Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Unacceptable Conversion

Unacceptable Conversion

Conversion is so much a part of the American way of life. We seem to be much polarized these days and we are involved in the lifetime pursuit of attempting to convert others to our way of thinking. I remember clearly my mother trying her hardest to convert me to become a lover of peas, broccoli and spinach. But I was much devoted to all vegetables yellow and despised the greens. Eventually I did convert but only after I had become an adult and no longer under duress from my mother.

I remember attending Meadville Junior High School where all my best friends wanted me to convert from basketball to football. I didn't like football because I had a natural instinct for self-preservation and because I weighed less than one hundred pounds in the seventh grade. But, against my better judgment I succumbed to their influence and tried out for the football team. During the first practice the coach lined me up in a one-on-one blocking drill with the biggest, meanest kid on the team. I realized my disadvantage from the start. The equipment I was wearing weighed more than I did. I really couldn't get up any speed or momentum. He hit me so hard I saw stars for three days and had to go to the dentist to repair a chipped tooth. Needless to say, I didn't convert to football.

90% of my childhood friends were Catholic, some Italian Catholic and some Irish Catholic. I was the lone protestant and Terry Wecas was the lone Jew. I must say, I was strongly attracted to the idea of cleaning my slate every Saturday morning with a simple confession to the local priest. But, I remained well rooted in my Protestant beliefs and enjoyed many a debate with those dear friends as we tried to promote our own faith.

I attended a private boarding school in a border state: Kentucky. Many southern friends tried to convince me of the advantages of southern living. I suppose they did convert me because I never returned to my native state, Pennsylvania. I've lived in Columbus, Georgia for over 25 years. But, I still hate black-eyed peas which seem more like a bean to me. I'm still a Penn State fan and I'm still loyal to the Pittsburgh Steelers. I still don't like corn bread, nor have I ever learned to endure the heat of southern summers. But I love southern fried chicken and no one can make pecan pie like my wife's grandmother who hails from Greenville, South Carolina.

So many are trying to convert so many other! Democrats and Republicans, Baptists and Methodists, Arminians and Calvinists, Alabama fans and Auburn fans. CNN fans and Fox News fans. Conversion is as American as Coca Cola (or Pepsi) and Apple Pie. It is much accepted and creates variety which adds spice to our lives.

But, there seems to be only one conversion attempt that is absolutely unacceptable. It's a mystery but it’s true. You may try to convert anyone to anything….but don't dare try to convert someone to Christ. That is considered crude, crass, arrogant and hateful. Just ask Brit Hume. It's a mystery but its not surprising. Jesus warned his followers: "All men will hate you because of me." Luke 21:17

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