It's pitch dark and you are led to a solitary chair in the middle of the room.
"Sit!" A commanding voice shouts out from the pack of nameless murmurs in the dark. "You are here to be judged. The rules are simple: If three black balls are rolled out, you are out of the fraternity; you can no longer pledge. If you receive two or less ...you're in."
The murmuring stops, and no questions from you, the accused, are allowed.
So you sit, while one bright light shines on your face. Nothing but a blinding white beam. Your heart pounds in your chest.
After a short while, someone kindly pats you on the back, "Get up Weeks, you made it!" So you stand, uh oh, a muted thud sounds on the wood floor...a black ball rolls to a stop next to your foot! "Weeks, I never liked you! You barely even known my name, you only came to my house once, and you did a horrible job cleaning the toilet with the tooth-brush we gave you. I don't want you here. Sit back down...you aren't getting in that easy."
Some shouts can be heard in the room, arguing, pushing, and the commanding voice speaks, "Silence brothers, that's one. Any more?"
Thud! Another ball rolls from the dark into the lighted circle on the floor. "Weeks, I like you, but there is something about you that isn't quite right. Maybe you're just too good, too clean. I am giving this to you because I want you to be more like the rest of us. I'm sure you wont get a third, but you need someone to scare some sense into you!"
A fight breaks out around you! "You're an idiot John!" Smack, an unseen chair smashes.
"Quiet! Weeks, that is two, if you get one more, your out." People mutter, "Let the guy in... he doesn't need this hassle... This is ridiculous..." A whisper to my right ear, "They are just trying to scare you, your in bro, no worries."
One minute, two minutes, ... still silent. "Yes, Weeks get up, your in!"
A third ball comes rolling: Shouting and cursing, punches land their target. The person behind you shouts, "What's going on man?"
"He's out! That's three!" Some protest, other chuckle. The commanding voice speaks, "Pledge Number 21, Chris Weeks, is hereby terminated!"
"Na-na-na-na, Na-na-na-na, Hey Hey, Good-bye."
You're led out of the house, down the stairs...while one single frat brother slurs out his sympathetic complaints, "They are all a bunch of idiots. You are better off not to pledge here after all. See ya Weeks, sorry man."
So, left alone, you walk. Wondering, what just happened? What is wrong with me? I'm out...
After you are half-way down the block, five guys jump out of a bush and ambush you! "Dude, its a joke! You're still in...don't take it so hard, everyone has to go through it." As you are led back to the house, you are reassured of your belonging. You enter the house, the guys laugh, smile, point, "I really had you going man." Some stay away, others are aloof... you wonder, "Do I really?"
For the next hour, you get to watch the other pledges face the comic tribunal.
"Isn't this hilarious? Weeks you were one of the best, we totally fooled you!"
So, I guess I was in. I made it. It was all a joke, but in the moment the capricious whims of the rabble own the day. Was the game of black-ball cruel? Not to drunk fraternity brothers.
But this game is cruel when the church plays it. Hearts are broken when wives, sons, daughters, and dads are under the whims of a control heavy pastor, deacon board, or important families:
- "No tie, what's wrong with you?"
- "Is that a beer in your fridge? Don't you know that is a sin?"
- "Why aren't you there Wednesday & Sunday nights? You are busy with your kids and work? God
must not be that important to you?"
On and on the black-balls are rolled, the looks are cold; but this game is no joke. Lives are actually destroyed. Paul calls these types of people as "false". Those who want to steal your joy are capricious fools; wanting to rule and control. "We had to do it, now it is your turn."
Jesus is the true Judge and Jury; by his word alone is a man in or out!
Why do we let people in the church have so much power?
Thud! Do you hear it? Another condemning lie has just pushed someone far away from grace. What right do you have to roll the eight ball?
"Quiet!" A commanding voice shouts, "Chris Weeks is in because he believed solely in my Word and in Him who sent me!"
So let it be written, so let it be done!.
I no longer wonder!