Recovering Legalist Meets Building 429

The Story

For the last several weeks we have been going out to get some food after evening services. If you don’t know what I am talking about, let me explain:

Getting Food = going to a resturant that sells stuff you could make at home for a lot less money, but tastes better and is more fun when you pay for it in the company of others.

Evening Services = gathering of believers at a local church that still takes place on Sunday nights, while most people stay home, in order to give the pastor something to do.

FoodFriday #17: Cracker Barrel - Old Country Store

Image by inju via Flickr

Last night, after a great time of worship and hearing from God’s Word, my wife, our girls, our youth director, and I went to Cracker Barrel. When we pulled in, I noticed a really sweet Prevost tour bus sitting in the lot. I said to my wife, Valerie, “Now that has got to be a group, or a band, or something, because it takes somebody serious to keep one of those things on the road.

We gently maneuver our tired, aged frames (we’re getting old in our 40’s) out of the car and walk toward the entrance. As we walk across the front of Cracker Barrel, where all the rocking chairs are, my wife and I notice some interesting young men dressed in black. One of them had a black hat and a hairstyle that would make more than a few grannies say, “What died on your head, sonny?”

Myself? Well I am in a suit and tie. My wife? She is wearing a dress. WE are the “Reverend and Mrs. Baker,” you know. WE know how to dress on Sunday, unlike these guys. So, my wife walks past them first and gives them a forced, but gentle smile. Next, I walk by, thinking to myself, “These are definitely musicians…yep…the hair gives it away…they’re the Prevost riders.” I nod and smile.

Once inside the Cracker Barrel, my conscience started to bother me. Something wasn’t right. I have been around long enough to recognize when the Holy Spirit says, “Hey, I bear witness that those weird-looking guys out there are part of the Family.” That is when I come up with a brilliant, self-covering plan – send Katie, our 15 year old, out to see who they are.

I only had an old iPhone. And it was dark.

Katie,” I say, “go out there and ask those guys on the porch who they are or what band they’re with.”  Fortunately, and I knew this, there were others outside beside the “men in black,” so don’t think I sent my little girl out to talk to strangers, alone. She talked to strangers with other strangers there to help.

A few minutes later, Katie comes back in with the biggest smile on her face, beaming with a glow that could blind a man in sunglasses, saying, “They are Building 429!!

Now here’s the point of all this. Here I am, someone who preaches against unrighteously judging others, especially Christians who look different (what’s normal?). What do I do? I walk right by a group of guys and assume, wrongfully, that evidently, just because they were not in suits on a Sunday night, they were a group of heathen beatniks heading to/from Nashville.  I messed up.

An Official Apology

Sorry, guys, for doing the very thing I hate seeing other people do. This is why I call myself a “recovering legalist.” Sometimes I fail. Last night I failed in a bad way. Up until last night, I had never even seen you before to recognize you in person. All I know is that the song you recorded, “Always,” is one of my favorite…I’ve shed more than a few tears while listening to it. Please forgive my wife and I for acting like a couple of snobby, self-righteous, judgmental legalists. If I’m fortunate, maybe God will give this preacher some hair like yours, someday.

May God bless you and your ministry. He WILL be with you always.



Filed under Do not judge, General Observations, legalism

11 responses to “Recovering Legalist Meets Building 429

  1. That was a great song. Thanks for sharing.

  2. We will be working on our hair for sure!!! Love your heart and your honesty!
    Blessings to you and your daughter.

  3. Greg Carter

    I just couldn’t wait to share this with my FB friends after reading it. I promote Christian concerts in Virginia and Building 429 was the very band to bless us with their performance. One of the battles we’ve struggled with is getting would-be supporters to stop looking for mirror images of themselves(or images of who they’d like to be) on the flyers. I love these guys and can’t wait to see them in April when they stop nearby. I’m glad you chose to share your honestly with your susbscribers. God bless you and your family.

    • Nancy Monfredo

      Don’t know where you promote concerts in VA but we are in the Northern part and would love it if you would bring Bldg 429 our way again. I love these guys as do my kids who want to follow in their footsteps. Love this honest story too. As Christians, we all need to be a little more honest. Years ago, Steven Curtis Chapman and Scotty Smith wrote a book that talked about all of us being either prodigals or Pharisees. So true! I think legalism=Phariseism. So good to see someone being honest about it.

  4. Nicole

    I can’t tell you how blessed I was by your heart and your apology. As one recently being delivered from legalism, this rang all too true in my own heart. I look forward to reading more of your journey on the path to freedom and reality within Christ. Praising God that we have His Spirit to lead us and guide us on this path, or we would be continually lost. 🙂

    In the Savior’s love,

  5. Rhonda

    I prefer to see bands that have this look over the “clean cut and proper look” any day. They look like real people, not a cookie cutter of what so many Christians THINK is right. When Jesus was on Earth, I seriously doubt he walked around looking like so many “Christians” of today think he should have looked. How many “Christians” of today would turn their nose up at him because he wouldn’t have the proper/clean cut look??? How many wouldn’t associate with him if they didn’t know it was him, because they didn’t approve of his look??? How many judge a man who walks by them with long hair/beard and a biker jacket on? What about a big, tall mohawk or purple hair? Nose pierced? Tattoos up their arms? I have seen all of this at my church and these people were awesome folks. Shame so many people who are supposed to be so close to God are so far off the mark.

    • Well, when this group starts wearing purple Mohawks, I might have to walk by them a little faster next time. That’s a joke, of course. Wait, maybe….no, it’s a joke.

      • Rhonda

        Jokes get you in trouble…. 😉

        I think they would look great with purple mohawks. Actually, it wasn’t a purple mohawk. That was two different people. One had purple hair, one had a mohawk….oh, and another is a Christian biker and yet another had beautiful blue streaks. Very pretty!

  6. Ron Edmondson

    Jason is also our worship pastor at Grace Community Church. He is real! He loves Jesus! He’s got an incredible heart. Thanks for this post

  7. heather joy

    Thank you for sharing this.
    I had a similiar “break through” in my Christian life in regards to Owl City.
    (if you care to read:

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