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SGtoDC: Fact Check on Aisle 9

March 1, 2010

“Just the facts, ma’am.” Though I have never seen the show I have heard the line and if you are like me you probably even think you know where the line came from. Dragnet, right? Joe Friday would utter them when interviewing a witness, right?

Well actually he didn’t say them. We’ll at least that is what they say. The character Joe Friday never really said those words. His phrase was actually “All we want are the facts, ma’am.” No, the line “Just the facts, ma’am” is actually traced to a spoof done by Stan Freberg called St George and The Dragonet’ + ‘Little Blue Riding Hood.

The album sold over 2 million copies and brought the phrase “just the facts, ma’am” into American culture. It seems that eventually the phrase from the spoof overtook anything that was actually said in Dragnet.

So I find irony in the fact that the phrase, just the facts that we typically relate to Dragnet actually factually never came from Dragnet.

Wait a minute, am I saying facts aren’t important? How ridiculous can anyone be? To say facts don’t matter. Talk about willy-nilly. Another Sicilian choice if I have ever heard one. The choice is presented that you either believe in the facts or you don’t. You are either factual or a flaming liberal who doesn’t hold to anything.

Irony this post coming on the heels of my last one I know. Didn’t you just say we need to call it like we see it when it comes to false teaching in the church? Didn’t you say we need to stop giving in hoping things will change? Why yes I did. Now you really know how to brew an un-attractional church.

What do I mean? Take the book of Revelation for example. We have started a series of messages that relate to Revelation. You just want the facts right. Good luck on that book. We have how many different interpretations on what is factual. Everyone has an opinion on every little verse.

So as a church what do we do? Well historically we find what we think the facts are and we defend them. Well to me that sounds great if your main concern is defending your opinion. Not so good when it comes to defending facts or even God. You see if God needed us to figure it out so much he wouldn’t have made it so complicated. Maybe the point wasn’t for us to figure out the facts.

So the church divides and fights not about the basics of who Jesus is, God becoming flesh, and what he wants us to do, love our neighbor, no we fight and argue and divide and focus on the exact interpretation of Revelation. Makes a lot of sense to me.

So you want to know how to be really un-attractional?

Instead of focusing on what we don’t know or on areas that can be confusing let’s focus on just loving our neighbor as ourselves. I know I know, sounds crazy. Who wants to do that when we can sit down and sound all authoritative when it comes to the book of Revelation or from my past style of worship or the exact millisecond of salvation.

Yes, I know it is a slippery slope to Jesus wasn’t really born of a virgin and everyone is saved. I get that but I said keep the fact list short, not non-existent. In fact it would seem that many have decided a great way to attract people to church is to get rid of even those facts.

So I know a line must be drawn but a great way to be un-attractional is not draw it where people want it to be drawn. Draw it around loving your neighbor and people will think you are freaks. Tell them about how your church reaches out to the widow and orphan and they will instead want to discuss your millennium views.

Be more worried about being church instead of doing church and people will often scratch their heads and walk away. Asking for self-sacrifice in a self-centered world tends to do that.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
Luke 18:22-23

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Luke 9:57-58

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