So I was sitting in church this evening thinking about the disparity between Christ-like love and judgment when I thought of a great story from my teenage years that illustrates the substitute gospel of good behavior I grew up around.
My family was in a new church where I didn't know anybody. There was this guy who was really nice to me, especially when I was still really new. I'll call him...I don't know...Kurt. He wasn't particularly well-behaved like I was, but his being nice made up for it in my eyes. In any event, he was a guy the adults in the church loved to pass judgment on.
We were in this Sunday school class...think it was 11th grade...that was directed by this older couple who were well-meaning, but probably were better suited to be teaching 1st grade. I'll call them the Worthingtons. There was this one time they made a microphone out of an empty paper towel roll and pretended to be newscasters reporting on the death of Jesus. Pretty lame in a funny sort of way, but not the time I'm thinking of.
This particular Sunday we were playing this Bible trivia game, where we could answer these multiple choice questions and, if we got the question right, try to throw a ball into a trash can to score points for our team.
I don't remember the exact question, but there was some disagreement between the Worthingtons and Kurt regarding one of our team's answers. In disbelief, Kurt turned away and used a mild epithet, I think it was "bull crap."
When Mrs. Worthington heard this, her shallow smile turned to the tightest frown imaginable and her squinty eyes got as wide as the Red Sea. Kurt said, "what'd I do?" Mrs. Worthington replied, "When you say "bull crap" in church I don't like it. You might as well call it dirt, cause that's what you're acting like. When I was your age, we never would have used that language in God's house."
There you have it, folks, a pretty obvious example of someone separating and distancing herself from other people who didn't live up to her standard.
It was a pretty funny scene, but I'm pretty sure Kurt isn't seen around church much these days.
I can't say I really blame him.