By Jeremiah G. Dys
Perhaps by now, this is old news. Nonetheless, this piece by CBMW head-man Owen Strachan is worth re-reading at the outset of this week. Maybe some of you “read” this last week like many of us “read” things that others post on social media. We read the headline and a couple of paragraphs and claim we are well-informed and better for having done so.
Stop now and read this. Actually sink your mental teeth into what Strachan is conveying in this story of his.
It is one-part confession, one-part edification, and one-LARGE-part admonition.
Here’s a guy who had grown up knowing the right things and not supporting the wrong things, but was kicked into action by the faithful, cultural engaging jiu-jitsu of a couple of students. What resulted was not only a rich ministry for him, but a life-changing ministry for many, many others.
You who are those faithful, culture-engaging folks: good on you! Keep it up and be encouraged that your actions are being noticed by guys on the bench. They see the starting lineup in the game, scoring the points. The JV squad is watching and gaining the confidence to move up and into the game. Your example is often the means they need to make that leap. You’re the stuff of legends and legends leave legacies in the form of those who imitate them.
If you’re the one on the bench, look around. Are you really on the team or are you just the waterboy? Are you content to cut class early to travel with the team without having to put in the practice and training, or are you working along side the starting lineup, making yourself and your teammates better?
Or, are you the folks that are at the basketball game sarcastically cheering, “Hit another touchdown, goalie!” You’re clueless about the game, the rules, the stakes, the work, the strategy – everything – you just like to be there because that’s where all the “cool” people are. The bleachers are too hard to spend a lot of time there. Get in the game. Learn the rules. Enjoy the strategy. Break records.
Strachan has done a transparently awesome thing for you, but it left me wanting just a little something. I love that he’s leading the way with sidewalk ministry outside of abortion clinics. That’s cool. But, lest you get the wrong point from his article, let me correct something it’s possible you missed: you aren’t Owen Strachan.
I know that’s a tough truth to hear, but you need to hear it. Here’s another: Owen Strachan isn’t you. You can’t live vicariously through one another, nor can he do what you are divinely equipped to do. You are called to be you – to use every ounce of what God has imbued you with to the praise of his glory. Maybe that is sidewalk counseling, dodging haymakers, and the like. Maybe it’s engaging folks struggling with same-sex attraction. Maybe it’s stuffing envelopes for the local pregnancy resource center or being the treasurer for a local pro-life candidate. I don’t know what it is, but don’t wait 30 years and a spiritual roundhouse to the head like Strachan got before you get in the game. The stakes are too high for that. We may not have the time to wait for you to do something.
And, let’s be clear: we’re not asking you to play like Michael Jordan – or even Owen Strachan. You don’t need to be an all star to make a difference. Grab a rebound, set a pick, take a charge, or toss up the occasional sky hook. We don’t need professionals; we need players! Even MJ needed Will Perdue to win a championship (4 actually)!
The point is not to bog you down in needless sports references (or obscure 1990’s basketball trivia), what I’m trying to urge you, what Owen is pointing you toward is the fact that this Gospel we believe is a real one that has an everyday impact on the lives of hundreds of people. There are so many cultural issues for you and I as followers of Christ today to faithfully apply what we believe to that we are without excuse for failing to do so. Don’t go looking for a haymaker to dodge. Those will find you soon enough. Players always leave the court with a bruise here or there.
You know who most often leaves the arena without a scar? Usually just the tubby guys with nacho cheese stuck in their beards ensconced in the bleachers, criticizing the coaches.
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