The lady was not pleased. My finger merely brushed her trophy, yet
a part broke off. Earlier we had admired the tiny bronze statue of
a newsboy from the '40s. It was magnificent. Every detail was perfect.
Folds in the lad's coat were highlighted with the sheen of bronze
patina. Beautiful. Then, disaster. A light touch and the hand holding
the newspaper fell off. The lady was crushed. The little newsboy was
her most treasured award.
Now solid bronze doesn't break that easily. Inspection revealed the
trophy was made of plastic with a paper-thin bronze overlay. What a
disappointment. What an irony: the award was for quality and service.
But where was the quality in the trophy?
That trophy is like many church-goers. Not all, of course. Many are
solid bronze with a fine patina. But many professing Christians are
represented by that trophy. They have a thin veneer of Christianity.
They go to church, sing in the choir, and can recite the 23rd psalm
and John 3:16. Underneath the facade, however, is the real person.
You know him: joins in off-color jokes at the office; flies into a rage
when things aren't just so at home; is a member of the second-martini
-for-lunch-bunch. You know her: always listening to the latest about
the organist's affair with deacon Smith, and adding her own juicy tidbit
when she passes it on; joins all the organizations that will get her
picture in the papers; gets in good with the minister by bending his
ear about everything going on in the church.
It's easy to be a Christian on Sabbath morning, or at Wednesday evening
prayer service. It's easy to gush, "Isn't it wonderful to know the Lord?"
or "Ohhhh how I love Jeeeeeesus," When your fellow pew warmers are around.
It takes courage to be a Christian seven days a week. Those with the
courage don't need a paper-thin facade. They're solid bronze all the way
through. He's the fellow who privately lets the joke-teller know he'd
just as soon not hear the smutty stories. She's the lady who turns a deaf
ear to gossip, and prays for the gossiper to become more Christ-like.
The deceit of the newsboy's manufacture demands the question, is the
patina phony as well? There's no deceit about seven-day Christians. Their
patina is genuine, made beautiful by quietly living their Christianity at
home, at the office, and on the street among people who may never darken
a church door.
Now here is the question: What kind of Christian are you?
By Leslie A. Turvey