Lent, Day 6: THAT Guy


Wig enthusiasts of the world unite!

John 3:16-21


 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’ 

You know that guy. You maybe even love that guy. He’s probably the only reason so many people have the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of the Gospel according to John memorized. That guy… is Rollen Stewart.

Here’s his wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollen_Stewart. And yes, he’s serving 3 consecutive life sentences for kidnapping.

You know what? I think he looked better with the wig. Poor guy.

Wait, what?

There’s a pretty obvious disconnect between the happy yet unbalanced  fellow in the picture and the verse he wears on his T-shirt. I would say that’s weird, but it’s a heck of a lot more common than not. While most people aren’t disposed to the extremist bent that is exemplified in this Mr. Stewart, there are still problems between what we do and what we say we believe.

The biggest problem with just yelling out into the outer darkness apropos of nothing “John 3:16!” is not so much that the sentiment isn’t in the right place, but… without context, the single verse doesn’t have nearly as much impact. The context makes things so much better. Christ came not to condemn the world, but to save it. People have a tendency to love darkness when they should love the light. That kind of thing. Belief needs to be backed up by action, but you gotta believe first.

Hey! Nobody asked for you here, Naruto. I just said you're catchphrase, didn't ask you over for dinner. Sheesh.

The Gospel of John is so much more than one verse, and faith can’t be summed up in a pithy blurb or soundbite, as much as we might want it to be so. The purpose of John is so that you would believe, but it takes hearing the full story to appreciate what that belief means. It’s more than just shouting “3:16!” and wearing a rainbow wig. Belief takes time, encouragement, and maturity to take root, let alone grow and develop fruit. And while it’s great that he made the verse famous, I really look forward to the day that we can get past catch-phrase evangelism, actually feed to the sheep Christ calls us to feed.

I pray that Rollen Stewart may be able to find some peace and balance in his life. I pray that he can find his shalom. I can appreciate his passion for evangelism, and I hope that it is a passion that catches on. I just wish that he hadn’t thrown his work away like he did. May God lead you in light, wisdom, and peace.

About grantimusmax

Grant Barnes, aka Grantimus Maximus, aka The Nerdcore Theologian. Currently, he is a PhD Candidate at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, California. He is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He graduated from Texas State University Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in English, minor in History. He watches way too many movies, reads too many books, listens to too much music, and plays too many video games to ever join the mundane reality people claim is the "Real World." He rejects your reality, and replaces it with a vision of what could be, a better one, shaped by his love for God.
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