How does the phrase go…”Presentation is eighty-percent of the deal?” Or something of the sort. It was that 1980ish summer leadership camp that taught the art of manipulating the buttons and whistles of positive reinforcement and how to effectively present yourself that set me on the know-how trail. But knowing how sometimes forces the hand of authenticity.
The conversation began with a simple statement. One of my children said, “You know, if people really knew how much they are sized-up and judged just by their appearance or the look of their house or whatever, they might take note of what they’re putting out there.” Fair enough, wouldn’t you say? And there’s more. “I remember getting beautiful Barbie dolls for Christmas and the packaging would make it look like it had all of this neat scenery and things to do with it but when I finally got it loose from its fancy box it was just a doll that didn’t do much!”
I remember those hot-pink boxed toys. One year, one of the girls begged for the Barbie that came with a bicycle. She had a hat and sneakers and a cute outfit. The background of the box made it look like it came with a foldout mile-long park path lined with red maple trees. What a deal!
Turns out, the presentation sold us a lie. If we buy a doll on a bike she surely ought to be able to ride. I mean, the dumb doll wasn’t even limber enough to manually hold her on and push the bike along. I guess we could have duct-taped or wired her up somehow. In the end, we had a beautiful doll that just sat there and a bike that wouldn’t even stay upright. Sure the wheels would turn and the handlebars moved but what’s the use.
The perfectly presented pair in the box, should have just kept them in there!
And here is where it gets tricky.
Two or three blinks after that conversation I began thinking about the church. Come on, it was just harmless dialog about toys and here you go again getting me in trouble with my words (I think that is directed to the Holy Spirit…” Still small voice” situation).
I will never forget my mother telling me how she ran into a lady in town and she began talking about someone she worked with who Mom happened to know. The woman clearly had nothing kind to say about this person but in her summary, she launched the final blow. She said, “I’ll tell you one thing for sure, I know which church she goes to and I will never step one foot inside its doors because of her.”
I wonder, we all look so handsome and clever with our churchy-wear and our churchy-smiles but when you take us out of our churchy box how many measure-up to the packaging?
Can we stay balanced or do we just flop over with no real stability in our faith? Do we conform to the ideals that it can’t have it the way we think it should be then we’ll just contort and bend to whatever works best for whatever situation suits us? No use looking silly, not to mention sometimes the road less traveled has a few spring potholes that most likely will never be filled…make peace with that one!
Better still, how about being the one who carries the duct tape and the wire? Look around. You’ll never go without seeing someone who needs a hand unless you just stop looking. Some have.
“I remember getting beautiful Barbie dolls for Christmas and the packaging would make it look like it had all of this neat scenery and fun things to do with it but when I finally got it loose from its fancy box it was just a doll that didn’t do much!”
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10