January 27, 2017
Many years ago I was visiting an older couple who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. 30 years ago that was a scarce event. I don’t mean that folks are more faithful to marriage now because they are not. I just mean people live longer so 50 or 60 years of marriage is not at all unheard of these days. Anyway, this was a couple in their mid to late 70’s. He was quiet and very kind. She was… um… not as quiet and… uh… not as kind if you know what I mean. Maybe a little “cantankerous” would be the best description. In the midst of our conversation, I discovered what might have been the origins of her… uh… “crankiness.” Well okay, it’s probably not the origin but it may explain some things about her.
At one point in our chat she proclaimed, “We have been married for 50 years and have never been to a restaurant.” I think I may have said something like “Never?!” “Never!” was the immediate response. Naturally, I needed to hear the origins of that story. “So… how come?” I asked. He answered definitively, “I hate garlic and onions and you can’t eat at a restaurant without getting those ingredients. And even if they are not in the food, the food is cooked in a pan that had garlic or onions in it at one time.” I think it’s fair to say I was speechless. This was not an allergy thing it was… um… something else. Don’t get me wrong, if folks don’t want to eat out that’s entirely up to them but the reasoning in this case seemed a bit… over the top maybe? Unreasonable? Absurd? Maybe even idiotic? And yet it is not beyond us to think in these terms on occasion.
Several types of people come to mind in regard to this way of thinking, the first being “conspiracy theory” folks. I understand that periodically throughout history, organizations and governments have done secret things that they don’t want anyone to know about BUT… We never landed on the moon!? It was just a movie? Do we have any idea how many people would have to be in on that conspiracy in order to keep us deceived? Seriously?! And not one person since 1969 has come forward to recant the moon landing or written a “tell all book.” Not one. And yet there are still folks who believe it never happened.
Another one I hear regularly; “You know they have a cure for cancer but the drug companies are making too much money on treatment so they don’t want to make the cure known.” That is so dumb I can’t even comment.
My favorite are the folks on Social Media who blindly pass along one falsehood after another in order to support their cause or bring attention to themselves. They don’t take one second to research their “news” they just pass it along as if it were fact. I personally like the one about Mr. Rogers having been a sniper in Vietnam. He wore sweaters because his arms were covered with tattoos. Oh yeah, almost forgot… and he was a convicted child molester. Seriously, there ARE folks who believe in and perpetuate this nonsense! Go to http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/mrrogers.asp Why is it necessary to correct these things if there were no one passing them along? BECAUSE THERE ARE!!!!
Years ago I had a conversation with someone close to me. They wanted to share their thoughts about God. Too often these conversations do not go well. I remember them saying, “Well, I believe that everyone goes to heaven.” I asked what they based that on, i.e., what or who have you read that would lead you in that direction. Silence… total silence. The truth is they had not thought for one second past their own wishes. They didn’t study, research or contemplate their eternal lives. Well, at least any longer than it takes to come up with the self-serving notion that “everyone is saved.”
I admit that there are theologians who hold to that idea. It’s called Universalism. And I respect (but disagree with) those who thoughtfully live their lives with that notion. But they at least have thought it through! They have not come to ideas about their ETERNAL LIVES based on rumor, innuendo or some form of self-satisfying, self-gratifying “schlock” theology. Don’t you think ETERNITY is too long to risk? Maybe we ought to have something we have considered a little longer and more seriously than, “Yep, that’s what I want to believe… God saves everybody.” I wish that were true. I really do.
I just want to encourage you today to think about your faith. Why do you believe the things you do? Seriously? We really ought to have some way of talking about what we believe other than opinions that we have formed based on… ourselves.
Consider this: 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…