About Me

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I’m from New York but my driver’s license lists that my address is Ohio. My passport has a number of stamps in it. I’m the youngest of six, yet oldest son. I have a number after my initials, but not my name. I like music. I drink coffee at all times of the day. I am a follower of Jesus. I own my own business. I watch bonus features on DVD’s. For four months each year my wife and I are the same age. “I pledge allegiance to a country without borders, without politicians.” I am an ordained pastor. I’ve eaten raw horse meat. I’m fifteen inches taller than my wife, but I look up to her. I still prefer buying CDs to downloading music. I’m a night owl, who doesn’t mind getting up early. I like to shop, and my wife doesn’t. I like to play games. I moved to another country nine days after my wedding. I sometimes quote random lyrics. I believe in miracles. I prefer desktops to laptops. I like listening to audio books. I listen to hockey games on the internet. I have five sons. I'm living life mid sentence.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tommy Boy and Religion

Do you remember this song?

Give me that old time religion
give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
It's good enough for me

And do you remember this part of the movie Tommy Boy?

Tommy: Let's think about this for a sec, Ted, why would somebody put a guarantee on a box? Hmmm, very interesting.
Ted Nelson, Customer: Go on, I'm listening.
Tommy: Here's the way I see it, Ted. Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box 'cause he wants you to fell all warm and toasty inside.
Ted Nelson, Customer: Yeah, makes a man feel good.
Tommy: 'Course it does. Why shouldn't it? Ya figure you put that little box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right, Ted?
Ted Nelson, Customer: What's your point?
Tommy: The point is, how do you know the fairy isn't a crazy glue sniffer? "Building model airplanes" says the little fairy; well, we're not buying it. He sneaks into your house once, that's all it takes. The next thing you know, there's money missing off the dresser, and your daughter's knocked up. I seen it a hundred times.
Ted Nelson, Customer: But why do they put a guarantee on the box?
Tommy: Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That's all it is, isn't it?

This evening, as I was sitting at my computer taking part in an online discussion, the song and movie quote above both came to mind. In the discussion I was taking part in, I wrote the following:

For years I accepted things as on the same level as the scriptures because pastors, professors, and other religious leaders said these statements. Don't drink, don't go to movies, don't listen to rock music (regardless of what the lyrics say), wear a suit and tie to church, don't run in the "church" sanctuary, etc.

Then it happened. I started to ask a question that children often ask: why? The more I questioned, and searched for answers in the Bible, not in repeated rhetoric, the more I learned about who God is, and the more I learned about His grace. Do I use this new-found Christian liberty as an excuse to sin? "God forbid" (Rom. 6:1ff).

The way I see it, the longer Christians hold on to man-made traditions and rules, and ignore the teachings of the NT, the more we will see people ignore the faith of their parents, and look for something that is truly real, not just something that they are told (by pastors, parents, and professors) is real.


My advise to all of us, myself included, is to continue to ask questions about why we do what we do, and find out if it is because we are following true biblical teachings, or if it is because we are following man's rules. (Note: not all man-made rules are bad, but we must remember they are not on the same level as the teachings of the scriptures).

When it comes to religion and following God, I don't want to just take what others say and follow that. I want to know what I'm being sold is the truth, and that it is coming from God. I don't want to hold on to my "old time religion" and say it's "good enough for me" simply because a pastor, religious leader or friend tells me that it's got a "guarantee stamped on it." Well, who put the guarantee on it, and what gave them the authority to make such a statement? I want to follow God, and not simply follow what man has to say. If man is saying what God's word truly says, great. But that is where I need to be diligent and not accept what they say as truth, simply because they have a Bible degree or stand behind a lectern.

The Apostle Paul hit the nail on the head when he told the Corinthians "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ"(I Cor. 11:1). The key thing that needs to be recognized in that verse is that we must know what it is like to truly follow Christ. Otherwise we won't know that those we are following are truly following Christ. And when we look at those who are following us, we need to make sure, like Paul, we are truly following Christ, so that we do not lead those behind us astray.