“There’s a rock band parked in front of the house!” my wife shouted excitedly, “And they’ve lost their $500.00 camera!” Seizing the opportunity I ran to the street and offered a prayer for them to find it…
I prayed with Jason, a bright, tall, articulate man in his twenties who was in the midst of unloading their entire van and cargo trailer. “I’m a Christian too,” he said, “though not the type you probably imagine. I’m kind of a social justice type.”
I’m sure he viewed me as one of those Moral Majority Conservatives. I saw him as one of those Religious Liberals. “I’m a religion major!” he declared.
Taking up the challenge I declared back, “Good. I’m a pastor, let’s go for it!” Jason met me head to head on the sidewalk.
“You know Jesus was black,” he stated flatly.
“Yes, He was Jewish and dark skinned. He certainly wasn’t blonde and blue-eyed,” I answered calmly.
“He probably looked like Osama Bin Laden,” he persisted.
“Probably,” I replied matter-of-factly.
“I don’t think Jesus would want us always talking about Him and using His name. We should just be examples.”
“I think we need to be examples also, but His name is very important. There is something about that name. He is God and He wants to be glorified in people’s lives. I want to give him all the credit. (After the conversation I remembered Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Darn. I wished I remembered it then!)
“Can gays be Christians?”
“Yes. If they repent and don’t have sex.”
“Who are they hurting? What does God care?”
“God has a moral law that is to be obeyed. But God loves gays too.”
The band was from Kansas where a very vocal and obnoxious “pastor” preaches that God hates homosexuals. Their concern for these people -and wariness of me- was valid.
“Are you an Evolutionist or a Creationist?” he grilled.
I knew what Jason believed and he knew what I believed, “You already know that answer,” I said.
My wife Karen interrupted our little chat by serving a bowl of soup to the band on the sidewalk complete with a little table. Jason took a slurp and continued, “The whole concept of Heaven and Hell seems so selfish. You come to Christ to avoid Hell and then just go to Heaven. It seems so selfish.”
“That’s not the only reason. I tell people that God loves them and wants a relationship with them. When they have their sins forgiven by believing and repenting, they can enjoy a real relationship with Him.”
“What about the Koran and the other holy books? Are they wrong?”
“Yes. Muhammad is still dead. Buddha too. But my God said that He would defeat death! He came to earth for about thirty years, said He would die and rise again. My standards and my beliefs are based on the Bible. They don’t change. They’re absolute.”
“How can you say there are absolutes? How can you know if things are true? Beliefs are based on individual perceptions about the truth.”
“What are yours based on?” I asked.
“They are based on what I believe God tells me. I believe in loving people, being kind and living by the example Jesus set. That’s what we should all try to live by.” The rest of the band was now gathered around, listening.
“Do you really believe that we should all live according these values?”
“Yes.” The other members nodded too.
“Sounds like an absolute to me.”
With one voice and in perfect harmony, they protested, “Nooooo! That’s not what we said! That’s not what we meant!” Some major back-peddling was going on.
“Let me ask you a question. What is Coke made of? Can we agree that Coke is essentially carbonated water and flavoring?”
“Yes,” everyone agreed.
” We all agree then, that Coke is carbonated water and flavoring?”
“It can’t be anything else…”
All heads shook, “No.”
Setting a trap for the post-moderns, I held up a leaf and pointed to it, “This is a Coke!”
“If you believe it is, if that’s what you feel,” they echoed.
“NO! This can’t be Coke, we all agreed to the same terms! A leaf cannot be Coke, ever! It doesn’t matter what I think or feel! The objective truth is that this a leaf!”
“What if you don’t speak English?” a band member asked.
Exasperated, I huffed out another intelligent response, “Whaaaaaat?” I knew that relativists didn’t have much basis for their beliefs but this was ridiculous; I couldn’t pin them down on anything. They were exactly what I thought, but more so.
I’m sure to them, I was a pig-headed, mouth-breathing Neanderthal still stuck in the 1800’s. A Sith from the dark side.
“What’s the name of your band?” I asked.
“The Stereo Types.”
ADDENDUM: As I finished the first paragraph of this E-vangie Tale, my email dinged, alerting me to a new one. It was from The Stereo Types (I gave them my address). They were back in Kansas, and wanted to let me know that they enjoyed our conversation. They also wanted a copy of this story and I’m adding them to my weekly emailing.
They never found the camera.