Willing Spoilers :: by Jim Torres “Towers”

Not too long ago I talked to a sloppy looking adult man in a certain non-denominational church who tried to encourage me to wear sandals and shorts to Sunday morning services, just like he and his friends. In that same church the pastor wore polyester pants and a faded and threadbare long sleeved shirt hanging out over his bulging belly.

To top it all, he was unshaven with a three-day stubble of beard. Then worse than that, he had greasy, dirty hair (you know what that looks like). The sight of him made me skeptical about what he had to say, but I listened anyway.

Low and behold, the man was teaching out of the book of Genesis, with no relevance to today’s world! Shouldn’t he have gotten past that already? Was he lazy or slothful? I couldn’t decide. But he was trying to be one cool dude at the expense of doing some earnest teaching. And as far as his congregants were concerned, some of them are “ever learning and not able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

The amazing thing was that I was told that he was a dynamic teacher. I may be wrong, but I expected more— much more—from this “dynamic” teacher. (I think some people just say that so that you will know that they are being taught the deeper things of God.)

I suppose some people think that looking like what they think Jesus looked like when he was here on earth, that they can project an image of holiness, kind of laid back and primitive. But Jesus was not a pot smoking laid back kind of guy, nor was he primitive.

Jesus was straightforward, didn’t use any tricks or smoke and mirrors, and more often than not, He said things that people didn’t want to hear.  I doubt that He went around with a ridiculous smile on  his face all the time either.

For God’s sake, just be who you are!  Remember when most television ministers all had slicked down hair and wore a mullet? They had a dramatic demeanor or even a tick such as twitching of the  neck to go with it. What was that all about?

Did they think they were being spiritual? Now some even go so far as to color or spike their hair with styling gel, and most of them still like to show off. They want to identify with the world and be in the limelight.

If these same people would to put on Christ—spiritually speaking—they wouldn’t be so concerned about being “cool.”  They would be earnestly compelling people to repent, receive Christ and avoid judgment, especially in the days in which we live.  Now I ask you, isn’t that the real measure of a man’s spirituality?  And to go further still, the music that is played at most of these services is uninspired and in some cases even redundant, with phrases being repeated over and over. It’s almost like the band is trying to put you into a trance.

Years ago a young Catholic lady I came in contact with said this, about such a service: “The music was cultish, it sounded to me like trance inducing noise, something you would hear in a cult worship service.” She had come from a background of chanting (Gregorian) and so it came as no surprise that she was offended.

It’s not about how much you know or whether you’re a deacon, teacher or elder either; it’s what you do with what you know and not a certain title. Many such people want these titles simply to reap the reward in admiration of others. Jesus speaks on this matter, saying that when these men and women will be harshly judged when they stand in judgment.

Having said that, I realize that some churches especially start up churches don’t have any to chose from and some men and women just happen to slip into that position.

The Bible says we should not have too many teachers. If they knew that they were going to be held accountable for their teaching they might not be so willing to teach others. “Be not many teachers, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment.”

Motive is paramount in this endeavor. Do you really care about people? Do you practice what you teach or preach? If you are a teacher in the church it’s good to have a little humility as well. The rules are set out in the first book of Timothy chapter 6.

If you are a teacher, here is a suggestion: Take the time to really get to know your students. Pray for them and pray with them. Contact each of your charges by email individually or as a group. Let them know you really care about their spiritual growth. Don’t form cliques within your group of students, the outsiders will resent it.

All too often we teach on subjects that are of no concern to the individual. Most disciples (students) want to know about things that are affecting them in the here and now. They want to know how to overcome the difficulties that they are facing, based on scripture, not where Philippi Caesarea is on the map.

By the way, the movie about Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed his plane on the Hudson River, is a good movie. Here is a heroic man who had to face the air transportation hierarchy, lawyers and insurance representatives. In this case the good triumphs over bad.

Speaking of good outcomes, Tim Tebow hit a home run on the first pitch of his professional baseball career! This man was bounced out of football for his show of pointing to the sky in thankfulness to God. At the same time, others are doing back flips, and dances or even calling their mother on a cell phone in the end zone! It looks like a double standard to me.


Jim Torres “Towers”