This is a post from a couple of years ago.
The most recent episode of Doctor Who was about clones. The Doctor and crew landed in the year 2020, I believe, and encountered a group of people and their clones. I won’t go into all of the details, but if you’ve watched enough sci-fi you understand that nothing good comes of having a bunch of clones around. Look at the Star Wars movie Attack of the Clones from a few years ago or any other movie or TV show involving clones. Whenever you have clones, you have trouble.
This all leads me to think about the Steven Taylor song from several years back I Want To Be A Clone. This song talks about how the people in our churches don’t want individuality, but really want clones. They want you to mimic them and learn from them. In reality, they want you to learn how to toe the party line, not cause any trouble and eventually you get your shot to teach other people how to be clones. It’s a very satirical look at what happens when we come to Christ and join the church. It’s sad, really.
What is the result of having a bunch of clones in the church? Just like a sci-fi movie or show, nothing good. You may have some relative peace. You may have a bunch of people who don’t rock the boat. You may have a bunch of Yes People. But, is that a good thing? What you really get is a perversion of what the Church is all about.
In the Doctor Who episode that I referenced, the clones turn on the originals and are determined to destroy them. I think something similar happens in the church. When individuals are recognized for who they are, they will turn on the establishment. When people are pressed to conform and be just like everyone else, they will balk. They will rebel (The Doctor Who episode I refer is entitled The Rebel Flesh. I could really do a whole post on that title alone.) I’m not saying I condone this behavior. I’m just speaking to the reality of it. The would be clones in the church will either cause trouble or leave and begin another church.
What should happen? Our churches should be places where all different types of people are welcome. These differences should be celebrated. After all, different people have been joining the Church since the beginning. Jew. Greek. Slave. Free. Man. Woman. Instead of setting up these differences, let’s celebrate what we have in common. One Savior. Oneness in Christ. Let’s build each other up and encourage each other to use our differences to honor, magnify and glorify Christ.
How about you? Do you ever feel pressured to be a clone? Do you ever pressure anyone to be a clone?
Oftentimes when I’m in the shower, I worship. A song comes to mind and I sing it to myself.
The other morning I was worshipping to this song.
You just did a double take and wondered how in the world I could worship to this song. It doesn’t mention Jesus at all.
This song is, for me, the epitome of the “Outlaw” movement in country music when I was a kid. If you aren’t familiar with that movement, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others rebelled against the country music establishment. Fed up with the cookie-cutter formula of the “Nashville Sound”, they decided to do their own thing. It was a risky chance to take. They could have failed and been blackballed by Nashville.
Instead, they hit it big.
Steven Taylor, from a different angle, takes on the Church in a similar fashion in this song.
Neither Waylon Jennings nor Steven Taylor are original though.
Jesus did the same thing over 2,000 years ago. He rebelled against the power base of the Jewish leaders. He brought the gospel of the kingdom of God to Israel.
He was rejected.
Today, we have a choice. Have many of our churches become like Nashville was in the early 70′s? Do we cookie-cutter our faith? Do we really need to do it the way everyone tells us to do it? Are we a little too comfortable?
Maybe we need some Outlaw Christianity. Maybe we need to be a little dangerous. Maybe we need to lose the comfort.
Are you following the establishment? Or are you an “Outlaw”?
When I was in first grade, I had those big fat crayons. You might remember them. There were about eight of them that came in a pack. They were for kids with small hands. I never really understood the logic of putting big crayons in little kids hands, while the big kids got the small crayons.
I remember, as clear as a bell, a girl in second grade having a box of 64 Crayola crayons. I gazed upon her multitude of colors and then looked back at my eight.
Her pictures were so much better. Why? I know it was because she had more and smaller crayons.
I couldn’t color in the lines. Even when my crayons became smaller I couldn’t do it.
I was told and cajoled to color in the lines. And I was never really able to. Even now, my coloring would not look as neat and beautiful as someone else’s.
Now, as an adult, I face the same challenges. You mean you want me to drive 50, not 51? You mean I can’t walk on that grass? I really want to touch that paint.
I don’t like lines.
I don’t think I’m unique.
The church wants me to color in the lines too. In many ways I will. Then, somewhere along the way, I get outside the lines in a big way.
Steven Taylor wrote a couple of decades ago about a guy who has to color inside the lines called “I Want To Be A Clone”. He satirized the fact that the church wants everyone to conform and be like everyone else. Many really don’t know what to do with those who want to color outside the lines.
There are people in your church today that color outside the lines. Maybe an entire church colors outside the lines of the other churches in the area.
Do you know what you should do?
Applaud. Clap. Support. Encourage.
Because they are part of the Body. Because they are a leg to your arm. They are a left hand to your right.
Because they may have little fingers with a big crayon. Or bigger fingers with a small one.
Because they are drawing and coloring a picture that God finds beautiful.
And so should we.
What size is your crayon?