I was walking out of an electronics store in town, after purchasing a
soldering iron (broke my old one at work)...and noticed a REALLY bright
yellow scion xb(?)...the boxy little station wagon thingy. kinda hard to miss!
the bright chrome license plate frame said in big letters (engraved in black—on the top) 1 Peter 3:15
the lower area said "APOLOGETICS" (wish i had gotten a picture.)
one little thing...to a non-christian (or even to a christian)...what
the____does that mean?? (FYI, I went to bible school...I think i know..."The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines", according to dictionary.com...some people might consider it "witnessing".)
what kinda 'apologetic' is that? license frame theology...only
slightly more entertaining than bumper-sticker theology! ummm...how did that defend or define the faith? (please, please, pulllleeezzzeeee...make this person a good driver!)
as i said, i went to bible school...a southern baptist one at that. studied apologetics...alot.
knew the answers. the right ones. strange...the answers didnt make me
love Jesus or his people any more. in fact, they made me rather
haughty, proud...even aarogant. i was real good at using my big black
leatherbound (genuine leather, no bonded leather for me!) bible (king james, with large margins for notes) as a weapon. 'tis a double-edged sword, ya know. judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. especially mine. they weren't all good. (hell, they still aren't.) i was real good at cutting people with the sword. only
thing...as i was wielding it enthusiastically at others ...i was
cutting myself—not outwardly, but inwardly. i was becoming calloused to
suffering. of all people. hardly a good representation of the one i
claimed to serve. some 'apologetic'.
strange thing about cuts. when they heal, they build up scar tissue. harder, less
penetrable than they were before....do that enough...and you can't be
touched or affected by...anything.....or anyone. even the one who
can heal the scars.
that way we can be isolated. safe. untouchable?
wouldn't want to
invite Him into those places, after all...they're ugly...
maybe he'd do a little work!
(is that why He's known as 'the great physician'?)
i was sitting in a coffeehouse one day...and ended up talking with
another coffeehouse inhabitant, when we were joined by a young man in
his later 20's or early 30's. he went on a long diatribe about what he
did. (i saw the business card from a semi-locally based internationally known
strange, for someone trained to "always be ready to give an answer
for the hope that was in him", it sure didnt seem he was. he would
never give us a direct, straight answer on what he did. he wouldn't say that he
was lecturing on apologetics (there's that word again) to christian kids on campuses. said he was "teaching students to contend for the pro life position when put
to the test." good stuff...
but again, will arguments win hearts? our deep theological conversation
(or dance around the issue) caused my brother the buddhist to excuse himself from the table after a few minutes. never saw an argument in 20+ years of ministry win a heart. arguments are good for the already convinced. and they make those of us "in the faith" feel safe. they put our God in a nice comfortable "us" shaped box, where God acts and reacts...just like us.
Could it be that the only way to win hearts is just that. win the hearts...
the minds will follow.
forget the apologetics. live the life. it'll say more than your lectures and pamphlets ever will.
help a single parent. go help with hurricane relief. befriend
someone ya don't know. go to Mexico on a mission.
spend time with an HIV+ kid. take a lonely person ya know out to coffee.
walk with a person whose going through a tough spot.
ya dont even have to tell them youre doing it 'cause of Jesus. He'll show.
He's good like that. he might even kinda look a little like you.
now that's a living apologetic.