Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Strange Case of the Baptist Electrician


It was a Wednesday afternoon. The electrician was just finishing up the job I’d hired him to do. I caught him glancing at his watch.

“Do you need to be somewhere?” I asked.

He answered, “I don’t want to miss church tonight.”

With the deductive prowess of a latter-day Sherlock Holmes, I put the facts together: Wednesday. Church. Not Lent.

“You must be a Baptist,” I concluded.

“Yep,” he smiled and told me which congregation he called his church home.

I was familiar with it and I knew that their theology was far from mine. It wasn’t just the believers’ Baptism thing, either. They were King James Bible-thumping, fundamentalistic, straight-and-narrow, sawdust-trail-walking, hell’s-full-of-liberals-abortionists-and-gays, agree-with-us-or-be-damned Christians. Strong on Law and weak on Gospel, in my opinion they represented everything that is wrong with Christianity.

But I didn’t say so.

“That church saved my life,” the electrician said. He meant it literally and it was probably objectively true. A few years earlier he had been on a path of self-destruction. With no internal controls on his behavior, I think he needed the external control that this legalistic church provided.

I think that God may very well have been at work in that church with all of its bad theology.

Sometimes I wish God wouldn't do things like that.


My plans aren’t your plans, 
nor are your ways my ways,
      says the LORD .
Just as the heavens 

are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways
      higher than your ways,
      and my plans than your plans. (Isaiah 55:8-9 CEB)


  1. Won't it be fun to gather together in the age to come and compare notes as to how badly off-the-mark our theology was!

    "You think THAT's bad! I believed...."

  2. I'm looking forward to arguing theology with Moses, Paul, and Martin Luther.

  3. ... but then maybe we will all be wandering around like Steve Jobs... "O WOW! O WOW! O WOW!" Until nap time anyway.

  4. "Sometimes I wish God wouldn't do things like that." Oh how that resonates - thanks!