Mannequins, Popcorn and Cheer
Those of you who are scratching your heads, asking what in the world this heading means, need some explanation.
If we are going to conquer this world for Christ, there are three points to remember: we must allow Him to speak for Himself; we must let Him do what He wants; and we must do what He says. If the following illustration will help you to remember these three ingredients, it will have served its purpose.
Something which allows you to create appearance and display your own tastes.
One would almost think from the looks of things these days that Jesus Christ owns the biggest wardrobe in town. Everyone from the liberal theologian trying to legitimize homosexuality, to the local youth pastor trying to prove the great commission means Halloween parties, have an outfit in which they feel Jesus looks especially nice. Church board meetings, Jesus rock concerts, revival meetings, encounter groups—you name it—after the program kickoff, Jesus will inevitably appear to rubber-stamp His support of any and all activities. So today, as if Jesus could no longer speak for himself, He is wheeled onto platforms, into meetings, used everywhere His name might be helpful in legitimizing men’s deeds. Everybody’s “dressin’ up” Jesus.
How ludicrous it is to think we can force Jesus into our garments. Jesus Christ can never be a mannequin, for a mannequin is at the mercy of the clothing designer and Jesus chooses His own clothes. In addition (for the benefit of those who didn’t know), Jesus only owns one suit…
And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called the Word of God…
And on His Robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:13, 16 (NASB)
To present Jesus Christ dressed any other way is to present a false Christ. He will only be who he is, He will only speak for Himself. Let us, each one, temper our words accordingly.
Something which makes the main attraction that much more enjoyable.
We in the West are living in a system designed to provide material satisfaction. This system, as Alvin Toffler points out, is generating “experience makers” and “creating an economy geared to the provision of psychic gratification.” Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, Bantam Books, p. 220. The more “indepth” the experience, the better. In other words, an experience involving three senses is preferable to that which stimulates only two. The search is on for the total, sensual-immersion experience.
One of the leading experience manufacturers today is the movie industry. Hollywood launches lavish productions, costing millions of dollars, on a regular basis. The only drawback seems to be that although they’re veritable feasts for the eyes and ears (and thanks to Sensurround, the touch), the olfactory nerves and taste buds are unimpressed.
Ah, but not for long! Accommodating as they are, proprietors of movie theaters across the land have solved the problem. The first thing that meets the eye in almost every theater one enters any more is a glass or plastic cubicle sitting atop a concessions counter with the words, “hot, salty, buttered popcorn” emblazoned across the front. At an additional cost (usually about double the price of your ticket), you can experience the thrill of titillating all your senses simultaneously. Bear in mind, however, that despite the cost, the popcorn itself is not the main attraction. It rather serves to make the main attraction just a little bit more enjoyable.
What folly to think that the King of the universe would consent to cater to our selfishness, that he would provide religious seasoning in order to make our cuisine of self-indulgence palatable.
Jesus Christ is not the main attraction in our lives. He is the only attraction. He lives in us, He is all of us—everything we do, everything we say, everything we are. He does what He wants to with our lives. This is why He will reject every effort we make to incorporate Him as an appendage to our lifestyles; even if that appendage is disguised as the major thrust of our lives!
Something an observer does to feel like a participant.
During my high school years, I indulged in the American craze known as football. In the Los Angeles City School System where I played (and studied a little), the fellows became varsity or B-level players depending on their “exponents” (a combination of age, height and weight). Due to my not-so-massive frame, I played on the “B” team. Since our game was played prior to the varsity contest, this afforded us the opportunity to both play and watch football every Friday night.
As a general rule the fellows on the “B” team would sit together in the bleachers and root for the varsity. I must admit that in spite of our volume and enthusiasm, we never influenced the outcome of the game. It seems strange that one could feel so much like a participant and yet in actuality be so impotent to effect any results. But just being in the proximity and atmosphere of the action wasn’t enough. The only fellows truly influencing the outcome of the game were the dirty, weary players down on the field.
An analogous situation exists in Christendom today. This contest is between the forces of heaven and the powers of darkness. The stakes are far higher, however, when you consider the value of a human soul.
Every Sunday the evangelical bleachers fill with eager believers. The cheering section is even replete with cheerleaders in the form of choir directors, associate pastors and song leaders. When the music begins, we sing “I Surrender All,” when in actuality we offer very little, Or “He Is Lord” when He is not. Somehow we can feel the tide of the battle turning when we sing “Onward, Christian Soldiers” in spite of the fact “Protestant churches have long ago become like N.A.T.O., a headquarters without an army.” Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus Rediscovered, Pyramid Publications, p. 159.