My daughter got to talk on the phone to Elmo today (it was me). I wish I could’ve seen her face. She sounded thrilled. When Elmo put me on the phone (again, me), she told me that, “I talked to Elmo!” Over and over again. Perhaps sometime down the road I shall buy a big terrifying adult sized Elmo costume have a Skype conversation with her. Perhaps I can make Elmo a little more dignified by giving him a fancy pipe and a nice hat as he sips on a glass of whiskey on the rocks. Something tells me that while Elmo would be much more redeemable in my eyes, my daughter would suspect something is up.
I’ve been to a few churches, listened to a lot of different preachers, and seen a fair amount of views on Christianity. Most of them, while they may have the basics down, always had something off about them with me. For Westboro Baptists, God carries a stick and a gun just in case the stick isn’t long enough. In some of the exceedingly liberal churches, Jesus just can’t stop giving hugs to the point of it being uncomfortable and creepy. In some churches, Jesus is a life skills coach. And yet in other still, he only shows up long enough to say because he’s got another church to go to.
Much in the same way a child will know something’s not right if Elmo is participating in stuffy old people stuff, the Christian who studies the scriptures will know something’s not right when Jesus is put into strange clothes.
Perhaps this is why I like the LCMS so much. Sure, it can appear stuffy and boring to some, but it’s not wearing a funny hat either. The gospel is simply presented as it is without any fluff or personal opinion. To put it another way, think of Jesus as a salad and the church/preacher as a chef. Some chefs will mask the flavor with a salad dressing, but a great chef can make an amazing salad without any dressing at all.