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Wishy-washy Christians
October 5, 2009
by Rev. Mike Nelson, Triune Lutheran Parish

Have American Christians in our age become wishy-washy? Are we only lukewarm in our faith?

In the book of Revelation, John, an exiled Christian on the island of Patmos, has a vision in which the risen Jesus appears and tells him to write a letter to seven churches in Asia telling them what he has seen. The letter affirms the strengths of each church, but warns of their shortcomings, which they must change or face consequences.

One of these churches is in Laodicea, to whom it is written, “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:15-16)

I saw a tongue-in-cheek news release posted on a web site dedicated to religious humor. It announced, “Leaders of the Evangelical Laodicean Church in America last week announced the publication of a new hymnal.

‘This is truly a hymnal for the new millennium,’ said Presiding Bishop Luke W. Ahrm.

‘This collection of hymns really captures the essence of our tradition. At the core of our belief is the principle, moderation in all things, and that applies to our faith life as well. We just don’t like to get carried away.’”

Among the hymns listed were: “A Comfy Mattress Is Our God,” “Oh, How I Like Jesus,” “Take My Life and Let Me Be,” “What a Pal We Have in Jesus,” and “When the Saints Go Sidling in.”

The release also shared a Laodicean rendering of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Grandfather, who art in heaven, special be thy name, thy candy come, thy will be changed, on earth as in our wishes.

“Give us this day our daily cake; and wink at our trespasses, as we wink at ourselves when we trespass against others; and lead us not into commitment, but deliver us from dedication.

“For thine is the lap, and the chuckle, and the pat on the head, forever and ever. You bet!”

Of course, this was written in jest, but have many of us turned our faith into a hobby? Something that’s good to practice one morning a week (if there aren’t more important things to do), but something that must not interfere with the rest of our lives?