There are many times as a Christian apologist
that people see my mind. In fact, it is expected. Sometimes, we are told that we intellectualize the faith and leave no room
for emotion. That is not so. We are real people. While many times you do see my mind, in this article I intend to give my
You will have to see two events in the past to understand where all of this will go. Several months ago the
Mormons came to our church and sat in the pews like regular visitors. Afterwards, myself, another friend, and my friend Rodney
went up to speak to these two.
My other friend Jeff has an interest in apologetics like I do. Rodney had little interest
then if any. Most of my talk just glazed over. Needless to say, the Mormons did not want to tangle with Jeff and I again though
and I understand my name especially kept popping up when they visited members of our church. This event also got Rodney interested
in apologetics and he is learning very well.
The other event is a regular occurrence but every Sunday night after
church there is a Baskin Robbins nearby that I always go to. I always order the same thing, two scoops of peanut butter and
chocolate in a waffle cone. The Sunday night before writing this, I had been asked to preach at my parents's church since
their preacher was out. I went gladly.
I had another friend, John, to take somewhere else after the service and on
the way home I took the route by that Baskin Robbins. It was Sunday night. I had to. I didn't want to make John wait though
so I just went through the drive-thru. I went up and when they asked my order I said "Your usual Sunday customer!"
shook his head shocked. "Nick, come on." Then came the reply from the other end of the drive-thru. "Two scoops of peanut butter
and chocolate in a waffle cone?" "Yep!" I answered. John couldn't help but laugh. As I went through they asked me "Why aren't
you coming inside tonight? Where's your other friend?" (Rodney usually comes with me.)
Enter the night of this article.
I go to church with Rodney after being at my house all day for our usual bonding time. Our pastor comes to me and says the
Mormons have been in his office and they asked for 10 minutes to speak to the congregation and share their "gospel." He told
them they'd have to talk to me. They refused and eventually left. Sadly, I never got to talk to them.
Yet it was the
topic tonight largely at church and I thought about it much. I say this as nicely and gently as I can but with a sadness in
my heart. We have failed. We have not been the church. I believe the Mormons should have been scared silly to enter our church
but I see they weren't and I doubt they'd fear many churches.
It made me think that we have been complacent in our
faith. We have an ocean of truth to dive into and we are on the shore building sand castles we think are pretty and thinking
we're accomplishing something. We have a feast of theological and biblical meat before us and we're eating baby food.
think about the Trinity. I am sure most people at my church could not accurately tell me what the Trinity teaches and definitely
could not defend it. That is a serious problem. No wonder so many people are so confused about it. So many objections I meet
against it are rarely against the Trinity I believe in. It's people's own misconceptions about the Trinity.
I have only heard one sermon at a church on the Trinity. The sad thing is that I was the one who preached it! I preached a
sermon on the Trinity at my own college for the Sunday night chapel on the hill with Colossians 1:15-18 as my text. The audience
was very favorable. I wish more people would preach on it. Christian apologist Greg Koukl has also noted the lack of preaching
But I also think that we have failed in how we've been to each other. You know what? I get sick of what I
call "church language." You go to church and everyone is saying "Brother so-and-so! Good to see you!" "Good to see you too!
Isn't it good to be in the house of the Lord?" "Amen! Praise the Lord!"
Did you ever see that Jim Carrey movie "Liar,
Liar."? Jim Carrey is a lawyer who leads a selfish life where he twists the truth whenever possible until his son makes a
wish on his birthday that comes true that for one day, Jim Carrey cannot tell a lie. What would that be like if that happened
"Are you glad to be here brother?" "No. I'd rather be at home catching up on sleep instead of getting up
early in the morning."
"How's God been to you this week?" "Life stinks and God isn't there and please go away."
the Lord!" "Yep. Praise the Lord even though my own family is falling apart and my job is going down hill but I guess I gotta
I'm afraid we're putting on church faces a lot. If we can't even be real within the church, how do we expect
to be when we're outside it? As I have told Rodney, I wish people would speak like they always do when they come to church
instead of taking on some new spiritual language and outlook.
But the reality hit home as the last thing I remember
hearing was about our men's retreat. We were told there was no excuse for someone to not go. I was sitting there and one might
as well have stabbed me through the heart hearing that. Why? Because I have my own personal areas and I did have a reason
why I wasn't going.
Yet as I heard what was said, I felt like I had been deemed "less spiritual," and to an extent,
that wound is still there. As I told Rodney, "I know he didn't many any harm and didn't realize what was saying but people
have to watch their words. You never know what the people in your audience are going through."
I left there with a
sadness naturally and went to the Baskin Robbins as usual and got in to find they started preparing my ice cream as soon as
I came in. They don't even have to ask any more. They even started carrying that ice cream again because I asked for it.
as I sat there with Rodney the sad thought suddenly struck me. "Rodney. These people know me better than the people at our
church." In fact, in a way, I feel safer among them. That's even weirder because it's always the same three young ladies and
I'm usually terrified around ladies.
Rod and I like to listen to the comic lyrics of Weird Al Yankovic in my car.
When the music they have at Baskin Robbins matches a Weird Al song, we'll be prone to sing in his lyrics instead of what the
song is singing. There's not really any shame. However, I cannot seem to sing a peep at church. I don't really know why entirely.
It could just be an issue at trust. It's been that way for a long time and before coming to my present church.
We've failed. It's time to get serious. It's time to open up. Most of all, it's time to be real. We've been playing the game
of church instead of fighting the war. At least most people play a game they play to win. Some of us play just for the sake
I ask this, in all sincerity, pray for the church. Pray for change. Pray for restoration.
pray it for me as well. I'm just as guilty. We all need to improve.