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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Plasticity
Have you ever met a Christian and in the first few minutes you got the feeling that they were trying very hard to look like a Christian? You know what I mean? You meet them for the first time and there is a slickness to them that makes them come off like a snake oil salesman? On some subconscious level, something inside is nagging you with the growing conviction that you are witnessing something insincere. A facade that looks right, but seems wrong.

I remember attending a local church service in another church, and being greeted after the service by men who clearly found the idea of talking to strangers about as uncomfortable as imaginable. Their body language was screaming - I don't want to talk to you! but they were all smiles, smalltalk. I marvelled at what they were able to muster, not that I was impressed with how they were overcoming the flesh, because I didn't see men overcoming the flesh, I saw men suppressing the flesh for a few minutes in order to put on the Christian mask. No, I marvelled that they were so religious that they bothered to go that far.

By and large though, nothing makes me cringe more than this sort of plasticity; and this is magnified a thousand fold when I find it in a person that some congregation has called to be their pastor. I mean, if the pastor has to put on a mask, what does he possibly have to offer that congregation? Information without application can only carry you so far.

Anyway, no great point here, I am just putting a label on something that bugs me.

Labels:

posted by Daniel @ 7:47 AM  
11 Comments:
  • At 2:48 PM, January 31, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    While I understand where you're coming from, I think you've got to be very careful here. Do you think it's possible that some of these folks are just shy by nature, and talking to strangers does not come easy to them? Or perhaps they are new to the faith and are just trying to do what they think is what is expected of them?

    I do agree with you if you get that vibe from a Pastor, though. That's not good. There is one I deliver to regularly (as a trusty FedEx guy), and he has it all: The super MEGA church, the book deals, the Hummer, the million dollar home, the "perfect" wife. Oh, yeah, and he also has a plastic smile.

     
  • At 4:21 PM, January 31, 2010, Blogger Daniel said…

    I agree Matt - the trouble with quick posts like that one is that I don't spend a lot of time qualifying exactly whom I am targeting and who I am trying not to target.

    So for the record, I am not talking about newbies.

     
  • At 10:49 PM, January 31, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    Daniel,

    I didn't think that was your "target".

    Maybe I'm just missing the thrust of your post. Or perhaps I'm a bit naive in assuming most people I meet at church have sincere intentions. I confess my discernment skills aren't as fine tuned as yours, because when I meet someone knew, I put them into one of two general categories: shy and introverted or friendly and outgoing. And there are a plethora of circumstances in a person's life that may be going on at the particular time I meet them to throw my first impressions way off. I just don't trust my first impressions of people, I guess.

    Anyway, I don't want to bicker with you, brother. I hope you had a great Lord's Day with your family.

     
  • At 6:52 AM, February 01, 2010, Blogger Daniel said…

    Matt, I am inclined to shyness myself, in fact before the Lord mattered to me I remember my wife taking me to her work Christmas party - I wept like a baby on the way there because I was -so- shy and introverted! True story. The fact is I simply don't like the stress of meeting new people, I don't like being in a situation where I feel I have less (or no) control, especially if I see there is nothing to personally gain from such exposure. Perhaps it is a rare thing for a person to so examine themselves that they are able to see why they are untroverted and shy? But I know that my inclination is fueled thus because that is how the sin of self direction expresses itself in me. It is not simply a neutral aspect of my personality, but is at it's heart an expression of sinful self desiring to have it's way and reacting to situations where it feels that control is threatened.

    So when I meet with other people in the world, I am not at all surprised to find the expression of their falleness so unbridled. Likewise as I meet with those who bane the name of our Lord, I am not surprised to find even many to be shy and introverted, for immaturity is epidemic in the body, and I am have no illusions about what the body is, even if I long for her maturity.

    But I didn't mean my remarks to apply to those whom I meet who are shy in their flesh. Rather, I aimed my thoughts at those who are superficial in their Christianity. There is no link that I know of between shyness and superficiality. Being shy means you just don't know how deeply sin rules in your life, or you haven' the depth of faith (yet) to address it fully. It doesn't make you insincere or phoney. Introversion doesn't mean that you fake it when you meet new people, it just means you are more concerned about yourself at that moment than the people around you.

    Instead of thinking of it as shyness versus boldness, think of it as genuine love of the Lord versus an obligatory and begrudging effort to act like you love the Lord. When the two mothers came to Solomon to have him decide who the babe belonged to (for both claimed to be the babes mother) he knew whose child the babe was because fake love will only serves it's own interests.

    In the same way when a person has no real interest in another, but knows christian's are *supposed* to have such an interest, and so he or she acts the part for the benefit of those who will see his or her performance, he or she is doing so either to convince himself or herself that tlhis or her faith is above question or to convince others of the same. The goal is to look the part in order to either merit additional favor from God, and/or to solicit a favorable reputation from others. Doing what is expected if a servant without the heart of a servant is not bond-service, it's just plain old works, and empty works at that for they confer nothing of value to the one working, and are apt to do as much harm as good to rhe one receiving them.

    Anyway, it's the phoney, plastic, pretend "put on" interest in others that I am talking about, and not shyness. Shyness may make a person hesitant to meet another, or even cause them to be brief in their discussion, but it won't cause them to pretend to be interested in another when they clearly arn't. To be sure, shyness, though just another expression of self, is typically more honest than what I was trying to get at.

    Hope I don't sound to nit picky!

     
  • At 8:30 AM, February 01, 2010, Blogger Daniel said…

    iPhones lend themselves to typos.

    With that in mind, allow me to correct some from my previous comment:

    Paragraph #1:
    Untroverted = introverted

    Paragraph #2:
    bane the name = bare the name
    I am have no illusions = I have no illusions

    Paragraph #3:
    haven' = haven't

    Paragraph #4:
    tlhis = this

    Phew. Well, my apologies to anyone who was reading the previous comment and might have been stumped by my poor texting skills.

     
  • At 12:57 PM, February 01, 2010, Blogger Mitch said…

    I have always been extremely shy,but I never thought of it as sin?

    Perhaps I should...

     
  • At 1:39 PM, February 01, 2010, Blogger Daniel said…

    I would feel more comfortable describing shyness as a symptom of, or perhaps one possible expression of, our sinfulness, rather than saying (or implying) that every instance of shyness is in fact an act of rebellion against God.

     
  • At 2:34 PM, February 01, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    Dan,

    thanks for your further commentary. This has turned out to be very profitable to me personally, and I hope it is to others as well. I certainly agree with you on the relationship between "shyness" and sin, as I have discovered that to be true in my own life. I don't think being shy is a sin in and of itself, but I do think it is manifestation of sin, particularly pride.

    Anyway, I have always been one who found trusting other people to be a difficult thing, especially prior to my conversion. As I have grown in my faith, that sinful tendency has dwindled, yet it remains, to be sure. At the same time, (and almost contradictory) I think I also tend to take people at face value when I meet them. I assume they are what they are, you could say. What astonishes me about your original post was how you described meeting people for the first time and had an almost instinctive knowledge that they were less than sincere in their Christian faith. I honestly can't grasp that kind of discernment. To me, if I was to *try* that, I would certainly fall into the sin of presumption. I'm not saying you are wrong, so please don't assume that, I'm just saying you seem to have an ability to read people or discern things that I do not have. Dare I even say you have a Jedi-mind gift?? Maybe a lot of people can do that and my senses are just dull?!? LOL

    It takes me a good while to get to know someone enough before I can discern any insincerity in them.

     
  • At 6:13 PM, February 01, 2010, Blogger donsands said…

    Oh yeah, and they come in different degrees.

    I remember stopping by my friends church, and the assistant pastor came out to say hello, and as he came over i asked him, "Hey who built that nice picnic shelter?"

    he said, "Jesus built that."

    I said, "He did? Oh, that's right He was a carpenter."

    He then felt a little awkward, but he was 90% trying to impress us with being a Christian, and aking sure He was giving the Lord his due, I guess.

    I have a lot of stories like that.

    I'm a timid kind of guy. I can be bold at times, but for the most part I'm timid.
    And it depends on the other persons whether I'm timid or bold. Sort of like Elijah standing up against 400 prophets. And runnin' scared from one woman.

    But then the Lord has given me the grace to overcome my timidness at times, when it was deep and dark, let me tell you.

    And it's really impossible to repent of timidness; I've tried. The lord just shows up and helps me, and I really don't know why. But I thank Him, and love Him for it.

    Thanks for the fresh thoughts Daniel. You always have some deeper than normal words for us blogging Christians.

    Keep it up bro.

     
  • At 7:02 AM, February 03, 2010, Blogger The Pilgrim said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 8:43 AM, February 03, 2010, Blogger Daniel said…

    Pilgrim, I deleted your comment because the it was clear from the irrelevancy of the link, that the only purpose for posting it was to invite traffic to the linked site.

    I have a policy in place whereby I do not allow my blog to be used in that way.

    In the future, if you want to keep me from deleting your comments (and this goes for everyone), keep them relevant to the topic at hand, and if you must stray, don't stray into advertising for some other site, as I will -always- delete such comments.

     
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