While at a conference last week, I was about to be introduced to speak, when I was gripped with a mini-panic attack. You see, my wife had forced me to carry her old cell phone (she and the kids had recently upgraded, resulting in an extra phone), and being a reluctant but dutiful husband, and had stuck it in my jacket. At that moment, I realized that I had not turned the phone off, or put it on silent mode, and I was imagining a fateful moment in five minutes or so when I would be just hitting my stride on the speech and the ridiculously loud song of the phone would begin blaring out of my coat.
I fumbled into the jacket, racing against the introductory comments of the moderator. The man next to me gave me an annoyed look as I punched around on the minuscule buttons with my shaking, over-sized fingers...and no matter what I punched, I couldn't figure out how to silence the phone or even turn the darn thing off. It's screen just smiled up at me with that wicked luminescent glow, in effect telling me, "you should have given me more attention before now..."
In the last couple of weeks, as I cruised the Christian blogosphere, I been amazed by just how many really good, and smart, Christians there are out there. And, we have an opinion on everything. But mostly, we like to argue with each other, and in some cases, that argument is about who is really saved, or what gifts of the Holy Spirit are real, and which are simply "emotional experiences".
To me, this argumentation seems quite counterproductive to the Christian cause. If I were a non-Christian considering its claims, I would be encouraged that the only apparent criteria to be saved are covered in John 3:16 of the Christian Bible. But upon further consideration, I might well conclude, since other "believers" seem to be in the business of dis-believing other believers, that I'm just as well off in my comfortable, faithless cloud of relativism.
Too bad. Because it seems to me that the gifts of Christianity are sort of like those seemingly endless features on a cell-phone. They're all there, and some know how to use them better than others, but no one uses them all. Most are really quite simple to use, and some even have great power, but we don't tap into them because we just don't know until some friendly counselor shows us their utility and the demonstrates the personal gratification of their use. And just because I don't know how to access those features, doesn't mean they're not there, or that others who claim they are, are misguided. It just means the friendly counselor hasn't happened along yet to show me that I need them. Or my curiosity isn't great enough for me to spend the time to figure out how to download heavenly vibes to wake me every morning at 6:15 am, by gently vibrating under my pillow.
Good enough that the phone just rings when I'm being called, and that I have enough sense to push the green button.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Sir Chuck of the clumsy fingers