Let’s NOT Join a Cult
I have a Grumpy Inner Critic. He’s cranky, intelligent and likes the colour mustard. He enjoys reruns of Fraiser and two sugars in his black coffee. People don’t always like him. Don’t worry, I keep Him locked up. Well, most of the time.
My Mum says I inherited my Grumpy Inner Critic from My Dad. My Dad is practical and, yes, he can be critical. He repairs everything, ev-ery-thing, because to find something new he will like is nearly impossible. As teenagers my brother and I would hide under the seat when he wore his sun glasses in public because they were held together with Pratley’s Putty. (To the Marketing team at Pratley’s Putty, find this man). I remember once going on a trip to the Fish River Canyon as kids. Dad, looking over that almighty drop, scoffed “agh, I think the view is better at home.” There is no enclosure for my Father’s Grumpy Inner Critic, he reigns free- an African dictator in an autocratic nation.
A Sunday is Dad’s Grumpy Inner Critic’s favourite day. Sunday is church. Every single time on the way to church my Dad will make a comment like: “What’s special about this man we’re hearing today, Flossie?” (That’s my Mum). Mum’s Grumpy Inner Critic is well behaved. Generally, My dear Mother floats through life with her guitar, a novel and a long skirt. “Oh, I don’t know. He’s very inspiring though. Don’t you remember he came last year? He told us that wonderful story about the children in Uganda. And he prayed for Helen- her back was healed…” Dad didn’t remember.
During these conversations, I select the survival tactic silence. They didn’t stop there, after what my Mum felt was enough time to broach the subject again she would casually suggest: “you should go up for prayer. For your knee, you know…” This kind of comment was all Dad’s Grumpy Inner Critic needed to transition him from chair to waving walking stick. “NO,” my Dad would respond. “Why can’t you pray for me at home? How do we know it’s going to work? That Helen could have lied.” Mum would sigh and resign for another week, “where is your faith?”
Tumi and the crazy marriage Pastor
I went hiking with a bunch of girls this week and my Grumpy Inner Critic broke out. Not quite like my Dad, but nearly there. “You know,” Tumi told us as we trotted down the dirt track waves crashing behind us, “I heard a story about this one pastor in America. He set up a ministry and told people he heard from God about their marriage partner.” “He did what?” I felt sick. “So,” she went on, “this pastor would ask people to pay and he would pray for their ring finger and then he would say ok it will happen.” At this point in her narrative I was about ready to pack up Christianity as a whole and join a pack of naked hippies, dance in circles and howl at the moon. My Grumpy Inner Critic broke out of his paddock. “Are you serious?” I asked. “That’s ridiculous.” “Yes, it’s true,” she assured me. “Go look it up on the Internet.”
The more I thought about that crazy marriage Pastor the more my Grumpy Inner Critic ran wild. And rightly so. He swore. He tripped people. He became angry. It took 2 Oreos and 3 cups of tea for me to get him to calm down.
Troy (as in the movie where Brad Pitt is unclothed)
For some unfathomable reason I studied Classical Civilisations for a year at University. (Why Fran? Why those life choices? Anyway…) In essence, for those who forgot the story, the Greeks were up against the Trojans. The Trojans had a giant fortified wall. The Greeks came up with a clever plan: they hid in a wooden horse and gave this to the Trojans as a “present”. The Trojans, in the belief that they had won the battle, took the horse into their city. That night, the Greeks broke out and destroyed the Trojans from within. The End.
If I glance back through the dusty pages of history I feel like the church has let in things which have looked “innocent” or people have thought are “Godly” and yet have caused destruction, much like the Trojan horse.
Let’s not join a cult
The world isn’t going to benefit from Christian robots seated neatly in chairs absorbing information like an intern at a news agency. Christians need discernment- the ability to recognise if something is good and from God, or not. You, me, the Traveling Pastor from Kenya, Mum and Dad- everyone. The healthy medium.
You see, My Dad had a point- we should challenge our assumptions. But so did Mum, when you pick at your beautiful faith like a zealous kid in a Biology class, you ruin it. Don’t let your Grumpy Inner Critic fall asleep, he may have something valuable to say. Don’t be so critical you may end up standing at the edge of a breath taking canyon, unimpressed. The End.