The optics of the situation

obamatangoPresident Obama has taken some criticism over the last few days over doing the wave at a baseball game in Cuba and now doing the tango in Argentina while the world comes to grips with another terrorist attack.  The UK’s Daily Mail, one of the most read newspapers in the world, had a headline, “Obama Dances While Brussels Burns“.  In the Daily Mail article, Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations talks about the optics of the situation, with spit screens showing the President doing “the wave” on one side of the screen and the footage of Brussels on the other side.  This reminds me of the day the video was released of American James Foley being beheaded and the President gave a speech about it then went golfing.  And the purpose of today’s blog is not to criticize President Obama.  I want to talk about how things look to others.

I want to pivot here to the question of how we appear verses how we really are in our relationship with Jesus.  In a way opposite to the President’s problem with appearances, I wonder sometimes if I try to make it seem like I’m a better Christian than I am.  I talk a lot about a certain time at the Mason UMC that I asked people to pray about something before we, as a church, were going to make a decision about it.  A couple of weeks later we made a decision about something.  We had a room full of people and I asked them point blank – “How many of you have prayed about this?”  Literally, three people raised their hands.

Sometimes the church takes a beating in the community and in the world based on how non-church people see the church.  And it gives me cold chills to think that the truth is this:  the way we are is actually much worse than we portray ourselves publicly!  Our prayer life, our Bible reading, the things we do when nobody is watching, the backstabbing in the church, the things we do just to receive recognition…. and so on.

The President more than likely has people working behind the scenes, and is more than likely in communication with everyone he needs to be in communication with, despite the appearance that he doesn’t have a care in the world.  The most important thing is what’s going on that nobody knows about.  And so it is with your walk and my walk with Christ.  What’s going on when nobody is watching is the most important part of our walk.  It’s way too easy to have the appearance of a personal relationship with Jesus, yet be completely neglecting Him behind the scenes, and I’m talking about the personal lives of pastors as well.  And the ultimate danger is when we get to the point that we’re fooling ourselves, thinking our public persona is the most important thing.

Understand that the last days will be dangerous times.  People will look like they are religious but…” ~ 2 Timothy 3:1 & 3:5

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