Monday, April 28, 2008

Notes on Romans--Part Forty Seven

My favorite t-shirt is "Jesus, Please Save Me From Your Followers." Whether its the arrogant Emergents who claim humility while lecturing everyone else about how wrong, imperialistic and judgmental they are or the crazy eyed fundamentalists with bomb shelters stocked with dry goods, Tim LaHaye books and head coverings for the women folk, it is often tempting to walk away from the contemporary church with middle fingers raised in salute.
I preached this past weekend on viewing our time on earth in the twin shadows of the crucifixion and return of our King. Part of my sermon was to deny the rapture (which you won't find mention of anywhere in church history before the Darby-ites and the Scofield Bible took the evangelical church by storm in the 19th and 20th century) and I was prepared to defend my position after church against the many John Hagee-ites out there but there was nary a word about it.
Instead, I took flack for wearing an old shirt that is actually the "uniform" for the Slipknot army (all black military shirt with army like insignia and a slip knot on the back). I was told that I was promoting "satanism." Now, I could have responded that most modern country stars who sing about cheating on the wives while hopped up on Ole' Granddad are far more satanic then a bunch of middle aged guys in masks who primarily scream about how angry they are with their parents but I let it go. I didn't drop it because I am just holier than thou but because I had just taught Romans 14.
Paul is dealing with a pretty jacked up bunch of former pagans as well as fairly self-righteous (albeit confused) 1st century Jews. Some come from cultic backgrounds or all kinds of different weird religions kind of like the Texas polygamists and Hollyweird Scientologists of today. Some refuse to eat meat (for all kinds of reasons) and some are still hardcore observers of the Sabbath. Paul tells the churches at Rome to just put up with it. In verse 19, Paul admonishes his churches to bend over backwards to keep the peace while helping the weaker family member (i.e., the vegetarian Sabbath keeper who resembles a town councilmen from Footloose). SO, I will bid my Slipknot shirt a sad farewell. It will never grace the stage of CCC again. Even though I grit my teeth and think "Jesus, please save me from your followers", I'll take the Apostle Paul's advice and just let it go...