several years ago, rob bell, in velvet elvis, made a statement that i have often repeated: truth is everywhere.
in the bible. in the quran. in the vedas. in the words of a prophet of crete (which paul quotes in his epistle to titus). truth is, in fact, everywhere.
sometimes truth doesn’t only come in “sacred” texts or reverent means of communication. sometimes truth comes in strange, bizarre, awkward rants by people we might otherwise blow off as crazy people with a chip on their shoulder.
enter the self-proclaimed “amazing atheist.”
in his youtube video called sneaking in jesus, the amazing atheist spends almost 8 minutes ranting about the building excitement of finding a $100 bill on a sidewalk and then the crashing disappointment of discovering that it’s actually one of those fake pieces of currency with a christian message on it.
have you seen these tracts? i received one recently and they’re amazingly real looking. here’s an example of one that’s especially great because whatever nutjob christian organization printed these took out the other standard godless presidents and replaced them with ronald reagan (a.k.a. jesus, jr.).
alright, here’s the video. watch and make sure to listen to his underlying points (you’ll have to get past the flailing and general craziness…).
moving beyond the surface level of arguing about the effectiveness of a fake million dollar bill as a tract (or tracts, in general), there’s something more to his crazy rant. the underlying issue here is, in fact, what the title suggests: sneaking in jesus.
just yesterday on the eikon blog (and reposted on this blog), i talked about the idea that following jesus doesn’t guarantee complete fullness. the fact is, though, that is the prevailing christian rhetoric. it’s the classic a + b = c thing. the problem, though, is that people quickly find that a + b equals something very different than c.
when people are made to believe a certain outcome is impending and they find something else, it makes them resent the giver and, most likely, the message being propagated. it’s a lie. it’s false hope.
even if it’s something as goofy as a fake million dollar, it’s still a way to tell people, you’re a sucker! you’ve been punk’d! that doesn’t endear people. it makes them leery of the message.
good ideas need no gimmick. they don’t need to be sneaked in. they don’t need our help. they only need us to not get in the way.
good ideas spread because they are good. they are lived out. they’re presented in authentic ways. they come in see-through packages that deliver what they promise.
indeed, truth is everywhere.