While I haven’t seen it in a while, I used to enjoy the “Come On, Man” segment on the ESPN® Monday Night Football pregame show. Do they still do it? For the uninitiated, the segment highlighted bone-headed plays and player behavior from different games from prior weeks. Each analyst on the pre-game show would select several plays they wanted to highlight, a video would show the play and the behavior, which would always be something head-scratching, and the analyst would say, with disdain in his voice, “Come on, man!” The underlying, unstated message always was, “You need to do better than that.”
In truth, the saying is a lot older than the sport show’s use. I’ve heard it from others and have said it myself for many years as a reaction to seeing or hearing something from someone that provoked an incredulous reaction in response to their behavior or comment, “Come on, man!” It’s another way of saying, “Are you serious!?” or “Are you for real!?” or “You’re kidding me, right!?” or “I can’t take you seriously!” or “That was messed up!”
If you’ve been following me at all, you know that I have a great love for the Church. I’ve spent most of my adult life in it, both as a lay member and as clergy. I write about it, directly or indirectly, much of the time. I read a lot about it. I have studied the Church from its inception to current times, and the most of its developments, transitions, struggles, successes and failures in between. I believe it to be a mystical body with a holy, transcendent purpose. And sometimes, I think we are living beneath our calling and beneath our privilege.
The various philosophical methods developed over the centuries to “prove” GOD’s existence and the validity of Christianity aside, my study, my reason, and my experiences (including my observations) combine to affirm GOD’s reality. The holy and transcendent are not and cannot be products of human wisdom and creativity. Therefore, participation in them come from invitations from above and these invitations and participation have specific modes (e.g. grace, the Holy Spirit, acknowledgement of sin, repentance, faith, rebirth, self-emptying humility, and intimate spiritual relationship expressed through obedience, study for understanding and wisdom and regular prayer).
The faith on which the Church was founded was never intended to join the list of the world’s philosophies. It was to stand apart as the distinctive, earthly body of the heavenly and holy person of Jesus Christ. Without that distinctiveness, Christianity can’t be anything but one among many human philosophies rooted in an argument not a person.
The invitations have come from above, but the response and participation within the Church is uneven and sometimes lacking. This is even more the case when the Church’s attention moves away from Christ, His will and His ways, and focuses its passion on other issues, causes, concerns and their associated wills and ways. The result: a confused purpose, diminished power to witness, and inconsistent ability to demonstrate transformation into Christlikeness, the intended fruit of faith.
Come On, Church!
© Byron L. Hannon, 2020. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.