Trek 2008 - Throwing Out the Baby and the Bathwater
Trek 2008 – Throwing Out the Baby and the Bathwater
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:6-7 NIV
Have you ever shared bathwater? If you grew up in a large family that had to conserve resources, you most likely shared bath water with your siblings. Everyone who experienced that knows that if you share bathwater, the secret to getting clean is to get in line early. You need relatively clean bath water to get relatively clean.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” The meaning is obvious. Used bathwater is dirty and belongs in the trash. Babies are precious and we don't throw them away. Until I met Dennis, I’d never related babies and bathwater to the story of the prodigal son.
Dennis lives in California but mines in Nevada. (see pictures under Nevada – Tonopah) You can see from his picture that he has a big smile and a warm heart. He loves nature, talks to flowers and animals, and feels blessed to be a miner because it keeps him close to his own spirituality. He has an interesting theology. He believes in and dialogues with most religion’s manifestation of god in human form, including Jesus, Mohammad, and Buddha. He says he is spiritual and not religious. The closest thing to religion he has is a belief is the metaphysical.
He said, “The way I see it is that all the sons of God sat around a table and one at time, they each said, ‘I think I’ll go down now.’ They came at different times because each culture had different needs.”
“Do you have any Christian background?” I asked.
“Sure,” he smiled. “I grew up Baptist. I know all about Jesus. I talk to him all the time.” During the course of the conversation, he quoted the Bible and Jesus many times.
“So,” I remarked. “That means that at some point in your life, you invited Jesus into your heart, walked an aisle, and got dunked.”
“That’s right,” he said. “I just think most Christians use their religion as a crutch. They don’t want to take responsibility for what is happening in their own life. They blame things on Satan and use words like ‘it wasn’t God’s will’ to make excuses for not doing what they should be doing.”
I laughed. “I agree that some Christians use religion or Satan as an excuse. I have a sore foot. I’ve been told it is because Satan was trying to slow down my ministry. I disagree because I did this to myself. Previously, I’d had a foot problem and the doctor prescribed special shoes. I knew I was risking injury but decided to wear cute but uncomfortable boots for an entire day. I have no one to blame but myself for my pain.”
Dennis believed the things most religions taught including Christianity. “Jesus knew about metaphysics. He turned water into wine. Tell me that wasn’t metaphysics. Christians have no idea how far they can go. They don’t believe their own religion. Jesus said we could do all this and more. What did He mean by more? I think it means can cure our own cancer.”
“Jesus was a scientist, for sure,” I agreed. “He also came back to life. There had to be some cells and molecules that changed there.”
“Good point,” Dennis agreed.
The more Dennis talked, the more I realized how much about the Bible he knew and actually believed. I’m not sure he even realized how much of it he used to make his points and how reverent his voice was when he mentioned Jesus. Most of his complaints about Christians and modern day Christianity had merit. Christians are often guilty as charged. I never heard him complain once about Jesus.
“Dennis,” I asked. “Do you read the Bible anymore?”
“No,” he said. “Not in a long time.”
“You know it well and you sound like you believe it. You definitely believe in Jesus. If Jesus was really The way, The truth, and The life, would you want to know it?” I asked.
For the first time in the conversation, Dennis was speechless. I waited as he gave it thought. Finally, he answered, “Yes, I guess I would.”
“I have a challenge for you if you’re up to it,” I said. “You told me that you talked to all of the son’s of God. Ask Jesus if He really is the only Way, Truth, and Life. Ask Him to prove it to you. Are you willing to take my challenge?”
Again, Dennis waited and thought carefully. After a moment he quietly said, “Ok, I will do that.” I was so impressed with his honesty and how well thought out his opinions were. Even with being so opinionated, he was still open to discovery of truth. What I know and what Dennis doesn’t yet know is that if he asks Jesus to prove He is truth, Jesus will answer that prayer.
Are you curious about how this ties to the story of the Prodigal Son? The Prodigal Son left his family and wandered to the far country. He was Jewish and as such, would have had nothing to do with pigs and yet, we find out that our Prodigal was feeding pigs and longing to eat what they were eating. You couldn’t get much further from Jewish religion then feeding pigs.
I’ve been praying for Dennis and what I saw was a man disappointed by Christians and the application of modern day Christianity. He wasn’t willing to give up on God so he decided to combine the best of all religions into his own personal theology. In short, he rebelled against his Christian roots, probably for good reasons, by expanding his beliefs and even making up some. His theology was creative, made sense if you looked at it logically, and I suspect he would make an excellent fiction writer.
Unfortunately, Dennis also tossed out the precious baby with the dirty bathwater. The Christian behavior he described was dirty bathwater. I suspect the Christians he observed as a child didn’t make it “first in line” for their bath so they bathed in dirty bathwater and came out dirty themselves. I may be reaching on the metaphor but bad behavior is modeled to children in some Christian churches in the form of things like gossip, political battles for power, back stabbing, meanness, and many other things. Some Christians do use their religion and Satan to avoid the confession and change that Christianity requires. It is no wonder some children rebel and wander in the “far country” for other answers. The baby Dennis tossed is the Jesus of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that Jesus is waiting to bathe everyone in the pure bathwater of His blood. The church is Jesus’ bride and He is waiting to make her pure as well if we will just read His word and obey.
“Dennis,” I asked. “Is Jesus your savior?”
“No,” he said. “I think the word savior is another way to avoid responsibility.”
“Jesus really is my savior,” I responded. “You talked about religion being a crutch. I think of it as wings. My church is the closest thing to the kingdom of heaven I can find on earth. I love it. You are right about what you said about some churches. I’ve witnessed it myself but I’ve also witnessed church being the way Christ intended. Church isn’t supposed to be like you described but in many places it is. I have to warn you that eventually you will long for church and Christianity. When that happens, I beg you to be open to giving Christianity another try.”
I left the conversation smiling. I liked Dennis and had fun. He was fascinating and I have no doubt he will take the challenge I suggested and that The Way, Truth, and Life will answer in a mighty way. I have to laugh about the impact Dennis will eventually have on the Christian church. When he finally meets the true Jesus personally – Jesus as The Son of God - and goes to church, he will not tolerate anything but Christ-like behavior in his church. I wish I could be a member of that church when the Prodigal Dennis returns.
Cheryle M. Touchton is a ministry partner with and the Director for Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden at 904 316-5462.
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