Redemption for Doomsday

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I’ve made some terrible mistakes in my life. Some bad enough that people who don’t even know me would be angry at me for making them. In my misguided ways of trying to cope with depression, I’ve walked down roads I never thought I would walk. Basically, there was a time in my life where I considered myself a bad guy.

Superman has been my hero since I was a little boy. He could do anything. But he chose to do the right thing.

Even from an early age, I realized that he could have ruled Earth, but instead, he serves Earth.

And even though Lex Luthor was his ultimate evil counterpart, his biggest enemy was something else entirely.

Doomsday.

A freak monster born out of radical science experiments on Superman’s home planet, Krypton, long before the planet was destroyed.

We didn’t learn much about the monster when he first appeared in comics. We were just shown this killing machine hunting down Superman.

That was the day that Superman died.

Doomsday’s story would be told, little by little, through the years, and Superman (returned to life through a Kryptonian healing chamber and a little help from his friends) would face Doomsday again on several occasions.

The most recent of such meetings occurred in a story called “Reign of Doomsday,” where a Doomsday like creature, known as The Doomslayer, gained intelligence and started out an a vendetta to destroy Doomsday and the few others like him.

There was a moment when Doomsday lie defeated and broken on the floor that the Doomslayer was going to kill Doomsday, when Superman (the man often beaten up and once killed by Doomsday) stepped in and protected him.

Superman shouted, “He may be a mass murderer, but the fact that you [the Doomslayer] have achieved intelligence says he has the potential for change, for redemption!”

In fact, he was saying much more than that, he was saying that all intelligent beings have the potential for redemption, for change.

God doesn’t give up on us.

However, the church has a harder time with that. Many churches prefer to keep their image squeaky clean by not allowing those with problems or big mistakes in their past inside.

Now, they probably don’t have signs that say, “If you’ve ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol, or have ever been arrested, please don’t attend our church.” But it’s more in how they treat these people. Ignoring them, not letting them volunteer for things, asking them to dress more neatly or to sit in a side area, basically embarrassing them, hurting them, and making them feel uncomfortable until they decide it’s not worth it to come.

What’s worse is we probably don’t even realize we’re doing it.

There are always a few people in church that you know have pretty messed up lives. Do you avoid those people during hand shaking time?

The point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter what’s in someone’s past. We are all broken, messed-up people who have made some stupid mistakes.

Just because your mistakes might be more socially acceptable than mine doesn’t make you a better person than me. In God’s eyes, we are equals.

Everyone who truly desires to be a part of the body of Christ should be welcomed, even if that part of the body has a cast on it for a little while as they try to get things working again.

I mean, if you break a finger, you don’t cut it off, you give it time to heal!

Give everyone a chance to change — a chance for redemption. And if they fail, give them another one. And another one. And another one. God doesn’t stop giving you chances, so who are you to limit the number of chances you give others?

The image of the church is not as important as the call to love others as we love ourselves.

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Why the #BackRowBlackout?

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I’ve been tweeting as Back Row Baptist every day for about a year and a half and it’s been a very successful run so far. There have been other times that I’ve had to take a break, but I’ve always pre-scheduled tweets to cover my time away so most wouldn’t even notice my absence.

But this time, things are going to be different.

This time, for 40 days, Back Row Baptist will go dark. No tweets. No Ask.fm questions. No blogs. No videos. No nothing.

But why?

Two reasons.

The first is simply because I need some time to recharge, especially after these last couple of months. I want to just stop, completely remove it from my mind, and let my funny bone rest for a bit – hopefully coming back well-rested and ready to tickle some ribs.

But the second reason is to bring attention to something that has been bugging me lately about the Church Anons on Twitter.

Most Anons are very aware of the recent issues we’ve had with a certain Doctor. While many of his attacks have been both misguided and based on bad information, and while I absolutely do not condone how he has composed himself, I must admit that he’s not ENTIRELY wrong about how the Anons are acting.

We, as a community (myself included), in my opinion, have become far too bitter, far too mean-spirited, and far too divisive.

Look, I have my targets. I’ve gone too far in criticizing Joel Osteen on many occasions, I admit that. But many accounts like mine have started to devote their whole account to mocking, sarcasm, and mean-spiritedness.

We, as a community, are starting to come across as jerks, and that’s not going to help anyone.

Look, I understand the appeal and again, I’ve done it too. Letting off steam by mocking someone who makes a mockery of our faith feels good. On occasion, I’d say, it’s even appropriate. But a constant stream of negativity makes US look like the bad guys.

When I started my account, there were far fewer of us, and the majority of us were doing what I still try to stick to today – letting off steam about church and faith in humorous, and sometimes convicting, ways… and usually tweeting about my own failures just as much or more than the failures of others. In that time, the Church Anons have grown from a handful to hundreds, and the tone has gotten slowly darker.

I’m not trying to point any fingers. Nor do I think that anyone is intentionally trying to come off consistently negative. But this is a real problem and it’s starting to get out of hand and give us all a bad name.

So, as part of my 40-Day Blackout, I’m going to be re-evaluating myself, reviewing my own tweets, praying, and making an earnest effort to make sure my account is about making Christians laugh above all else, which was my goal from the beginning.

And I encourage my brother and sister Anons to take some time to do the same. I’m not saying that everybody has to run their accounts like mine, nor am I trying to say that I’m some kind of self-appointed leader who has the right to dictate what you can or cannot tweet.

I just want to encourage everyone to continually pray about their account and make sure that what they are doing is ultimately positive and honoring to God, as even a Christian joke Twitter account is a ministry, because what we say touches hundreds, even thousands, of people.

The #BackRowBlackout starts on August 5th, and I will return on September 14th – hopefully a better Church Anon.

Thank you to all of my followers and friends for being there for me and laughing along with me for so long and trust me when I say that being away from you will be difficult! I will miss you all, but I’ll be back soon!