Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.19.2013

Pastor in Dreadlocks

dreadlocks
Photo Credit

“Mom, who’s Pilate?” “He’s the big shot.  Be quiet”
“I can’t see!”
“What do those words on the screen say?”
“Oh…oh…I am thirsty.  I am really thirsty!”
I was at an Easter play, trying desperately to get “in the mood”, but with the running commentary going on behind me, I might as well have been in Costco watching The Passion of the Christ on their big screen TV displays while people around me munched Polish sausages. 
I was getting fed up. 
This mom was obviously not in control of her kid, and he was being such a distraction—I seriously contemplated turning around with a hissed, “Shh!”  And I almost did it, too, but something or Someone held me back, and I decided simply to put up with the bother.  But as the play unfolded, I couldn’t help but realize that the little boy’s inquisitive questions were growing more and more pointed. 

“Hey, did you notice that one of the crosses is bigger than the others?  Why is that?”
“What—they can’t kill Jesus!  He’s God!”
“What does that sign on Jesus’ cross say?” 
Before I knew it, it was intermission, and a man strode across the stage, microphone in hand.  I did a double take when I saw him, but had to do a triple take when he introduced himself, “I’m the new lead pastor here at this church,” said the man with dreadlocks. 
Dreadlocks! I thought.  On a pastor?  Never mind that they were the tidiest dreadlocks I had ever seen, pulled back tightly against his head, or that dreadlocks aren't exactly a salvation issue—I was horrified!  And in that moment I was not on the side of the Jesus I had been worshipping just moments ago.  I was on the side of the Pharisees whose addiction to their own self-righteousness drove nails through the hands of the Son of God.  I was steeped in self-righteousness and dripping judgment. 
And then the Holy Spirit said, But this pastor with dreadlocks looks no different than that handsome man with the flowing curly hair whom you just saw playing Jesus!
Truth flooded my heart and washed the self-righteousness away.  I was humbled at the thought of my own hypocrisy, but God was not quite done yet. 
At the very end of the play, an actor gave the salvation message and invited the audience to pray the sinner’s prayer.  I was expecting that it would turn out like every other Christian event I’ve attended which has followed that format, in which peer pressure results in everyone praying but no one truly meaning it. 
But then the actor surprised me.  He told us that if anyone had just prayed that prayer and become a Christian, he wanted them to do a courageous thing: stand and declare to the world what the Lord had done in them.  He explained the reasons for this stand, and then gave the signal.  Across the dark room, courageous people rose, their new Helper giving their legs strength.  Not hundreds, but at least fifteen or twenty people stood.  Suddenly, a movement right behind me caught the corner of my eye, and the man rose who had been sitting next to the distracting, chatty little boy. 
Tears came to my eyes again as I realized that if I had shushed that boy, it would have been as if I was saying in front of that unsaved man, “Be quiet!  I’m a follower of Jesus and I want to hear what He has to say.”  My judgment on that little boy was founded on selfishness, and who knows but that the Holy Spirit used the boy’s innocent questions to strike conviction in that man’s heart? 
  
At home after the play, though it was almost midnight I just couldn’t resist.  I googled the pastor with the dreadlocks.  And what I found was that he was a man passionate for the Gospel.  So passionate, in fact, that he goes out on the streets of Portland to reach the unreached, dreadlocks definitely making that approach simpler than if he were a clean-cut do-gooder in a suit coat.  If you disagree, you don’t know Portland. 
This is not either a defense or condemnation of dreadlocks or of chatting during plays for that matter.  This blog is not the place for that.  However, it is a condemnation of my reaction to those two things.  It is a challenge to understand that I never know how or by whom the Holy Spirit is going to work, and for me to get in the way of that with my own self-righteousness-steeped, judgment-dripping self is a move too dangerous to risk. 


"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."  ~John 7:24 


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Photo: aluedt

15 comments:

  1. Hmmm, thank you, Lauren. A good lesson, to be sure! I had the same intial reaction (to that same pastor) when I attended the mission confernece, only to find, by listening to him, that he was much more passionate about sharing Christ than many of the "clean-cut" people there. I wish my spiritual eyes were sharper and faster!

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    1. I'm praying for God to adjust my vision!

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  2. WOW, Lauren. I am so glad that you shared that. It touched my heart. That's so neat about the little boy's dad. Now we should commit him to prayer and pray that he would remain steadfast in his new decision to follow the Lord!
    Blessings!
    ~Emily

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    1. Yes, please do pray for him! God is so amazing, isn't He?

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  3. Thank you for this, I always appreciate the honesty that comes through in the posts that you or Mikaela choose to write and use yourselves as examples... ;)

    May the Lord continue to bless, instruct, and discipline you and all those who participate in this blog! :D

    Psalm 117

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement. Honesty can be hard, but hypocrisy is ultimately more difficult, and I'm always excited to share God's great lessons!

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  4. Thank you so much for this post. So often I struggle with judging those who look different. This was a blessing to read. I think we need to remember that God looks at the heart, not at the outward appearances.

    Thanks again!

    Love, Hannah Kilpatrick

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    1. Amen! Do you know the song, "God Sees the Heart" by Ron Hamilton? I love it!

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  5. Oh, oh, oh! What a beautiful God we serve! Thank you for instructing me in TRUE righteousness.

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    1. He is beautiful, and the only reason I could possibly share this is because of His faithfulness in correcting me! Thanks for your comment!

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  6. Come on guys, Pastor with dreadlock?
    Is not dreadlocks used to worship Haile Sellasie as the Lion of the tribe of Judah and used as a confusion symbol to call demons by African Sangomas. And Jesus Never had long hair! I mean the bible says that it is natural men's hair be short and women's hair be long - New Testament. Long hair on men is unnatural just like the sin homesexuality. Come on folks

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    1. I honestly have not researched the history behind dreadlocks, although you may be right about the origins. Likewise, you have good grounds on which to challenge our cultural assumption about what Jesus looked like. As I stated in this post, however, I am not out to defend dreadlocks, nor am I making this a place to condemn them. I was simply challenging my obviously sinful attitude in response to seeing this man. Even if he had a speck in his eye, I obviously had a plank in mine!

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    2. Lets see....
      Nazirite Vows predate Rastafarians, which is what the cult used to justify it. If anything the origin is good, and the corruption of the origin is closer to modern times, and do not forget that dreadlocks were as rebellion against white opression in Kenya-nothing to do with religion at this point...

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    3. I know this is very late...but I would bet John the baptist had dreadlocks...

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  7. I also have dreadlocks (knee length), and people most of the times judge me on my appearance. Most of those people are Christians like me. and here in the Philippines people really gives importance on how you look without them knowing theyre the ones committing sin by doing that being self rigtheous. But i dnt care, i didnt care. What is important to me is my own relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ. I just look to them in the eyes, smile and say "God bless you". i just cant believe sometimes those people who look down on me are the ones in the church.

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