These are the thoughts of a man, vandalized by legalism and religiosity, yet cheerfully burdened by a love for God and people. Be forewarned. My thoughts may get jumbled together. They will look like spaghetti to you, but to me, its lasagna.
Know that I am a Christian, but I may not be your kind of Christian. Know that I’m going to say some things you may not want me to say, but only if they need to be said. Know that the expressions of my thoughts are wrapped in the intentions of joining God in His redemptive mission to restore humanity to relationship with Him. The begins and ends with love. Know that I love you.
“Yeah, I go to church. But I sit in the back.”
The back pew is where the cool kids sat on Sunday mornings in the church of my childhood. It was just like the back of the bus on a field trip, or the back of the classroom in high school. Sitting in the back signified indifference toward their present setting, that you didn’t really want to be there, or that you didn’t want to be participatory in the activity. The older saints could see it. (You know them. They were your grandparent’s age, but their grandkids didn’t go to your church.) They spent more time finger-wagging than pointing toward the cross. Their passive-aggressive legalism only pushed us further back.
Sitting on the back pew said “I’m too cool for this place.” But, to the outside world, being a cool kid in church was an oxymoron. As cool as you thought you were, you were still in church. And being in church meant your good. And being good meant you couldn’t be cool. So, in all actuality, those who chose the back pew were in limbo. They didn’t fit in out there, and they chose not to conform in here.
“I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
The back pew is symbolic of the desire for worldly acceptance. Those who sat on the back pew wanted to be both in the world and of the world. The back pew, emblematic of the lukewarmness of the unyielded heart, is where I still sit today. Not because I’m lukewarm or fighting submission to God, but because I share a common perspective with those that still sit on the back pews for the reasons I once did. From here, I’m fighting two battles: I hope to change church folk’s opinion of the fence-stragglers, and the fence-straggler’s opinion of themselves. I am unashamed of the Gospel, and unapologetically cool.
(Cues “Becoming” by Middle Clash)