August 10 – Gabby Douglas: So-So Christian or So, So Christian

I love it. And I love her. Once again America has fallen in love with one of our Olympic athletes, and for the 2012 Games it is Gabby Douglas, the 16-year old gymnast who has won our hearts and won her gold. Who doesn’t know her story? And who doesn’t know that she is a committed Christian willing to share her faith, a faith that includes thanking God when she does well? Gabby also beseeches God for his protection and mercy on her father serving in Afghanistan and seeks God’s solace as she watches her parents’ marriage crack under the stress of repeated deployments.

But as most of us simply enjoyed getting to know Gabby, we knew that the cynic’s voice and snarky comments would be heard soon enough. And they were. There were others, but probably the most widely heard was from a blogger who approvingly quotes a friend who said, “I would like her more if she were not so, so, so into Jesus.”

I need not defend Gabby Douglas. Obviously, she is able to do that on her own – by what she says and by what she does.

As I read the blogger’s words, I came to the conclusion that she was saying much more about herself than about Gabby. It strikes me that Mary Elizabeth Williams, the blogger, much prefers so-so Christians to so, so, so Christians.

The dictionary defines so-so as an adjective meaning average, middling, fair, ordinary, moderate, adequate, respectable, indifferent, not bad, tolerable, run-of-the-mill, passable, undistinguished, fair to middling, okay.

Mary Elizabeth Williams is not alone is preferring so-so Christians to so, so Christians. All too often I much prefer so-so Christians to so, so Christians. To the point, I prefer being a so-so Christian to being a so, so Christian.

Here’s some of the difference as I see it between a so-so Christian and a so, so Christian.

  • So-so Christians thank God when good things happen, but get angry at God when luck turns its back on them. So, so Christians give thanks in all circumstances. By the way, I commend this post, Where Was God When Lolo Jones Placed Fourth?, for more on this.
  • So-so Christians pray occasionally, so, so Christians pray without ceasing.
  • So-so Christians are mostly concerned about themselves. So, so Christians rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
  • So-so Christians stop to help the hurting and talk to the lonely only if it’s convenient and entails no risk. So, so Christians, Good Samaritan-like, stop when convenience is low and risk is high.
  • So-so Christians always see the splinter in another’s eye. So, so Christians are more concerned about the log in their own eyes.
  • So-so Christians remember past hurts and play to get even. So, so Christians welcome the prodigal home and throw parties for those who have squandered their inheritance on foolish things.
  • So-so Christians worship when their calendar is free and gripe about their fellow worshipers on the way home from church. So, so Christians know that we are made to worship and choose to worship the One who made us rather than something we made. They delight in the fellowship of believers knowing that it is the fellowship of forgiven sinners, of whom they may be foremost.
  • So-so Christians like vaguely spiritual sayings on greeting cards and wall plaques and find them mildly inspiring. So, so Christians know God’s Word to be a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path. They know that joy comes in obedience to the Word.
  • So-so Christians hope old Saint Peter is kind to them when they get to the pearly gates. So, so Christians know that they have been saved by the atoning work of Christ on the cross and that it is a free gift – by grace through faith – and they do not boast.  
  • So-so Christians are into themselves and their things. So, so Christians are, well, so, so, so into Jesus.

Way too often I prefer being a so-so Christian to being a so, so Christian. Thanks to Gabby Douglas for reminding us just a little bit of what being so, so, so into Jesus looks like.