I think the church in Laodicea is going to fire their pastor, David Dred. I think he trusted Christ about the same time as I did. It was after the Great Evacuation. He also lost his wife at that time. He started searching the Scriptures and learned that he had overlooked an important doctrine: faith in Christ. He was able to minister without that little piece of information. In fact, that lack of trust in Christ actually aided in his service in Laodicea. Now his faith has become an enormous obstacle to him, at least in this church. Fortunately, at this point in time, the church didn’t know that I was saved!
All the members here have been at each others’ throats. Many of them are related to each other. That can be a problem. It was like the Hatfields and McCoys.
The moderator was a long time friend of mine, Charley Vette. He had been saved for quite a while. He was an innocent and intelligent man who was under-appreciated. He told me he was going to bring a gun to the meeting. I told him he couldn’t. He was afraid that a violent fight was going to break out. I told him again that he couldn’t bring a weapon to a business meeting of the church. Then he told me he was going to call the local marshals. What can you do? Again, I told him that everything was going to be alright. Now I wasn’t sure.
All the deacons and deaconesses all took their place at the table. I could readily tell who was going to really rule the roost. There was a powerful fella driving a new luxury car and wearing some expensive duds pulling up into the parking lot. I don’t know why he was leading the meeting but he began the meeting.
“I have an agenda of some new things that we need to consider,” he said. I didn’t realize that he was a deacon. But fortunately, or not, after I was saved one of my gifts from the Holy Spirit was spiritual discernment. The first thing I noticed about that man was a strange aura around his head. It looked like a dark, red haze around him. But he also had a black dark streak that ran through him from his toes to the top of his head.
I whispered to my moderator friend, “Who is that guy?”
Charley said, “His name is George Rich. He owns most of all the businesses in town. If he quit giving to the church, it would go under. And everyone knows that.”
“The first thing we need to address is the music at this church. I’m sure you would all agree that we need more cowbell!! We need some contemporary music. Some drums would be nice . . . with some cowbell! We should get rid of all those antiquated hymn books and the pew Bibles. It makes us look old. If anyone uses Bibles, they can use their phones! And the lyrics of the music can just be projected on the wall. Everyone knows the music from the radio anyway.”
I used to call that kind of music, “off the wall music.” Well, that phrase seemed funny to me anyway.
Rich continued his tirade, “We sure don’t want to drive anyone off. You know that all of the churches around here are attracting more and more people. That’s what we need to do! We need to reach more people. And we don’t need to confuse them with theology and all those antiquated stories in the book.”
“More clips from movies would be good, too. People relate to the movies. They probably would like more of those end times movies. ”
I knew that Satan had influenced a lot of the recent movies showing the end of the world. But the devil was showing scenes of the world blowing up so no one would believe it could actually happen. Christians were always portrayed as bumpkins who didn’t know any physics or biology. Especially, many movies were science classes on evolution.
Dred turned to me and said, “I used to tell everyone that there was no big ending to the earth. Boy, was I wrong. Now Satan is getting everyone to laugh at Armageddon.1 And Rich wants to show it in the services!”
What is Rich’s infatuation with cowbells? I knew the Beatles and Stones used them.2 Parents brought cowbells to high school marching band competitions and football games and my dearest sister-in-law even brought one to a baseball game. I loved her exuberance! But church? What was the point?
I know this isn’t my church but I had to speak out. “What’s the deal with the cowbells?”
Rich replied to me, “You aren’t a member of this church but that’s OK, I’ll answer you. If we use cowbells in worship then we would know that the music would be loud enough.”
Should I dare to dialogue with him? “So you mean you want to be sure that the services are fun?”
“Exactly!” said Rich. He almost jumped out of his exorbitantly-priced Italian shoes. “We want to have fun! We want everyone to have a good time! If not, people have other things to do on Sunday mornings. We are competing with a day at the beach, boating, golf, and most of all concerts. And we need more choices. We need to add some Saturday services in case people have other things to do on Sunday mornings.”
“Don’t Christian churches worship on Sundays to commemorate the rising of the Lord on the first day of the week?” I asked.
“Again, you aren’t a member here but let me answer you,” Rich said, “our priority is the Great Commission. We need to reach more people. Numbers should be the most important consideration!”
“So no one needs to dress up, right? Then they can just cut out after worship to get on with their lives?” I asked.
“Exactly!” Rich said. “And don’t forget that we need more cowbell! I didn’t catch your name.”
“Verb,” I said, “Verb McCracken.”
“OK. I know that name.” Rich looked away and checked his watch. You’re here to minister tomorrow, right?”
“I was asked to preach, yes,” I dutifully answered.
Rich replied,“There’s a reason for that which brings up the next item on our agenda. We need to vote on our preacher. He seems to have changed after we lost so many people a while ago. He gives too many details about the Bible. That will keep people away from our church. And people are our prime concern, right?”
“People, people, people! More and more cowbell!”
I wondered: what about the gospel? Shouldn’t churches be filled with people who know Jesus? And shouldn’t they come to church to learn their Bibles? Now I knew what that dark streak was that ran from his toes to his head. He was actually demon-possessed!”
(To be continued . . . .)
1 Revelation 16:16
2 Beatles’ “You Can’t Do That,” “I Call Your Name,” Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women.”