Monday, October 06, 2008

A picture of our children from BJ's birthday

This past Friday, I worked at the State Fair as a Chaplain. It is always a most interesting affair.

There is a strong mix of the many foods being prepared that send their aromas wafting across the acres of rides and people that post a tempting allure. Just about everybody can find something they like to eat!

This combines with a true melting pot of attendees. Cowboys to carnies, cattle to big cats, and serious gamers to casual walkers. All end up in the same place a the same time.

I've never been one who enjoyed the games at the fair. This in stark contrast to my brother-in-law, who is an expert at many of them. He seldom leaves the grounds without one of those giant stuffed somethings under his arm.

He has studied the games, and learned their weaknesses. He then uses this knowledge to his advantage...and that of my sister who becomes the benefactor of something large an cuddly (besides him...just kidding).

I saw a dad walking the grounds of the fair with a lifesize, stuffed Spiderman. His son was less than half the size of the prize. While his son was probably thrilled, I was equally thankful that I did not have to carry said superhero around with me!

Working with the Carnies at the fair, produces some interesting results. Some who begin telling their life story the moment you walk up, others who begin their confession of sin as if you were their priest, and then those who don't want you anywhere near them and look around constantly wondering who might see you together.

One of the "benefits" of working with them, is free attempts at many different games. I seldom take advantage, but often watch a partner do so. Some are prone to telling you the secrets of how to win their event.

Many are what we call "rigged." They are tilted in favor of you losing. By the time you have figured the game out, you have spent $49.95 for a prize that cost $1.49 in Asia. You may win, but you still lose.

It's very interesting to be having an in-depth conversation with a Carney, when suddenly, they see a potential "player" coming and begin "barking" at them. They can jump in and out of 'Carney mode' at will.

It makes me think about us as Christians in the states. Many of us can jump in and out of "spirit-filled" mode at will. Who we are on Sunday is too often, not who we are on Monday.

We know how to put on the right clothes, and say the right things, but when we return home and hang up our suit, our 'spirit-filling' gets hung up with it. We then don the worldly version of ourselves.

Our student culture reflects this flaw, on-line. You can open many "facebook" or "myspace" pages and see them proclaim to be "Christian," and then open their picture pages and see them partying like rock stars.

What does it mean to avoid the appearance of evil, in todays world?

As I wrote those words about students, some will leap immediately to support that position without the realization that they do the very same thing in life...just perhaps, not a web page. We can find condemnation for others quickly, but do we respond to conviction when it comes?

There are too many chameleons in Christianity.

To come out from the world and be separate is not easy. To reflect Jesus is a significant task.

We need to strive for a life reflective of Him, not of those who claim to be His, but bear no fruit.

Let's try to begin anew, today.



At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words today, Brent.
The focus should be on self. What fruit am "I" producing. You are right we are far too often focused on the faults of others forgetting our own weaknesses.

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post reminded me of Christine Cain's "Stop Acting Like A Christian." The book convicted me when I read it, and your post convicted me again. Isn't our Lord wonderful...that when we need to hear His words, He directs us to the places they can be found.

Thank you, for your continued service.


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