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‘I'm Not A Christian, But I Play One On Sunday'
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TITLE (EDIT)
‘I'm Not A Christian, But I Play One On Sunday'
DESCRIPTION
After more than three decades of church ministry, I have come to one unsettling conclusion. Actually, I've come to more than one conclusion, but this one is the most depressing.

That conclusion is simply this: all who say they are going to Heaven are not actually on the right path, going in the right direction. Most, of course, have the best intentions, but good intentions don't make up for going in the wrong direction.


[890 words]
TITLE KEYWORD
Humor
AUTHOR
James Snyder
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living with his wife, Martha, in Ocala, Florida and can be contacted at [email protected]
[October 2009]
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
[email protected]
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (15)
A Cup Of Joe Says A Lot About Us (Short Stories) This week I came face-to-face with a genuine dilemma. I had several meetings across town and for some reason I miscalculated and ended up with a 2-1/2 hour gap between meetings. I hate to waste time, ... [902 words]
A Page From Betty Crocker’S Cookbook (Essays) Recently, while sitting in my chair drinking the last of my breakfast coffee, a thought staggered into my mind. I must confess most thoughts are quite lonely once they enter my mind, but this one had ... [860 words] [Humor]
A Silent Night — Not At My House (Essays) People say, as they get older their hearing is not what it used to be. I have found this to be true for myself. The older I get, and I plan to get as old as I can, the more I hear noises in the middle... [895 words] [Humor]
Be Happy, Join The Wednesday Worry Club (Essays) Of all the people who know me, no one would say I am afflicted with worryitis. They may say other things about me, which may or may not be true, but that's another story. [918 words] [Humor]
Dead-To-The-World Man Walking (Essays) One morning this week, I woke up with a black eye. How I got it still baffles me. I have my suspicions, of course, but some things are better left to themselves no matter how lonely they may get. [891 words] [Humor]
How To Cash In On Your ‘Ailment Capital' (Essays) Right after the president won his re-election bid for the White House, he made an interesting comment. He said he was going to spend his "political capital" wisely. At first, I did not understand wha... [926 words] [Humor]
If All Things Are Possible,” Why Can't I Balance My Checkbook? (Short Stories) For me, the most terrible time of each month is the day our bank statement comes. We commonly call it BSS (Bank Statement Syndrome). I don't know why it is, but I have trouble getting the parsonage ch... [904 words] [Humor]
In My House, If It's Broken I Bought It (Essays) Often a store has a sign with the warning, "You break it, you bought it." This is to keep people from carelessly handling the merchandise. I'm thinking of another sign, which should be posted all thr... [907 words] [Humor]
Malice In “I Wonder Who I Am” Land (Essays) For many years I maintained confidence in my personal identity. I knew exactly who I was and was quite comfortable in my skin. Although, I must confess my skin used to fit me better than it does these... [885 words]
Now That I'm Older, I'm Still Not Wiser (Essays) Now that summer is over and the children are back in school I found myself indulging in a little bit of retrospective thinking. It took some doing but I was able to think all the back to when I was a ... [883 words] [Humor]
Nurses, Bedpans And X-Rated Hospital Gowns (Essays) Tuesday last I awoke from my nightly slumber with terrific pain in my chest, much like an elephant break-dancing on my chest. It was painful just to breathe, but like the trooper I am, I shrugged it o... [923 words] [Humor]
Old Phil Propagated A Good Old Hoax (Essays) It began as all things begin n a long period of boredom with nothing exciting to do. Whoever said, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” knew something of what they were speaking. [882 words]
The One Great Sermon That Got Away (Essays) Most people don't realize ministers are obligated to prepare and preach one great sermon in their career. In looking over my record of sermons, I noticed many "good" sermons, but an obvious lack in th... [886 words] [Humor]
Who Has The Greatest Job In The World? (Essays) I have, in my opinion, the world's perfect job. Just look at the evidence. I love people and I love God. I love talking to people about God and I love talking to God about people. Therefore, if you p... [963 words] [Humor]
‘And How Do We Feel This Morning?' (Essays) Without question, going to the hospital is teamwork from the time you arrive until you are wheeled out the front door. Everyone is working together for the common good of the patient, or at least a cr... [909 words] [Humor]
‘I'm Not A Christian, But I Play One On Sunday'
James Snyder

After more than three decades of church ministry, I have come to one unsettling conclusion. Actually, I've come to more than one conclusion, but this one is the most depressing.

That conclusion is simply this: all who say they are going to Heaven are not actually on the right path, going in the right direction. Most, of course, have the best intentions, but good intentions don't make up for going in the wrong direction.

Our government insists advertisers adhere to what they call "truth in advertising." I would like to insist on something I call "truth in testimony." By that, I mean what people say about themselves should be the truth. If this could ever be enacted by Congress, some people will have to say, "I'm not a Christian, but I play one on Sunday."

I've always thought of it this way, if you're not a Christian on Saturday night, you're not a Christian on Sunday morning, which may be the ultimate test. Christianity is not a time-sensitive lifestyle turned on Sunday morning and expiring by nightfall.

Christianity is not like St. Patrick's Day, where for that one day everyone is Irish. Also, Christianity is not like a part-time job you take to make ends meet.

For example, take a guy who was in my office one day last month. I never saw him before and didn't know him from Adam. He saw our church, he said, as he was driving by and thought he would stop in and visit. "You have a real nice church here, reverend," he praised.

As soon as I saw him, I knew what he was after. His job was to see how much of my money and the church's money he could put into his pocket. My job, of course, was to make his job impossible.

I've played this game before and, not bragging, I've become rather good at it. Not that I have not lost my share of games, for I have. But after losing hundreds of dollars to scoundrels, I've learned how to play the game.

The key to winning is never letting your guard down, and more importantly, never allow your opponent to suck you into his sympathy scam. One man actually brought with him a little girl he pawned off as his daughter.

Looking into her big brown eyes my hand automatically went to my wallet. I'm sorry to say I lost that one and later found out the little girl was not his daughter.

This man in my office, let's call him "Ralph," had a different scheme. He was trying to impress me with how good a Christian he really was. Although he may not have been a good Christian, he sure knew how to tell a good line. All along, he was trying to impress me that he really knew God.

I could tell Ralph knew God about as well as I knew the President of the United States. It was then an idea hit me.

While he talked to me, I was trying to figure out how I could convince him that he really didn't know God. Sure, he knew a lot of things about God and could quote a bushel full of Bible verses as though that would impress me. Entrance into heaven is not contingent upon impressing some preacher.

I knew Ralph really did not know God personally. My problem was to persuade him of that fact.

It's almost like someone who smokes cigarettes trying to convince someone who doesn't smoke that they don't smoke. The smoker does not smell the smoke but the non-smoker smells it right away. Similarly, I can readily tell when someone doesn't know God personally.

As we were talking, an idea came to mind. Ralph was sitting across my desk from me and between us was my telephone. So I said to Ralph, "Do you know the President of the United States?"

Ralph looked at me a little perplexed with this question out of the blue and said, "Sure, I do. It's George W. Bush."

"Great," I said pushing the telephone towards him, "use my telephone and call him for me."

He laughed and pushed the telephone back.

Thrusting the phone back toward him I said, "You do know the President of the United States, don't you?"

He laughed a nervous little chuckle. "The president of the United States is George W. Bush." Then he shoved the phone back toward me.

"You know him?" I persisted. As he nodded in the affirmative, a worried look embraced his face. I could see he didn't quite understand what I was getting at.

"Ralph," I explained, "you may know who the President of the United States is and you may know a lot about him. But you don't know George W. Bush enough to call him on the phone."

People who say they know God only know things about God. People who say they know Jesus Christ only know things about him. If you don't know God enough to reach Him when you need Him, you don't know Him at all.

I like the Apostle Paul's testimony. He said, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" (Philippians 3:10 KJV.)

A friend of mine has a favorite saying that he likes to quote; "Either Jesus is Lord of all or he is not Lord at all." That about sums up the whole matter.

 

READER'S REVIEWS (2)
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"Dear James,I agree with your essay.However,one doesn't have to fall to his knees and pray every second to have a close relationship with Jesus either.I attend my catholic church every sunday.I pray to Jesus and ask him to help me through the many problems in life.But I feel that Jesus helps those who help themselves.I am the only one in my immediate family that attends church every week.I don't force my wife or my children to go.Religion just isn't a priorty in their lives and that's just fine.I truly believe that you have to worship God of your own free will and it doesn't make sense to force someone to worship.I go to church and pray to the Lord for me and for me only.If other people don't see the Lord in the same light as I do then I don't judge them and I don't force my view of religion on them. But call me crazy because ever since I accepted the lord Jesus Christ as my savior good things have been happening in my life and I truly hope that good things happen and continue to happen in your life as well as you continue to spread the good word." -- David Daniels.
"I remember first hearing this from my mother. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I have been both good and bad throughout my life; hopefully, more often good than bad. I have never, however, ever stopped having faith that there is a God and a spiritual afterlife. The Christian populace is full of hypocrites and wanna-be Heaven occupants who don't think they have to do much other than act the part of a good Catholic or Christian (or Jew or whatever), to get there. I am much more realistic. I think my best shot is getting into Purgatory. I understand that for some time now, the Catholic Church has decided there's no Limbo anymore. I hope it (the Church) never feels the same about Purgatory. That would turn us all into sky-divers. Either you're chute opens or it doesn't." -- Richard.

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 2005 James Snyder
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
April 2005
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
1732
 

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