“The answer to that nonsense is that, if what you call your ‘faith’ in Christ does not involve taking the slightest notice of what He says, then it is not faith at all – not faith or trust in Him, but only intellectual acceptance of some theory about Him.” — Writer C.S. Lewis
Joyfully, to say I’m Southern is an accurate diagnosis.
“Bubba” once exuded from me not just with pride but also all the fried chicken, barbecue and cheese biscuits that any stereotype could swallow in a day. And when I wasn’t swallowing, my best low country brogue and conversational southern grunted questions like “Uh?” And I answered questions eloquently by saying, “Huh.” But sometimes I exited my brevity and asked a stranger politely, “Where y’all folks live at?” And then charmed them with hospitality by offering them something to dr-aaannnk. Syllable stretching can be a Southerner’s best attribute.
Southerners are marked by an attitude of “Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?” Owning an innate sense of priority, they only procrastinate on the things they do not want to do, knowing what’s important in creation like calling in a turkey before getting “citified” on Sunday for Momma because church is high on the list, too. Turkey hunters say they’re the same thing.
But isn’t it better to know the creator than creation? Isn’t it better to do today what will not go away tomorrow?
And how did I procrastinate? Confusing priorities, I was at one time a “sometimes” Christian. I invoked my belief only when I needed it. For me, filling in the blanks was all that was required while thinking I could handle the rest. God was like what my children called our associate pastor — the side preacher.
The opposite also occurred. I thought I could do good and be good on my own. Today it’s called social justice, a god without God, Adam’s offspring. Omission possesses no power. Can anything good last without God?
Endemic to social media is a phenomenon called canceling. Canceling is boycotting someone on social media because they espouse beliefs either misunderstood or widely accepted as wrong. The ancient term is shaming. Canceling purports good intent but affects an opposite consequence.
Lewis was right. Procrastination, omission and canceling take no notice of what Christ said, and ... faith delayed, omitted and canceled is no faith at all. Stopping short of love finds many excuses.
But sidling along me in quiet virtue — love — of the patience, kindness, never boasting, slow to anger, humble, rejoicing in truth, protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering, unfailing kind, traveled through to insight when reflection informed my closely-held notions I thought sustained and no longer could, when delay and omission exhausted all possibility for further illusion. Love allowed me to wander and greeted me at my end. The veil lifted.
And with every reassuring wink and nod and undefeated deed love offered, the god of this age loosened its hold on me.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).
Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Write to him at email@example.com.