windshield a while back when I was shopping one day. I looked at the quote in the center of the paper. It was an invitation from Jesus. An actual quote from the Bible! I read:

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

As I stared at the words printed on that tattered piece of paper, the words "Come and Die" echoed in my head.



(This is a fictitious story written after being inspired by the book, "Not A Fan". I highly recommend that you read it!)

3 comments:

  1. Wow - you made this all up? It reminds me of funny church signs I'm used to seeing around here. One was "Body Piercing Saved My Life".

    Haha...

    ~ Amanda

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  2. Amanda, you know me, and writing fictional is not my normal style. It is funny because being a truth teller I don't like to say something that didn't really happen, but I can see how story form gives you a way to make a truthful point that is less confrontational. I am really going to have to grow in this area! "Making up stories" sounds like "lying" to me. You know, can't you here a mom or dad say, "Now don't you make up no stories! Jist tell me the truth. WHAT really happen?" ha ha ha

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  3. I know what you mean! I thought about this when I used the phrase "made this all up" - it didn't sound like the right way to describe a fictional story like this.

    It is interesting to see how parables (Jesus appears to have "made most of those up") tend to be such a great way to communicate a truth. It's not uncommon for me to think of a fictional story I've read or a real life childhood story of mine when I'm trying to convey a message.

    There's just something about stories.

    As long as it is not being flaunted as a "true story" when it's not, or doesn't slander someone else's character, it really isn't lying or being lazy.

    ~ Amanda

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