I’ve had another ‘undercover Christian’ adventure!
It happened yesterday — while I was sitting in the waiting room at the physiotherapist:
The receptionist was chatting with one of the other patients. And the conversation turned to the topic of football — ie. Australian Rules (I’m learning that this is pretty typical of most conversations in Victoria).
Both of them, it turns out, were fans of Collingwood (the team everyone else loves to hate and last year’s premieres). And both had different levels of membership — each higher level presumably attended by more privileges and benefits (and greater annual costs no doubt).
The receptionist was complaining that her ‘Legends’ membership was being devalued.
Apparently, one of the privileges of membership had been guaranteed tickets to games. But by the time Collingwood reached the grand final last season, so many new people had jumped on board as ‘Legends’ members that it would have been impossible for everyone to get the seats they felt entitled to.
Because of this, she wanted to see the ‘Legends’ membership capped. Which is understandable, I guess.
It’s a pretty common reflex. When you’re in the ‘club’ — whatever ‘club’ it is — you want to protect the meaning of belonging. You don’t want the benefits to get diluted.
But it’s got me thinking about how I might fall prey to this as a Christian. Belonging to the ‘club’ — being Christian or being part of this particular church or that well-known renewal movement — has its benefits.
And hanging in there can engender a certain degree of pride — particularly if the ‘club’ has been small and embattled: ‘I’ve been there since the beginning’ or ‘I didn’t bail out when we were doing it really tough’.
So I’ve started to wonder how often I subtly start adjusting the entry requirements. You know, bumping the bar up a bit in terms of ‘keenness’ or theological clarity or preferred temperament?
Because I wouldn’t want to see my membership being devalued now, would I?