Saturday, May 8, 2010

#77 Testimony Jealousy

With stories as bland as their skin tones, the vast majority of white Christians have pretty vanilla stories about their conversion to Christianity. These testimonies are typically linked to Sunday school, catechism, or even not really knowing when or where their conversion experience occurred.

Stories typically include phrases like, "When I was like 9 years old, I pretty much decided that I didn't want to go to Hell..." or "I don't really know the exact day that I became a Christian- it just sort of happened when I was a kid at some point."

These run-of-the-mill testimonies pale in comparison to the exciting testimony of the tattooed Biker-for-Christ that had a deathbed conversion after a near heroin OD in prison. These testimonies always end with expressions like, (in grizzled tone) "After burning through all kinds of Hell, being clinically dead for 8 minutes, and staring the grim reaper in the face, I finally decided that I had to ride this hog for the Big Man upstairs."

As these bandanna-ed Brethren dispatch their particular brand of cowboy wisdom, observant white Christians will notice that, in the time since their conversion, the Biker-for-Christ has had some additional tattoo work done. X-treme faith themed tattoos now cover up previously gang-related and/or racist tattoos. It's not uncommon for a crucifix to be covering up the stars and bars.

While the X-treme testimony is definitely in the minority, every Sunday School convert secretly longs for a testimony like this- but they don't actually want to live the bad parts. This leaves the white Christian in a conundrum.

Of course, all X-treme testimonies are held to the gold standard of conversion stories- Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus. We're relatively confident that Saul/Paul didn't have tatted arms or wear leather, but that guy has the testimony by which all others are measured.


Terry Lee said...

so funny. so true. just wish i'd thought of it. :-)

Patrick Dodson said...

Just wanna say how much I appreciate you're writing. Well done.

Luther Zwingli said...

Thanks, Patrick. Keep checking back every Saturday night at 11:59PM. You'll have exactly one minute to read the post before violating Sabbath observance laws.

Library Lady said...

To be sung:

"WELL! It was on a (insert day of the week) somebody touched me. It must've been The Hand of the Lord."

I was taught in the SB church that if you didn't know the PRECISE minute you were "saved", then you weren't. YIKES!

I like the kinder and gentler Wesley tradition of "growing in grace and faith". I think salvation is, or can be, a process.

Just my two cents' worth. Please spend it wisely.

Keep up the fine work!

Anonymous said...

...and then there's the competition for the "I was more retched and miserable than thou, I was sinking in sin, drowning in sin, on the road to hell, I was drunk all the time and out a-whorin' and fornicatin' and cussin' an cheatin' and lying an.....but praise God, the Lord lifted my out of sin and darkness, and over night, I quit all that sin, and He set me on the right path..."

How can anybody compete with that??!!