Monday, July 10, 2006

Our Overkill

Colin Hay (of the "Land down under" and "Who can it be now?" 80's fame) has a song called "Overkill". It has become a great song to me, and was featured in an episode of that wonderful show, Scrubs, who's episode was entitled "My Overkill". The Episode is wonderful because it features Colin Hay as a character singing his song while all around him everyone is trying too hard to make what they want to happen, happen.

Overkill is a wonderful word that really explains a lot about our human nature; when we want something to happen so badly that we will do anything to make our mindset a reality. Humanity is notorious for this, especially we Christians. The truth is that we get a picture in our minds of how we want things to be because that would make everything easy and hunky-dory. We Christians like easy, no strike that!, we LOVE easy! We want all Christians, and gasp!, even the whole world to agree with our individual beliefs because that would make our lives so much easier. Thus I have come to observe that althought the stated goal of Christianity is conversion, the true goal has become conformity.

Our practical theology (the beliefs that can be discerned through an observation of our actions) states that the goal of Christianity is not to spread the faith, but to defend the faith. What kind of message does that kind of language send?

It either says first, that we are at war! Here we have an us against them attitude. With that attitude, we push others away! We call them out, raise our swords (or Bibles) and, call them chickens as they turn and walk away ashamed of the display they have just witnessed. That's called overkill!
second this implies that we are in the midst of some kind of game and we have to defend against the offensive. Well then you just make it so that no one is taking us seriously anymore! We argue against differing ideals so that we can win? What do we win? More times than not, it is definitly not us winning others to Christ. All we usually win is the trophy of our own egos getting a little bigger because we won the debate by making the other person turn away first.

Christianity has become one big staring contest! That is also overkill! We need to relearn the art of forming real relationships! We need to learn to listen and (gasp*) consider differing opinions. I know that my views have changed over the years, and that they will change even more in years to come. The honest-to-God truth is that NO ONE has all the answers (no, not even us Christians) and every person has something of value to add to this world, no matter what their beliefs. That is the beauty of being created in the image of God. If we take the time and expend the effort, we can find aspects of God in every person! I know many Christians (esp. Baptists) like to claim that they have the monopoly on all the answers, and they call that Truth, but the real Truth is that God is still revealing himself, and he has made no one group privy to an exclusive on the Almighty.

"So, what are you saying there Justin? Are you saying that Truth is realitive?" Well, maybe I am and maybe I'm not, to harp on that is to miss my point entirely! My point is that we should stop trying so hard to push our personal agendas, and spend more of our time listening to those around us and treating them as we would want to be treated: with respect! We need to stop our overkill. We need to help people to feel comfortable with us, even when we differ in our opinions. We need to have faith that God can work even in the midst of differences, i mean, he is God after all.

J.D. in the episode of Scrubs "My Overkill", learns a valuable lesson in the end. He learns that there is such a thing as trying too hard. His narrative voice states that "It's funny.... I guess sometimes when you do nothing at all, things just have a way of fixing themselves." Maybe that should be our attitude too. Maybe we should back off a little and have faith that God will work through us without having to resort to fighting of trivializing our beliefs in the face of differences. Perhaps if we give God just a little more room, he can undo the damage that we are continually doing, and allow others to see him through us by the work of the Holy Spirit.


  1. Are you a student @ campbell? In the Div. School, maybe?

  2. Absolutely agree with you 100%. I wasn't raised in the church and I gotta tell you it always made me uncomfortable when people of faith gave me the whole lecture on God and pulled out there little diagrams of the cross and how there needs to be a bridge...blah blah blah blah. They knew nothing about me. This always caused me to run away as fast as possible. It wasn't until a friend I had told me her story one late night when we were just sitting up talking in the dorm room and listening to each other. That's when I found God.

    I've always struggled with "what makes our religion the RIGHT one" How can all the other people in the world who believe differently be so wrong. I struggle with this all the time. I have a very good friend who is Jewish and very passionate about her beliefs. Who am I to tell her she is wrong. Why does she need conversion. Why isn't it I who needs to be converted to Judaism.

    Anyways, just wanted to give you a shout and say I hear ya and agree 100%. Keep up the blogging.


  3. Sherri,
    i cannot say i have an honest answer to your question about other faiths. I have an opinion, but it is one that i have had to come about in my own time and my own way.
    so i answer your question with a question. which person would you say has more faith? A) the person who feels the overwhelming desire to "defend their faith" against any and all diverse thinking.
    B) the person who is comfortable enough in what they believe that they can form a relationship with someone who has opposing or simply differing views and not feel the need to argue, challenge, change or convert?
    perhaps person B) is a heritic to many, but to me that is the person who has more faith in themselves, in God's continuing action in the world, and in the redemption offered in the gospels.

    "the irony in defending one's faith is that it actually takes little faith at all, only memorization of the 'right' words to say!"- justin :)