Commentary By Mike Colaw
Years ago, I sat in my fifth-grade Sunday School class, where my friends and I would throw pencils into the ceiling tiles when the teacher wasn’t looking. Before long the class was giggling and the 15 pencils sticking out of the ceiling gave us away. Yet again, our teacher called me to the front of the room. I was always causing trouble in one way or another. I was the kid who asked questions like, “If God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, then God technically made him evil. So wasn’t Pharaoh obeying God, and isn’t obeying God good?” This drove her crazy.
One Sunday, she pulled me into the hall to lecture me and said, “Mike you are a disappointment to your dad.” Something clicked – I decided I didn’t like church people. That was tough because I was as “churched” as a kid could get – my dad was the pastor of the church. That’s right, I was the typical, rebellious pastor’s kid. I went through a season where everything about church seemed to annoy me. Even my intellectual discrepancies (if you can call them that as a kid) were really driven by my dislike of the people, not true intellectual barriers. Basically put, church became dumb and boring.
As a teen, I connected with an amazing leader named Eddy,who listened to my annoying questions and took the time to answer them. I really did end up falling in love with the heart of Christ, but I still didn’t like the grumpy Christians. During this same time one of my best friends’ parents were going through a messy divorce. Since his firsthand experience with marriage was negative, he was becoming cynical about the institution of marriage. The problem with this for me was my parents – they were truly in love. One bad marriage doesn’t mean the institution of marriage is evil… and I realized I was drawing the same conclusion about the church.
Our experience in youth group was what helped both of us – Eddy had an incredible marriage, and also created a youth department where I experienced how good church should be. There is some truth in Nietzsche’s observation about Christians, “They would have to sing better songs to make me believe in their Redeemer: his disciples would have to look more redeemed!” However, the Bible says, “Those who seek me will find me when they seek me with all their heart.” Looking past the “Christians” who really annoyed me, I found the heart of Christ and fell in love with His nature, passion for people and value system. I was so caught up in my perspective of messy religion I couldn’t really wrestle through what I believed until someone pointed me to Jesus. Eddy, thank you.