Do you ever have the thought that a good laugh is all you need?
An old friend Oops! A friend from college that I knew a long time ago happens to be a current Facebook friend of mine. He recently chronicled his day (or perhaps evening is more accurate) for his 252 Facebook friends to see. Like a lamb being led to slaughter, he drew me in with his level of transparency. I had only read a couple of sentences before I was struck by his courage.
They say, “Confession is good for the soul”. Yet, honestly, I don’t know many people that would take the kind of risk that my friend was choosing to take. He obviously had bargained with God and was throwing it all out there for everyone to see. I wasn’t sure that he wasn’t making a bad mistake.
For one thing, he’s a Baptist. Some of the kindest, most loving people that I’ve ever known have been Baptist. I am often in company with a lot of Baptist like that now. Most of you have probably met Baptist who are loving and kind. Haven’t you? ….Haven’t you? Speak up! It really is true. Did I mention the General is a Baptist? Most folk’s who’ve read about her think she’s a saint to put up with me.
At the same time, it is equally true, that some of the most critical and judgmental people I’ve ever known are also Baptist. I bet you get the drift of where I’m headed with this. My friend was taking an awful chance!
It’s not that Baptists are opposed to the concept of confession. Not at all! In fact, some Baptists are so enamored with the concept of confession that they often practice confession by highlighting someone else’s faults instead of their own. You know, the conversations that take place in the parking lot, the beauty shop and over coffee. After all, doesn’t it make sense that you’d practice by putting someone else in the limelight before you risked sharing your own stuff?
Some of you are thinking, “That sounds a lot like gossip.” Before you get too critical, look at it differently. “Baptist don’t gossip”! There’s a Biblical mandate agin’ it. It may sound like gossip, but it really is confession, one-step-removed.
My friend obviously had more courage than most of the Baptist I know. In fact, I’ve seen enough of his postings across the past several months to know he hasn’t deviated from the values and lifestyle he displayed in college. That is one of the reasons that I was so shocked by his confession.
This is what he shared: “I would like to share an experience with you about drinking and driving”. That is all I needed to read before I knew my friend was going to be in trouble from the very start. I thought to myself, “There is no way this is going to have a happy ending”. If you are Baptist, you know what I’m talking about.
He went on to write, “As you well know, some of us have been lucky not to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from the various social sessions over the years.” At this point, I hoped he knew what he was doing. I audibly gasped when I read: “A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends and had a few too many beers and then topped it off with a margarita. Not a good idea.”
My friend sharing his confession was right. “It was not a good idea”. What was he thinking? Yet he’d already let the cat-out-of-the-bag, why not plow forward? Maybe I processed the “it was not a good idea” wrong. He could have been talking about the margarita instead of the confession.
He dug the hole deeper. He went on to write: “Knowing full well I was at least slightly over the limit, I did something I’ve never done before. I took a taxi home. Sure enough, I passed a police road block, but because it was a taxi, they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise.
I guess I’m just slow. Perhaps I was so distraught knowing my friend was going to be in a world of hurt if some of his 252 Facebook friends were Baptist who fell in a category outside the “kindest and most loving people”, that I didn’t anticipate the punch line.
I broke into laughter when I read his last line: “I have never driven a taxi before and am not sure where I got it.”
The story reminded me of a Jeanne Robertson video. It is entitled, “Don’t Go Rafting Without A Baptist In The Boat”. It, too, put a smile on my face. Some days nothing is better than a good laugh.
Jeanne Robertson refers to her husband as “Left Brain”. He obviously is very smart, but very analytical. The General once told me, “Id be better off if I took my brain out and played with it.” I didn’t think it was a very nice thing to say at the time. Did I mention that she is Baptist?
It just occurred to me that I’m not a lot smarter than I previously thought my friend from college was when I was reading his posting and thought it was a true-life confession. I work for an agency of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) and I pastor a BGCT Baptist Church (or least I did when I posted this). Please know that my tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor is of my own doing. The opinion expressed is a product of my brokenness and in no way reflects the values, humor, lifestyle or endorsement of either my place of work or church.
I guess you could say, I’m hopeful that only the Baptist who are kind, loving and have a sense of humor read this posting. If you like a good laugh, check out Jeanne’s “Don’t Go Rafting Without A Baptist In The Boat”.
All My Best!