No holds barred here on the Forge, folks -- not even when it comes to bad sheep. So here's the start of a series (sure to be intermittent as well as irritating) on Christians who will deserve to scrub toilets in the New Jerusalem.
I might name names -- later, if the nuclear clock reaches midnight, so to speak. For now let's just deal in categories. Today's category is The Good Old Boys.
Had a quite recent example of this, which is what brings it to mind.
I needed to contact a certain leader in a certain organization. I telephoned this leader's office and left a message. Three weeks later, I hadn't heard back from him.
So I had a friend of mine -- whose last name would have really rung bells with this leader, because he was the son of another leader in the same organization's ranks -- contact this first leader, which he did by email.
The response was nearly immediate.
James 2:1-4 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
James didn't have my specific situation in mind, but there's a principle that remains intact here to this day: Don't give preference to those whom you consider of greater honor. The sickening entrenchment of what some call the "good old boy" system in our churches is a symptom of one of our great evils in capitulating to the temptation to give in to honor, riches, and good looks.
Do you know a pastor who is a "pretty boy" -- a Joel Osteen wannabe, who fills his sermons with feelgood garbage that sounds more like an Erma Bombeck column than like Paul or Jesus?
Do you know a church where some wealthy or influential deacon always gets his way, even when it is clear that he's being an egomaniac?
Do you know a promising ministry that has been denied funding because it is not run by one of the "good old boys"?
I've known all of these -- and in some cases its been personal, but not always.
Most of them probably think they're going to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant" after they bite the big one. But chances are they'll end up hearing, "You're here? Good. Start scrubbing."