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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: Hate me if you must
By Ed VanDeMark


Hate Me If You Must

Yesterday I turned on my local Christian radio station. I listened for two minutes. Then I did something unusual for me. I switched to a country station. I was surprised. The quality of the music on the hillbilly station far exceeded the dirge being groaned out by a guy with appendicitis on the Lordís network. I was surprised, because Iím in the habit of turning my radio off after two minutes of constipation. I thought the Christian station was doubtless comparable in quality to everything else being offered in the market place. Apparently I was wrong.

My wife and I read novels together. She reads till sheís tired then I read. We hopscotch our way through books. Until a couple weeks ago I would have said we hopscotch our way through Christian novels. Two weeks ago Linda bought what she believed was a safe novel. She bought it at a preacherís yard sale. Guess what? It wasnít a Christian novel. It used words I rarely hear in my circle of friends, but the writing was far superior to the Christian novels weíve been reading. We finished the book. We didnít like the words but we loved the story.

What am I saying? Somehow my brothers and sisters, many of us have come to some invalid conclusions. Some of us feel we can bludgeon people into the kingdom. We hammer them over the head with our bibles, codes of ethics and moral principals. If someone is hitting me with a hammer, a moral principal or a bible Iím going to resist. Many of us go the other way. In our attempt to love our friends into the kingdom we tell stories that are so nice they donít ring true. I was born with a gift for words but somewhere along the way I decided my gift with words was enough. I forgot there are rules that govern grammar and there are people that can teach me things that enhance my gift.

Several years ago I went to a Conference in Buffalo. I graduated from college in Buffalo. That made me the resident expert in spite of the fact I graduated in 1963 and had only been back a handful of times. I led a delegation of six through downtown Buffalo. On our way back we met two men from our conference. They invited us to join them at a bar. I hadnít been in a bar since my salvation in 1976. I found the bar a warm and inviting place. There were tables where friends could laugh, talk and even join in some foolishness. There was a bar tender there to listen to lonely souls. The television was playing the World Series and there was quiet music being piped in. Two couples even danced. The best part about the place was it was open seven days a week. My church has wonderful programs. Thereís one this week, and a promise of two more in three weeks. Do folks quit needing a warm inviting place to drop into while we prepare our next wonderful life changing event?

Iíve been so locked into my Christian world and my Christian world view that I havenít kept up with the competition. I love my faith. I love my Christian brothers and sisters. I love Faithwriters.com. I especially love Jesus. With all of that said, Iím beginning to realize that if I want to sell cornflakes, I better know what raisin brand and Special K are up to. Most often hearts are won over one little moment at a time. Home runs win a few games, but good pitching and singles win most of them.

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This article has been read 627 times
Member Comments
Member Date
dub W09/13/07
Ain't it the truth...A Christian novelist friend of mine has said exactly the same things, his novels sell on both sides of the aisle. I could go on, but I'll leave space for others. I wanna see this one at the head of the puppy pen line.
Dee Yoder 09/15/07
Mediocrity is not only the child of the Christian world, but I know what you're saying. The living out of our faith is being narrowly defined and controlled, but worse, at least to me, is the gorging by the adults in "worship experience" services with specially designed sanctuaries
while the children, elderly, and lost souls starve at the back and outside the doors of the church. (IMHO, of course!)
Marita Vandertogt09/16/07
Can I say a big AMEN to this one!!
Jan Ackerson 09/16/07
Wonderful persuasive writing. I agree with every word.
Jacquelyn Horne09/18/07
Food for thought here.
April Bailey09/18/07
Praise God! Glad I'm not alone in feeling this way.

I pray God would use us all to create powerful works that impact the lost where they are. Good word.
Linda Roth09/24/07
Ed, you have said things many of us are afraid to voice. Good work!!!