Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This Was Your Life

You guys!  You’re not gonna believe this!  I showed up to do slides on Sunday morning at my church, and THIS was on the desk!

Oh my GOSH!  They’re on to me!  The Yellow Sign people must’ve heard about last week’s blog entry and convince the small black and white tract people to oh-so-“accidentally” leave this on the desk for me because they knew I was coming in to do slides!  They’re watching me!  They’re watching me RIGHT NOW!

Actually, no.  Apparently, this tract, “This Was Your Life” from the well-meaning folks at Chick Publications, was thrown back through the gates of the church on Hollwyood Blvd.  Since our church is located on Hollywood Blvd., right at the intersection of Crazy and Cuckoo, what most likely happened is the Chick Publications people were probably handing these out on Saturday night, and someone probably took it to be polite, or to make an awkward encounter end quicker, and then threw it through the gates of a church, because you know, it’s all the same thing.  It’s a pamphlet, that’s a church, it must belong THERE. 

And when the staff and volunteers on Sunday morning opened the gates of church and found the pamphlet, they got a giggle out of it, and passed it around, and then left it on the desk because they had to go do other stuff.  So it’s not personal at all.

But it sure is coincidental!  Wheeeeeeeeee!  Well, let’s just crack this puppy open and see what THESE tracts have to say!

And actually, you can read the whole thing over on Chick’s website :

Much like the yellow sign people, the narrative is mostly driven by Bible verses, though there’s cartoon people saying things in cartoon balloons.  I still maintain that it could be viewed as a coloring book for ants.  Artistic ants.  Ants that slather their antenna and ant feet with color and carefully swab between the lines of this well meaning man who gets tapped on the shoulder by the Grim Reaper, and gets whisked by an angel up to heaven, where he faces God, who rolls a “This Was Your Life’ filmstrip, detailing all the things this Well Mannered Guy Did or Didn’t Do, then WMG finds out his name isn’t written in the Book Of Life, all because he didn’t believe in Jesus, not even when he was sitting in church, which really begs the question WHY did he go to church if he didn’t believe in Jesus.

Can I tell you guys that when I was first flipping through this book, I saw this panel and thought that the lovely lass exiting the alley had given our WMG a bj, and THAT’S why he’s leering at her from the alley?  Turns out nothing happened, he’s just lusting after her.  So my brain is cracked, and it’s definitely a good thing I believe in Jesus, because I’d be cast into the lake o’ black n’ white fire as well.

Anyhow, while you could argue that the Yellow Signs’ “Jesus Christ: The Real Story” was failing to make their case because they were boring the potential readers to death (who then might take this qusai-afterlife trip that “This Was Your Life” draws out), I think the problem that this Chick tract has is that it’s trying to scare the potential reader into believing in Jesus. 

This is a classic way to preach Ye Olde Gospel – Scare The Bejesus Out Of Your Listener/Reader, So They’ll Immediately Confess Jesus Is Lord Because They Don’t Wanna Go To Hell When They Die.  Whenever That Is. 

Yet I have to think that if Jesus was here on earth, he wouldn’t want followers who were following him because they were scared of the murky alternative.  He’d want followers who believed in him because they had personal experience.  Nothing like proof to bolster your case, y’know?

There's a billion other ways I could dissect This Was Your Life tract to death, to make fun of it, of the Chick corporation and blah blah blah.  But I won't.  Because it really just comes down to this:

Jesus doesn't want you to follow him because you're scared of death and are so slobberingly grateful that you didn't get thrown into a cartoon lake of fire.  He wants you to follow him because you LOVE him.  Because you believe in him, and everything he said and did, and you want to make him happy because you love him so much.  Yes,  God forgives your sins.  but that's a side benefit.  He wants a personal relationship with you.  A personal back and forth.  Where you talk, and He listens, and you study, and ask questions and wrestle with stuff and see what He says in response (bearing in mind it's not going to be a booming voice from heaven, but probably something way more subtle.)

Don't scare them into believing.  Because then it doesn't really count, and it probably won't last.

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