Recovering Legalist Meets Building 429

The following took place 5 years ago in February, 2011. A lot has happened since then, but I’m still a “recovering” legalist – I still mess up from time to time.

NOTE: I updated the link to the music video. If you couldn’t watch it before, try again. Oh, and seriously, you should be shouting at the end of it 🙂

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 restaurant 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

10 responses to “Recovering Legalist Meets Building 429

  1. Gotta love the convictions of the Holy Spirit! Much appreciate your honesty, because we’re probably all guilty of such things on a regular basis – just most don’t have the courage to admit it or ask forgiveness.
    Wanted to hear the song, but it’s been banned, so we can’t view it.

    • Really? Let me see if I can find another link.

    • I fixed the link. Please do watch it. It’s been a long time since I have and, once again, it got me excited 🙂 Tears, praising God, all that.

      • I think some of our messages got crossed Anthony, lol! Oh well, we seem to be keeping up at any rate.

        I just wanted you to know that I’ve listened to your sermon “Who am I?” 3 1/2 times since last night and I’ve got questions, my minds been racing. I always related most with the story of Job, but to hear you explain the story of Moses… I just can’t explain it… It covers so much (possibly the core) of what I’ve been writing about and struggling with. I never realized… Might you have some time to help me learn and share more please?

      • Reeeeely? 🙂 How can I express giddiness with simple fonts?

      • I need to go back and listen to it, now. I’ll email you tomorrow. Blessings to you, Jessie. We’ve been interceding for you, just so you know.

      • Woo-Hoo! My turn to express giddiness with simple fonts, lol! And intercession… yes, I know… thanks to an email from the UK 🙂 Thank you all SO much! I can’t wait to get your email Anthony, because after listening to that sermon over and over, I just know I NEED to see it through. Moses… who knew!?

  2. there right?

    For what it’s worth, I wear a Suit and my wife wears a dress too and I’m not even a preacher.


    • You’re just a stick in the mud like me, huh?

      • Well you know my Suit story is funny really. We aren’t really a suit and tie church for the most part. Some wear a jacket, but mostly farmer types so not much in the way of suits. Before I came to this town, I sold real Estate. I just really wear a suit because I owned them LOL. Plus I really do like a nice suit. All week long I play in the dirt and stuff and Sunday I get to have some class.

        But, yes I am a stick in the mud.

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