Long story short, I did a good deed and was punished by being given a Chick Tract.
“Hey thanks! I’ll look into it.” I said as I gave the guy a friendly wave. It was called ‘Somebody Goofed’ and I flipped it over to see what the back cover had written on it.
I couldn’t suppress my laughter. I knew this church. You see, they have a radio program that airs roughly an hour before my former church airs their program. So I get to do a lot of eavesdropping on Sunday mornings. One morning, BBBC was doing a sermon and said something like: “Women who claim to have headaches (as an excuse to refuse having sex) have a Jezebel spirit and are trying to control and not submit to their husbands.” This lovely piece of fully Biblical teaching was preached on Valentines’ Day … on … Valentine’s … Day.
Christianity has a major problem – its teachings can be construed to say that once women says “I do” at the altar, it’s also an implied and automatic “yes”… always. What this church was saying was that anything short of a “yes” was – in their book – rebellion, which is sin. So yes, I laughed. I really hope the guy who gave me the tract was out of earshot – because I really don’t want him to feel bad – there’s no way he could have known that my beliefs are so very different from his.
But the whole idea that women could have ‘a Jezebel spirit’ is also a major goof on the part of the teaching itself. Was Jesus like: “Hey, Mary Magdalene, you’ve got seven spirits in you and one of them is that of Jezebel. Do you want to keep that one?” “Oh wait, here’s Vashti’s spirit, that’s not a good one either – she said “no” once … and that got her killed.” Perhaps it’s just human to want to read something of us into the Bible or something of the Bible into us – for the most part it’s “How to be strong like Samson” or “How to be a Man after God’s Own Heart like David” or “How to be a Proverbs 31 Woman like the Proverbs 31 Woman”. Nobody wants to see themselves as foolish as Nabal or as treacherous as Judas or as outright evil as Ahab – let alone have their spirits inside of them.
So … on the upside, some guy wants me to not burn in Hell for eternity -that’s good. But given how much I’d disagree with his church, there’s no way to keep me from ending up in there anyway. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.
Then I actually read the contents of the Chick Tract and was amazed at how terrible the message was – that by having the knowledge of salvation and not immediately accepting it that I’m wide open for a Satan – in the guise of a regular human – to trick me into not believing in God long enough for him to get me killed.
I can’t imagine very many Americans living in complete ignorance of some facet or form of God or Jesus. He’s been a part of our culture since long before the first WWJD? bracelet rolled off of the production lines, since long before he was a superstar on Broadway, since long before he was routinely featured on the Easter and Christmas specials every year broadcasting some part of his story and before his walk-on role in Ben-hur. We all probably know something about God or Jesus, but there’s really no way of knowing how correct it is – as if right knowledge matters most. Though I highly doubt a death-bed conversion would lead the new convert sufficient time to be schooled in the finer points of Christian theology enough to pass the pop quiz. I guess the one good thing about right knowledge is that it wouldn’t be hard to create a cheat sheet for salvation – something you can teach to everyone – something that is meant to be memorized so that everybody can and will be saved. To which someone might point out – “Well, that’s not it! Salvation doesn’t work that way!” Well then, why is the whole establishment treating the matter as if it does indeed work that way?
The Christian faith reminds me of a clause – as if there were some fine print that could really mess up your day (or your life) because somehow you’re obligated to abide by it lest you be charged of having a rebellious spirit in you. Or maybe, just maybe, somebody out there goofed and took liberties with the Bible, it’s translation and interpretation, to make it say things that aren’t supported by the text.