How Will People Know Our Home is a ‘Godly’ Home?

spider-man

Snark ahead. If you are an easily offended Evangelical, please leave now before you feel a wedgie coming on.

Fundamentalist Nancy Campbell, blogger extraordinaire for the Above Rubies website, asks the question What Goes on in Your Home?  Campbell wants to know if people “feel” the presence of God when they come into a Christian’s home:

Do the people who come into your home feel the presence of God? Are your neighbors and those around you aware that your home belongs to God?…

…How will folks know your home is truly God’s home? It will be a house of prayer. Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” Sadly, not much prayer happens in Christian homes today, but if our home is called by God’s name it will be filled with prayer. It will be filled with confessing the name of the Lord throughout the day. It will be filled with the riches of His Word. It will be filled with joy, singing, and God-inspired music. It will be filled with the inspiration of a mother who delights to be in her home, nurturing, feeding, and training her children to be God-seekers and God-lovers.

How are people on the earth going to know the name of the Lord? When they see our homes called by the name of the Lord. When they see that He lives in our homes. Everything comes back to the family and the home. We can get involved in all kinds of ministry, but if God doesn’t fill our homes, we miss the boat. It grieves my heart to see many people serving the Lord in different organizations and yet their families are in disarray…

Campbell thinks that a Christian’s home can give off some sort of God vibe, a feeling that resonates with the person entering the home. Evangelicals are taught that they have some sort spidey-sense that allows them to discern whether a person is a Christian. While their interpretation is out of context and does violence to the text, many Evangelicals think Romans 8:16 is a proof text for their Christian spidey-sense:

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God

According to Evangelicals like Campbell, a Christian should be able to walk into a home and “sense” that they are in a bought by the blood, filled with the Holy Ghost, followers of J-E-S-U-S home. (please emphasize the word Jesus like Oral Roberts or Robert Tilton would) Here’s the problem with this kind of thinking; if the standard for a Christian home is that it exudes love, joy, peace, and kindness, well…I know of many homes that are like this and none of them are remotely Christian. I also know of uncounted Christian homes where the pretend game is on full display when other Christians are around, but as soon as their fellow Christians walk out the door the home reverts to some sort of Simpsons/Girls Gone Wild/Animal House/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest  home.  Anyone can fake it. I guarantee you that Polly and I could, come Sunday, put on our Sunday-go-to meeting clothes, dust off our KJV Bibles, and visit a nearby Evangelical church and everyone would think we are a wonderful Christian family; especially if we have Bethany the love magnet with us.  Everyone would “sense” that we are super-duper Christians on fire for Jesus, especially once they hear Polly and I lustily sing harmonies on whatever song the band is playing.  And their sense would be dead wrong.

The infallible marks of whether one is part of the Evangelical club is not some sort of seventh sense, can’t say sixth sense since six is the first number in the mark of Obama, 666. Evangelicals recognize one another by the clothes they wear, what bumper stickers are on the back of their car, what euphemisms a person uses in their speech, and how much Jesus Junk® is on display in a person’s car, home, and work place.  Ask any former Evangelical, they can spot an Evangelical family or a homeschooling family from a mile away.  Polly and I can be shopping at Meijer and we will see a family in the distance and both of us will say, homeschoolers. We will then laugh, remembering that we were, for many years, THAT family.

How do you know which car in the parking lot belongs to an Evangelical? It’s the car with a faded Ronald Reagan bumper sticker, Obama is the Anti Christ sticker, a partially removed George W Bush bumper sticker, a Ted Cruz 2016 sticker, an Abortion Stops a Beating Heart sticker, and a bumper sticker that advertises what church they attend. If you look closely, you will likely see a Bible in the back window, right where it landed when it was chucked there after church last Sunday. If you don’t see it in the back window, move closer to the car, acting like you are trying to steal it, and look down on the floor. You might see a Bible stuffed under the front seat, partially covered by a McDonald’s Big Mac wrapper.

Drive by their house and what will you see? Wind chimes with a small Christian cross as the chime ringer, a brightly colored gnome holding a sign that says Welcome! This is a Christian Home; a Jesus is Lord doormat, and out by the front of the house a sign that says Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, A Christian Lives Here, or Protect Religious Freedom, or some other sign recently purchased from one of the fear-mongering Evangelical parachurch groups.

Once inside their home, what will you see? Everywhere you look you’ll see Jesus kitsch, likely made by child labor in China or some third world country. From Bible verse signs and paintings by Christian alcoholic Thomas Kincade to clock chimes that play Sweet Hour of Prayer and potholders with Christian slogans, Jesus will be on display everywhere you look. In the bookcase you will notice deep intellectual books by Tim LaHaye, Kay Arthur, Joyce Meyer, and Beth Moore and dusty, well worn copies of The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose Driven Life. (What!! Harry Potter? Starting to wonder what kind of Christian home this is.) Even in the bathroom there will be no escaping Jesus. Try as you might to defecate in peace, Jesus and the trappings of 21st century Christianity will be staring you in the face. J-E-S-U-S is everywhere. (please say Jesus in the voice mentioned above)

team jesus

Visit them at their office, what will you see? You will likely  see a picture of their family sitting on the desk, but the picture will be housed in a frame that says. As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord. The calendar on the wall will bear the name of the church they attend or an Evangelical parachurch group they support. Perhaps there will be a Bible or the latest Christian get rich quick book sitting next to the family portrait.  The screen saver on their computer will have a picture of Jesus or a Bible verse. Everywhere you look you will see visible proof that the person who works in this cubicle is on Team Jesus.

And here’s the thing, all the things I’ve mentioned in this post that are meant to say to other Evangelicals, Hey, we are on the same team, mean nothing. I suspect the home Josh Duggar grew up in had plenty of Jesus Junk®. I suspect the homes of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, Eddie Long, Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, David Hyles, Paula White, David Loveless, and Tullian Tchividjian, to name of few of the Evangelical pastors who have run into sexual “sin”, gave the appearance that they were devoted, spirit filled followers of Jesus. Yet, in real life they were fornicators, adulterers, abusers, and child molesters.

All that the Jesus Junk® tells you is that family has enough disposable income to invest in the trappings of Evangelicalism. The clothing and the outward appearance of a person tells you nothing about the what kind of person they really are. Anyone can play the Evangelical game. Give me a few days and I can take a Muslim family and turn them into Bob and Marsha Evangelical. The Evangelical shtick is easy to reproduce, so much so that anyone can do it. I regularly correspond with closeted atheists who attend an Evangelical church every Sunday with their believing spouse. Everyone thinks the atheist is a Jesus-loving, praise and worship singing Baptist.  I also correspond with several closeted atheist pastors. Everything about their life, including their demeanor, says to others, I am a follower of Jesus, Yet, if an Evangelical knew they were an atheist they would say the person is a follower of Satan.

Now, this doesn’t mean we can’t know what a person is made of.  While we can never know all there is to know about a person, we can, over time, observe their life, and come to a conclusion about the kind of person they are. Here’s what Evangelicals need to understand. Non-Christians are not interested in or wowed by the consumer culture on display in your home, car, or workplace. They aren’t interested in what takes place on Sunday Morning at the church you call home. They are not interested in your Ken and Barbie pastor. What does interest them is the words you speak and your behavior, not only in public, but also when no one is looking. How do you treat your spouse, children, and grandchildren? How do you act towards minorities, the weak, the defenseless, and the marginalized? How do you treat those who are not your flavor of Christianity or vote differently than you do? How do you respond to those who have no interest in your God and have told you please don’t? What do your non-Christian coworkers say about you?

These days, when I see an Evangelical whose life is a walking billboard for the Christian Ghetto, I immediately doubt they are what they say they are. They are trying too hard to be viewed as a Christian. They are like the car dealer who tells you he is the most honest dealer in town or the husband who tells everyone around him how faithful he is to his wife. I don’t trust those who have to publicize their virtuous character. Just live it and everyone will notice.

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14 Comments

  1. Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I had to laugh at your post because a few weeks ago the local Wal Mart had all their summer Jesus Junk on final markdown.. I took photos – http://www.jerks4jesus.com/2015/08/jesus-died-for-tacky-bull-crap-on-your.html

    But now they have their halloween stuff that is all marked with tacky Christian sayings and proclamations of blessings and harvest. Screw that, I want skeletons and spooky stuff.

    Reply
  2. Ami

    Love this line…”as soon as their fellow Christians walk out the door the home reverts to some sort of Simpsons/Girls Gone Wild/Animal House/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest home.”

    ::waving hands, jumping up and down::: ME ME ME… while growing up.
    OH my.

    You can’t even take a crap at my folks’ house without white American Jesus looking soulfully at you from the wall.

    Reply
  3. grasshopper

    Just recently a friend remarked that she could feel the presence of the Lord when she visited a holy place. I asked if she thought she would still feel the presence if she was to be taken on a mystery journey to various places, a church included , whilst wearing a sensory deprivation helmet that blocked both sight and sound. She didn’t answer the question, but she dropped out of the conversation and sat quietly ruminating for a time. Hey, I made her think!

    Would a Helen-Keller type christian be able feel the presence of God at Cambell’s house if she had been told she was visiting a typical atheist family?

    Reply
  4. Ian

    What would someone say about my house, I wonder? My wife is still a believer, so we have Jesus stuff on display in the living room and kitchen. People who don’t know me would immediately think I’m a Christian, since my hair is short, I don’t smoke, cuss (at home) and drink very little. I look and act just like most Christians. If she wasn’t home and an unsuspecting Christian came by, I wonder if they could feel the presence of God, or just me?

    Reply
  5. Melody

    Prayer itself can be a display as well. Praying very openly, or long, as a means to convert people. With a youth group I was a part of the leader once prayed very long and loud in a restaurant when we were on a trip; there weren’t many other customers and we were a large group so basically taking over the room. His prayer was loud and long and he was witnessing to the perceived unbelievers in the restaurant. However, he was very displeased, when as the bunch of teens that we were, we made quite a mess of the table and were loud and irritating. So much for his witness attempt! I don’t think the other customers’ image of Christianity improved that day.

    Reply
  6. Randy

    Bruce let me say first, I am still in the Christian camp and I’m glad I didn’t let your warning prevent me from reading this post. But then again, I’m not in the “easily offended evangelical” section of the camp. I think more Christians need to hear and heed your words. The greatest deficiency I see in Christianity is a lack of authenticity. Most can put on the mask, play the part, buy the book, the t-shirt, the poster, and all the accessories just enough to fool others.

    The honest truth is this: the non-Christians I know are generally much nicer than the Christians I know. They aren’t pretending to be something besides who and what they are. They are my friends for the same reason anybody should be your friend: because I thoroughly enjoy their company. I do not maintain the relationship to convert them. We may talk about spirituality from time to time, but my goal is not to debate them to a profession of faith. I stand by my faith but I don’t bludgeon them with it.

    I’m an introvert at heart, so I don’t open my house up to many people. The ones I do truly know me. Yes you’ll find some Christian pictures and such here and there. I do have a shelf full of Bibles and theological books, but you’ll also find some Louis L’Amour Westerns and (gasp) swords & sorcery and vampire fiction, along with plenty of non-fiction and a few biographies. Yes I have some Christian movies, but I have a ton of sci-fi and Westerns and yes (gasp again) some are rated R! I have an Xbox one and a stack of video games that have nothing to do with Jesus. My music collection has a scattered collection of Christian artists but is primarily composed of the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and other heavy metal and honky tonk artists.

    Now you better sit down for this one. I smoke cigars. I like bourbon. These are the two funniest because I know Christians who do them in secret. I’ve been asked not to post pictures of me doing either on social media by church leadership. It’s so funny man. My primary ministry is in the local county jail and I love it. I’m real with those guys about who and what I am. We are just a bunch of messed up guys who like to have a genuine good time but want to get our lives straightened out. For us, our faith is a guide.

    Anyway, I make a lot of Christians uncomfortable for all the above reasons. Sometimes they think I am too “worldly” or “backsliding.” I used to make sure I never slipped up and cursed. Not a big deal now. I try to be mindful of offending people with my language and the fact I have children who I want to make a good impression on for how they speak, but every once in awhile, I just let those accursed words roll off my tongue.

    Most of all I just want to be me. If Jesus is real, and he doesn’t love me for who I am, if he insists that I be something I am not, then it’s not real love anyway is it?

    Reply
    1. Monty

      Nicely written! (I too smoke cigars!). You’re just doing in the open which many Christians do in secret. At least you have the guts to be you…Had there been more Christians like you sround I may have not left the faith as angrily as I did.

      Reply
    2. Angiep

      Sigh….I wish all Christians were like you. Sadly, I think you’re the only one.

      Reply
  7. Steve

    “Defecate in peace?”

    Hahahahahahahahaaa!! ?????

    Reply
  8. Troy

    I think you’re being a bit cynical Bruce. I’m sure there are Christians who ham it up and fill their house with Jesus junk, but one should expect a Christian to have at least a few odds and ends they find spiritually fulfilling.
    My mother did most of the interior decorating, but nothing too over the top. What’s funny to me is when it is in your home day to day it becomes mundane and never really comes to mind until guests show up who might not be Christian.
    In particular we had the “Jesus Laughing” picture since it was the thesis of one of the sermons. (http://www.jesuslaughing.com/images/logo-jesus-glo.jpg)
    My brother’s friend, who was a muslim, asked “who is that your Grandfather”. I explained it to him and it did create an interesting dialog about his religion and how he goes to a mosque in Dearborn, his trip to the hajj etc.
    The other thing I remember creating interest was a silly ceramic wallhanging with a poem:
    My atheist friend seemed genuinely amused by it, though like I said generally ignored by all who lived there.

    Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
    Count your gains instead of your losses.
    Count your joys instead of your woes;
    Count your friends instead of your foes.
    Count your smiles instead of your tears;
    Count your courage instead of your fears.
    Count your full years instead of your lean;
    Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
    Count your health instead of your wealth;
    Count on God instead of yourself.

    We also had the “footprints” at one time I’m almost sure of it.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I forgot to mention a velvet painting of Jesus and a lighted picture of Jesus, both “gifts” that a church member wanted displayed in the church.

      Reply
      1. Suzanne

        Is that like one of those black velvet Elvis paintings they sell by the side of the road in Tijuana?

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Yes, exactly ?

          Reply
  9. Jinx

    “…six is the first number in the mark of Obama.”
    Nice touch Bruce!

    Reply

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