My father had a unique way of “making me behave” when I was a kid. Often this included lying—which I believe nearly every parent does from time to time. (“If you do that then this will happen…”)
I remember one time in particular he told me a story that terrorized me for days. It was one of those rare occasions when it snowed here in the upstate. (Southerners go nuts when it snows! It is unlike anything you have ever seen.) Anyway—I wanted to go outside and play in it and for some reason he didn’t want me to go.
Being that I was not the most submissive child I began to get dressed to go outside anyway and he said, “Well, ok Perry…you can go outside—but watch out for the snow snakes!”
I freaked out! I am terrified of snakes! AND I was also at the point in my life that if my father said it then that was the gospel truth. BUT…I had never heard of any such thing as a snow snake…and so I asked, “What is a snow snake?”
“Well, son, they only come out when it snows!”
“Well—do they bite you?”
His answer is a classic in parental manipulation, “No—they jump up your butt and freeze you to death.”
Yes—he actually said that—and yes, I actually believed him! I WAS FOUR!!! I will never forget the terror that consumed me as I thought about a reptile springing forth and freezing me to death by jumping up my rear end.
Needless to say…I didn’t go outside that day; in fact, my parents could hardly get me to leave the house! (Until it was time to go back to school—I was in K-4 at a local Christian school…I went back and told them all about snow snakes…that was actually my first of many trips to the office and my first of many spankings!!!! My mother jumped all over my poor dad for that one!)
The point of that entire story (YES—it’s true) was that certain myths can hold us captive to things that are not true. With that line of thought in mind I wanted to share with you some myths that I have had to overcome…and this will set some people free and really tick some others off…so here we go…
#1 - A Christian Should Only Listen To Christian Music
I remember buying into this one hook, line and sinker! There was a dude who traveled around, mainly in the upstate, who played records backwards and convinced me that Queen wanted me to smoke dope and that if I listened to “Another One Bites The Dust” that I was destined to be a drug addict.
During this same time a dude I really admired told me that he NEVER listened to secular music. So—instead of seeking Scripture on this one…I sought to do what every good legalist does—take a minor—make it a major—and then bleed and die over it!
In my first youth group and convinced them to burn their CD’s and tapes of Garth Brooks and Nirvana and begin listening to Carmen. (I have since repented—I am deeply sorry!)
I have to be honest—when I listen to Nickelbacks’s “Savin’ Me” and “Fix You,” by Coldplay—I worship the Lord! These songs DO actually bring me closer to Jesus—they make me think about Him!!! Where in the world did we ever get the idea that it is only right for a Christian to listen to something if it was written before 1850 or if it was performed by Michael W. Smith?
Use discretion here—but I don’t see anywhere that the Bible says that we can listen to music that is played by a secular group. (And please save your, “do not love the world” e-mails. If that is your stance—then get rid of your car, your air conditioner, and your inside plumbing—none of them are in the Bible…they are of the world!”
#2 - A Christian Should Not Watch Television
Yes—there are those that say that this will corrupt the mind! I admit that there is some funky stuff on TV that I do not watch…but dude—if you take LOST out of my life—I think I might go crazy! (Yes, I am watching it tonight!!! NO—I do not like American Idol!)
I actually saw on another website about a month ago a dude take a shot at me concerning me watching Lost. He actually said, “I don’t watch that stuff…instead I sit on my couch and read my Bible…and Mr. Noble should to!”
Several problems here—the first is I don’t know where you live….the second is I might not like your couch…the third is that I do read my Bible, but happen to connect best with God in the AM hours…and fourth, with THAT type of attitude—you are a legalist—there is actually a secular song that describes you, “Well I guess you like to think that your don’t stank….”
Folks—as with music—use discretion in this area…I would say a Christian should not watch CERTAIN things on TV such as porno or something like Sex in the City…those are just not good things to think about in general; however, to make a blanket statement that all Christians should throw the TV out of the house…well…its just not Biblical.
#3 - Christianity Is A List Of Rules To Be Followed
I remember when I received Christ and being told of the freedom I know had…
Then I began meeting people who told me all of the things I HAD to do…“Here is a Bible, read it 30 minutes a day, memorize at least three verses a week, here is how to pray—make sure you do it at least 30 minutes a day, here is a list of the things you can and cannot say, and you MUST vote Republican…” Many of you KNOW the drill!
So…I spent the first eight years of my walk with Christ learning how to be a good legalist instead of falling in love with Jesus!!!
Folks—Jesus died to set us free! When I realized that I actually WANTED to read my Bible—I actually WANTED to pray…and I don’t do it because I HAVE to—I WANT TO! I owe Him my life and it is my passion to let Him shine through me.
I challenge people with this all the time: Find out what causes you to connect and fall in love with Jesus…and do it A LOT!!!
#4 - In Order For A Church To Grow It Has To Be Liberal In It’s Theology
Funny story—a lady this morning at the track was finishing up her run just as our marathon crew was. We invited her to church and when she asked where we told her NewSpring.
She had NO idea who I was…and so she said, “Yeah, I have heard of your church and I thought it might be more liberal that I wanted…but I hear your pastor teaches straight from the Bible and deals with issues head on.”
Yep—she got it right!!! If a church is going to grow it has to have a high view of Jesus, a high view of Scripture, a radical love for people…and a desire to get those people to a place where they can hear Scripture taught in a creative and excellent way so that they can hear about Jesus!
I tell people here all the time—NewSpring is solid theologically—we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We believe He is the only way to heaven. We believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell. We believe the Bible is without error. We believe that God’s plan was to set up the church to reach the world through the message of Christ. Yes—we believe this stuff!
Those are some of the myths I have overcame in my sixteen years of walking with Christ…hope that helps!