Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A New Life For You!

 In my sometimes hilarious bumblearound, I-couldn't-have-planned-this-if-I-tried way, I managed to schedule my flight home for the holidays for the sliver of time during one of the busiest travel days of the year in between rush hours.  So there wasn’t a huge line when I went to drop off my bag at the  Delta drop off place at LAX. 

There were, however, two extremely friendly-looking people.  And they had things to press into my hand.

I don’t remember quite what they said, I think it was something along the lines of “Would you like to read this.”  I grabbed it, kept going (I’ll probably grab anything you give me so long as I don’t have to stop and sign a petition or something), and didn’t realize until after I got past the security line that it was one of those Biblical Tracts!  They found me again!  How did they know?

Here’s this one – A New Life For You.  Printed and distributed by King’s Harbor Church, says so on the back of the tract.

And there's not any coloring pictures for ants in here.  There is the phrase "BORN AGAIN" which is highlighted and in red text and appears 14 times in the tract.  So that's gonna be their emphasis.

They say in the tracts "How do you know that we have been BORN AGAIN?  The Bible lists six characteristics in the book of 1st John.  These are not requirements in order to be BORN AGAIN, but the results of God working in our lives."  

And while I’m never a fan of hopscotching around and cherry picking verses to suit your hypothesis, I kinda like how they and the tract point out the characteristics are not requirements, since nobody's perfect, not even (or perhaps especially) not Christians.  

And the characteristics are pretty standard stuff as well.  “No Habitual Sinning,” “Keeping Oneself Pure,”  “Believing In Christ,” “Loving Other Christians, “Overcoming The World,” “Practicing Righteousness."  Ruh oh.  

Practicing Righteousness is scary, because it's so EASILY MISCONSTRUED (hey, maybe that should be my emphatic text?  EASILY MISCONSTRUED?)  The tract says that "The true Christian lives to please his Heavenly Father and by the help of the Spirit of Christ that dwells within them, they will avoid the things that God hates."  And if you were only an OT reader, you would include shrimp scampi, double blended jackets, and pigs as things God hates.  Unless you read the WHOLE thing and knew that Jesus’ arrival changed all that.

I don’t like quoting the phrase “God hates x, y and z.”  Because it’s so EASILY MISCONSTRUED.

The only other part they underline in the tract is "please, no gifts."  Which is kinda hilarious.  BORN AGAIN "please, no gifts."  Meaning somehow, someone in the past drowned them with stuff, so they had to underline this?  Or are they doing a puritanical pre-emptive strike:  You may love us so much after we have shown you the way that you may want to give us a gift.  But don't!  Now, just by saying that line, did you suddenly get the thought that you should!?  Don't!  Really!  Don't!  (You can come to church and drop money in the offering bucket, but no gifts, please.)

Ahhh, I'm just kidding.  I'm pleasantly surprised by the straight forwardness of this particular tract.  If I were someone who didn’t believe in God or Jesus, and had this pressed into my hand, I’d be more apt to read it longer than I would, say, This Was Your Life, or Jesus Christ, The Real Story.  Though the constant hammering of Born Again might turn me off.  Probably.

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