Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jack and Diane, cont...

My previous post was about "Jack" and "Diane". They had been high school, then college sweethearts. Diane was crazy about Jack and he adored her right back. Jack's mom was apparently less enthusiastic about the relationship, and one day she took Diane aside and informed her that she was "praying" Diane "out of this church and out of my family". Diane lost Jack, AND her church family. She was left hurt and angry. Jack and his family were what I call, "church royalty". You know the kind of family I'm talking about. Church Royalty are the "in" families - the kids are all plugged in and mom and dad are power volunteers. Their thoughts and opinions hold a lot of weight, and it's in the church's best interest to keep the "royalty" happy. I do know that the previous statement oozes cynicism, but you totally know what I'm talkin' about here. A few close friends supported Diane, but the church family let her down and she became seriously disillusioned with Christians, and sadly...with God. There are days when her negative feelings really bubble to the surface.

Diane is a brilliant actor, singer, and dancer. Yep, she's a triple threat and directors are thrilled when she walks into their audition. Diane thoroughly enjoyed working as an actor with the local theatre company, and for a time she did shows at night, and worked in the box office during the day. Groups would often come in and buy out a performance for a company party, a family reunion, or a benefit for a worthy cause. The theatre is a beautiful intimate space and it seats 150 audience members. It was the holiday season and the box office was especially busy when a church pastor walked in to make the final payment on his reservation. He had bought out the theatre for a performance of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever", and the church staff and a large number of parishioners were looking forward to a night out. Diane smiled and said, "How can I help you?" The pastor said, "Well, I know you told us we could invite 150 people to the show, but I have 10 more people who want to see the show and I'd like to pay for the extra people." Diane explained that the theatre only seated 150 people, and there was no way she could accommodate the pastor's request. He looked at Diane and said, "We are a church. We do NOT turn people away."

In Matthew 22, we read about how the Pharisees try to trap Jesus by asking Him about paying taxes. "Pay Caesar what is Caesar's and God what is God's." Of course it is noble that the pastor in this story did not want to "turn people away", but he signed a contract with the theatre for 150 seats and honoring that contract meant honoring God. What the pastor didn't realize was that he was furthering Diane's bitterness toward Christians. After what happened with Jack, his family, and her church, Diane lost her faith in God and God's kids. After his comment about not turning people away, the pastor who wanted more seats said, "you need to find a way to accommodate us", and he threw his check at Diane. He walked out of the theatre and Diane yelled out, "That is why I hate Christians!"

Come on believer, it is great to have a "we don't turn anyone away" mentality, but please respect the rules when dealing with businesses. When you act honorably, you are representing God in the truest light and salt way. When you act dishonorably, you're still saying something to someone about who God is, but it's not very nice. You might be talking to a "Diane" - a broken soul who is looking for a reason to trust again, or perhaps, a reason to keep NOT trusting. Either way, you are out there representing the God you claim to serve. Get off the pew and honor your contracts, as that truly honors God!

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