Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Ribbon Bully

Last week I posted a Blog about running and in it I used a clip from Seinfield. As I was watching that clip I couldn't help but parallel the woman's desire to have Kramer wear the ribbon with many churches trying to get people to conform to their type of worship. The duologue is interesting:

KRAMER (to organizer at desk): Uh, Cosmo Kramer?
ORGANIZER: Uh...o.k., you're checked in. Here's your AIDS ribbon.
KRAMER: Uh, no thanks.
ORGANIZER: You don't want to wear an AIDS ribbon?
ORGANIZER: But you have to wear an AIDS ribbon.
KRAMER: I have to?
KRAMER: See, that's why I don't want to.
ORGANIZER: But everyone wears the ribbon. You must wear the ribbon!
KRAMER: You know what you are? You're a ribbon bully. (Kramer walks away)
ORGANIZER: Hey you! Come back here! Come back here and put this on!

WALKER #1: Hey, where's your ribbon?
KRAMER: Oh, I don't wear the ribbon.
WALKER #2: Oh, you don't wear the ribbon? Aren't you against AIDS?
KRAMER: Yeah, I'm against AIDS. I mean, I'm walking, aren't I? I just don't wear the ribbon.
WALKER #3: Who do you think you are?
WALKER #1: Put the ribbon on!
WALKER #2: Hey, Cedric! Bob! This guy won't wear a ribbon!
BOB: Who? Who does not want to wear the ribbon?

How many times does something like this happen in churches. Instead of a Ribbon Bully we might have a Bible Bully wanting to make sure that everyone knows that the King James version is the "real" version. Maybe instead of a Ribbon Bully we might have a Dress Code Bully telling those who are not wearing a coat and tie that they are obviously not presenting their best to God. Or maybe you run into the Hymnal Bully who thinks that only traditional hymns can lead us into the presence of the Lord as we worship Him in song.

I understand that there are many who play the part of the Ribbon Bully every Sunday and do not even realize it. Take a few minutes and ask yourself if there are any hang-ups that you have that might turn someone away from being a part of the Body of Christ. The church seems to have allowed tradition to trump truth. Instead of becoming a Ribbon Bully try keeping you comments to yourself, try taking a bite out of the humble pie. Take a look at the following verses from Romans 14.
Romans 14: 1-3 - 1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
 This verse is talking about more than eating meat and vegetables. It is talking about judging one another in what Paul calls "disputable matters". Let's not make a big deal about things that are not big deals. Let's not be Ribbon Bullys to the world!

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