Summary: How does one find a faith that is relevant for the 21st century?
Several months ago I caught John Larroquette, the actor, on the “Tonight Show.” Somehow the conversation turned to religion. I don’t remember much about the conversation, but I do remember Mr. Larroquette making a comment about television evangelists that has stuck with me. He said, “Seeing those guys in their $600 suits and their Rolexes just doesn’t do it for me.”
As someone who preaches the gospel I think you should know I once owned a Rolex. I bought it from a guy in New York City. I stepped off the bus and six guys with brief cases, all filled with Rolex watches, approached me. It was a buyers market. I got mine for $12. It didn’t seem excessive to me so I wasn’t sure what Mr. Larroquette was talking about. I later found out that real Rolex watches cost thousands of dollars. That probably explains why mine quit working within a year. I was a little upset at the time, but I feel much better now. I’d rather be known as an unwise shopper than a hypocrite.
The suit I’m wearing didn’t cost me $600. Value City doesn’t have $600 suits. Well they do, but they’ve all been marked down to $59.95. That seems like a bit of a stretch to me. I asked my wife who would fall for that gimmick. She said, “The same guys who think they’re getting a Rolex for $12.
At any rate, I wasn’t affected much by Mr. Larroquettes comments. Not at first. After all, they didn’t apply to me. But the more I thought about those comments and my reaction to them the more I wondered if that isn’t part of the problem with the Christian church today. John Larroquette is unimpressed by Christianity because he is unimpressed by those who represent it, specifically those who preach it. As one who supposedly represents it and preaches it, I was disassociating myself with the culprits of the pulpits and blaming the hypocritical evangelists and the skeptics who give too much credence to the hypocrites and not enough to the poor, honest, Christian folk, like myself.
There’s another problem that the Christian church battles. This problem is evidenced by the fact that many people believe the stories of the Bible, they just don’t see any connection between those wonderful Bible stories and the lives of individuals today. I recently saw a survey that said 70% of Americans believe in God, but only 30% attend church regularly.
These are troubled times by many accounts. Psychiatrists, therapists, and a vast array of counselors are over-booked with patients. Psychics have their own 900 number and the non-fiction best-seller list always seems to include a “self-help” book or three. There apparently is no shortage of clientele in need of some life-transforming encounter and a willingness to pay whatever the price might be to experience it. With so much need for change and such willingness to seek it in whatever avenues are available, the only thing that could keep people out of church is a lack of faith in the church’s ability to provide that change. So we are left with a community of believers convinced of God’s existence but unconvinced of his presence or power in their lives.