Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What the Secret Service & Christianity Have in Common

Many of the Secret Service agents who have guarded President Bush at his home in Crawford, Texas have at one time or another visited a nearby tavern called Cricket’s Bar & Grill. This past Friday 30-year-old agent John Scott Lewis became intoxicated and treated staff and patrons so rudely that the Waco Police were called.

When the police arrived Lewis was trying to start a fight with Cricket’s manager. Lewis could not be talked into toning down his behavior and leaving so he was arrested. Lewis resisted arrest and had to be subdued by a Taser electronic stun gun. Lewis has been charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and reckless damage to property.

When I read the story my first reaction was, “I can’t believe that an agent would conduct himself in such a way.” Then, it occurred to me that many a time the media has carried stories of Christian church members and clergy who have been abusive, dishonest, and criminal. Sometimes that has lead the public to conclude that “all” Christians and ministers must be hypocrites. As a result the public will frequently dismiss any serious consideration of faith and involvement in a faith community.

When one Secret Service agent is inappropriate we should not conclude that the entire agency is corrupt. The agency is honorable as are the majority of their agents. I hope that the same grace-filled conclusion can be held concerning the church.

Last night I spent two hours in a small group experience in someone’s home where in honesty and authenticity men and women shared with one another something of how God is at work in them to transform their broken ways into wholeness and sane living. There was no pretense, image maintenance or game playing. In that room we were just real people engaging a real God in ways that make a real difference.

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