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Facebook reveals Christians who are still following God

 

The greatest miracle of Facebook is it allows you to re-connect with people you haven’t seen in decades. A few months ago I re-discovered Lance, a childhood friend from when I lived in Alvin, Texas around 30 years ago. Hard to believe it’s been that long. It seems like only yesterday he and I were playing baseball and football and I was getting on his nerves about going to his house to play that ancient, antiquated relic game called Atari.

Others I’ve connected with have been friends from high school (Bob, Lorin, Tami, Dean and Valkena), college (Tim, Rachel, Jason M and Bill), the Army (Steve, William, Mike, David and Angela) and even people I’ve met within the last 10 years as a writer (far too many to list). I also use Facebook to connect with professional acquaintances (Wendel, Tara, Terry, Steve, Tino).

Of the Christians I’ve re-connected with from college, it’s always fascinating to see what they’re up to now. Some are still living full-speed ahead for the Lord, perhaps as a minister at a church or as an employee at a Christian organization. Some are on completely different paths. One friend from college is now a professing atheist while another has theological and world views that are very different from mainstream Christianity. Others have made me wonder if they were really ever a Christian in the first place.

And then there are the Christians whom you’re proud of.

Recently, I found a guy named Ray, whom I knew at Pensacola Christian College for a summer and a semester. I worked with him and saw him every so often. Since Ray was from Maine, I often teased him about his accent. It was exactly that—teasing. I was tickled by his accent and remember how he used to make many people laugh at work when they’d ask him for an item and, needing to know the number of the item, he’d say, “What numba?” When they’d call out his name, he’d say, “Yeah! Talk to me!” Humor like that made a dreadful job tolerable.

PCC tends to be hit or miss when it comes to how receptive students are to its rules. You either learn to to tolerate the rules or you don’t. For those students who are being forced to go there by their parents (and believe me, there were a lot like that), it was four tortuous years. Some went, decided they didn’t like the rules and didn’t return. Many times I’d presume it was because they disliked the rules while other times it also was because they ran out of money. Others who really hated the rules badly and decided being on their parents’ good side wasn’t worth it would sometimes deliberately do things to get kicked out.

If memory serves correctly, Ray left PCC after a semester. He had different music standards than PCC did and seemed to find the college far too restrictive. I’ll never forget that time I told him about how “worldly” and “ungodly” I believed the Christian heavy metal band Petra to be. Ray responded: “Man, don’t be knockin’ Petra! I got saved at a Petra concert!”

At the time, it was practically unfathomable for me that anyone could find the Lord at a concert of a band representing perhaps the greatest oxymoron—Christian heavy metal. But as I observed Ray, I came to see that while he was different in his practices, he was indeed a Christian. Yes, there were unsaved people at PCC, but Ray definitely did not seem to be one of them.

Now, when I consider Petra and more-recent bands like Audio Adrenaline, I see God as a fisherman. Just as a fisherman uses different bait depending on the type of fish, type of day, type of year, type of water conditions, God uses different bait to bring people to Him. Some require a hellfire-and-brimstone message to come to God while others require seeing Christianity in action over a long period of time. I am reminded of how Pat Robertson, in his 1972 autobiography Shout It From the Housetops remarked about criticism he received for using contemporary music to reach younger generations that he would never reach that crowd with a spiritual diet of “milk and crackers.” It is infinitely better for a person to get saved at a “Christian heavy metal” than to never get saved at all. A failure to grasp this is one of the things that, in my opinion, absolutely plague the Independent, Fundamental branch of Baptist churches.

We’re quick to assume that when someone leaves a Christian college that they’ll go into a worldly downward spiral and never be useful to God. Thankfully, looking at Ray’s website, that’s clearly not the case. He plays guitar and seems to really love the Lord. He represents that paradox that seems to lurk for many sheltered Christians: if you want to see Christians who are on fire for the Lord, you often have to look outside the circles of dress shirts and short haircuts for men and dresses and no makeup for women. You’ll find it among Christians who dress in jeans, shorts, who listen to popular music, watch movies and where even on Sundays the wives, mothers and daughters often still wear pants. Some of the strongest Christians, some of the godliest people I’ve ever met have been in this camp.

Observations like this make me think that after almost 30 years as a Christian, I’m just now starting to have an elementary grasp of whom God truly is and how He operates.

Richard Zowie, a 1995 graduate of Pensacola Christian College and a Christian since 1981, remains a humble student of God. Post comments here or e-mail Richard at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

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