I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt
Posted on December 31, 2011 by Leighton Flowers, One of Thousands of Christian Coaches on Noomii.
Insights from a book about the disillusions of "church life."
Reading this book by Vince Antonucci and loving it! Few books make me laugh out loud but the people here at Starbucks must think I’ve had one too many cafe lattes this morning with my outbursts.
As a recovering church brat myself it is really refreshing to read the perspective of believers who come to faith much later in life. So far I’ve only read Vince’s testimony and some of his perceptions of “Christianity” (mostly derived from Ned Flanders on The Simpsons). Despite our very different upbringing and life experiences it is amazing to see how I have come to many of the same conclusions about religion and the western world’s “Christian” experience.
I absolutely loved the story of his first encounter with “the church.” He writes, "Walking through the front door of that church building was like passing through a portal to a different world. So much was unfamiliar. For the first time I heard about “propitiation,” “puppet ministry,” and “potluck suppers.” I stood for “fellowship,” knelt for prayer, and sat on a hard wooden bench (which they called a “pew”). I saw more polyester in one morning than I had my entire life. I experience church snack time, which consisted of little pieces of cracker and small plastic shot glasses of grape juice. A man explained that we would be singing hymns 11, 52, 17, and 63. I almost yelled out, ‘Bingo!’"
HA! You know, I think it would do all Christian’s well to try to put themselves in the shoes of those who visit our church services. Sometimes I think they must think we are all nuts!
Vince continues to drive home the major theme of his book, “But it’s now seventeen years later. I’ve gotten married. I have two kids. I’ve gained a few pounds. And I’ve gone from having never walked into a church to having seventeen years worth of Sundays in church buildings. And with all that experience (not to mention a few extra pounds) under my belt, I can tell you that there is something very familiar about most of the Christians I’ve met. Unfortunately, it’s not that they remind me of the people who populate the pages of Scripture. Instead, they remind me of a little girl named Emily. Little Emily looks cute in her souvenir shirt that proclaims, ‘My parents went to Florida and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.’ But there’s something sad about it too. She missed the journey. She didn’t get to take part in the adventure. While others broke out of their dull routine, Emily missed the excitement of doing something different. She didn’t get to play in the waves or hug Mickey. She didn’t get to experience the joy…As I’ve gone to church and met Christians and lived as one myself, I’ve realized something. We are Emily. When I read about the lives of the first Christians in the pages of the New Testament I see people who actually went ‘on vacation to Florida,’ who truly experienced the ups and downs of the trip. But when I look around at Christians today, I see people who just wear a T-shirt for an adventure they’ve missed out on. We’re missing the journey. We’re stuck in the same dull routine. We’re missing out on the joy and fear and laughter and doubt and mystery and confusion of following Jesus, of taking great risks for God, of praying dangerous prayers, even of being spiritually attacked…Is this all there is?”