Visiting home for the weekend just a week ago, I got the opportunity to see a high school football game for the first time in three or four years. Ahhhh…. The glory that is Friday night lights. Hard to believe so much time has past, and well, after being at so many Penn State games, it was a little less exciting than I remembered in high school. And what had also changed, was my perception of the band. Alex, if you’re reading this, don’t be offended, but I did not remember being that well… “weird”. I mean, all high school kids there came across as weird, but it seemed different than when I was in it.
I remembered being one of the “cool” kids in the band. My friends and I always said there were two parts of the band. There was the cool group, us, and then there was the “band geek” part that was a poor reflection on the rest of us. They were the part that the rest of the school saw, which led them to label us all as “band geeks.” At times, I hoped that these individuals just wouldn’t be a part of the group because then the remainder would be a perfect representation of who we actually were, the “cool band” I envisioned.
But as it turns out, that’s all it was. A vision. A biased interpretation. A false reality. We were all “band geeks.”
Hold that thought: “Ben realized he was a band geek.”
Now, three days later, I was watching some election coverage. And let me just say, I think it’s impossible to watch politics and enjoy it. Politics always leaves me ticked off, which makes me wonder why I watch it in the first place. Anyway… CNN was discussing Romney’s faith as it relates to his platform on homosexuality. They had five gay and lesbian individuals on camera talking to the reporter about how their churches had either excommunicated them, or would if they found out about their sexuality. My only thought: Where is the acceptance?
Christians and non-Christians alike I’m sure have heard of this type of nonacceptance within the church. This isn’t an issue solely about homosexuality. It’s a greater problem that we need to be aware of. Some individuals, even on the basis of appearance (tattoos, piercings, hair color) find closed doors at their local church.
When I was in the high school band, I saw others in the group as less than myself at times and wished they weren’t there. I thought, “Excommunicate the band geeks.” This sounds terrible. Even I see that now. But haven’t we all thought this at some point?
Maybe you’ve been on a sports team where you felt a certain individual held you back. A team member on a project, that you felt didn’t produce as good of work as you. Or a coworker who wasn’t as skilled or as smart as you. Did you feel that they should have been cut from the team, kicked out of the group, or fired? I think to some degree we have all felt this.
In our nature, we like to think highly of ourselves. Our morality. Our strengths. We may not consider ourselves the best, but we always look for someone “worse” to compare ourselves to. More so than we should. The same goes with Christians. Do we always see ourselves for who we really are? Not at all. We fail to identify with the lying, greedy, prideful, angry, and just plain broken and messed up people that we are. And the church needs to identify with it’s real identity as well. It’s not a museum for the perfect. It’s a hospital for the sick and weary.
The thing is that in the band, we were all “band geeks”. And you know what? I’m fine with that. Same goes with Christians. We are all messed up people. And some individuals you meet will acknowledge this and some won’t. Some churches know identify with the reality, and some don’t. You’ll never find perfection though, because well, how can you build a perfect group from imperfect people?
I want my friends and family to feel comfortable coming to church. I want them to know what Christianity is all about. It’s not about putting up a facade of righteousness and perfection by keeping out those we consider less. It’s about keeping the door open, extending a hand, and letting them know Christ who was perfect and is still willing to live with and die for, us, even while we actually do fall far short of Him.