The Movies, a Nazarene and a Credit Card Mix-up

Karla and I recently saw the movie Tarzan. I’m not a movie critic or the son of a movie critic but that Tarzan was no Johnny Weissmuller (anyone younger than 50 will not have a clue of Johnny Weissmuller. Too bad or as the “real” Tarzan would say, “Oon-Gowa.”). Karla liked the love story between Tarzan and Jane, but I’ve always been partial to Cheeta and alas there was no Cheeta.

Here’s why I’m telling you about our recent trip to the movies: when we went to the theatre, I paid for the tickets with a credit card. As the young clerk was handing me the tickets and my credit card, I realized that I used the church credit card instead of my personal credit card. Both credit cards are blue. They look similar. I’ve made the mistake before in reverse and used my personal card to pay for church items. But this time I used it at a movie theatre! Thirty years ago, a Nazarene preacher going to a movie theatre would have been reason for real troubles with the church big wigs.

Old time Nazarenes remember the days when good Nazarenes didn’t frequent such establishments. My first movie was as a junior in high school when I snuck out of the house to see Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. The whole time I was in the theatre filled with second graders watching the cartoon, I was praying that Jesus would not return and catch me in that evil place! When I was in the 5th grade, my mom gave a note to the gym teacher stating that square dancing was “against our religion” and I could not participate in the activity. Had I offered a church membership class, every boy in the 5th grade at Marquette Elementary School would have joined the Church of the Nazarene on the spot. To many folks, face cards were a no no too, but Rook cards and Uno cards were OK. All of this seems silly now.

Back then too often holiness was defined by what we didn’t do and where we didn’t go. Holiness seemed to be more about outward appearances than an inward transformation. At times, holiness morphed into a “holier-than-thou” type of legalism rather than an honest pursuit of a Christ-likeness.

This is not to say that holiness in unnecessary. Quite to the contrary, “Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16) is still in the Bible and is pretty straight forward. God’s plan has always been for His people to live a holy life, and God’s power enables us to do it. Holiness is not a call to legalism nor is it the impossible dream, holiness is becoming more and more like Jesus. Plain and simple. Now more than ever our world needs people that think and act like Jesus. Now more than ever, we need holiness!

3 thoughts on “The Movies, a Nazarene and a Credit Card Mix-up

  1. Pam Ziebold

    Loved your blog. We just moved here from Wixom, MI and are seeking God’s direction for the church he would have us become a part of. I am wondering if you were the Pastor from a church in the Commerce area. We used to attend that Nazarene Church for a while but God moved us to the Highland Nazarene Church & from there to West Highland Baptist Church. We originally were from Cincinnati & helped build Springdale Nazarene Church which we still consider our home church. Pastor Graves was the pastor back in the 80’s. He was one of the best preachers we ever learned from & his thinking on holiness is exactly like yours. I do believe the church drive a lot of people away with this thinking (not intentionally, just accidentally). So glad to see your thinking on this subject is like ours. We might come & visit. Our daughter attends & is very active in her church, Faith Missionar on Elms & really wants us to go there but we need to be where God sends us. Please pray for us on this most important matter. We are Mark & Pam Ziebold, 5199 Oakhill Drive, Swartz Creek, MI. Our home phone is 810-644-2468. We have dedicated this new home to God & are praying for his direction.

    1. Rob Prince Post author

      Welcome to the area, Mark and Pam! We’d love for you to check out Central Church. My brother pastored in Commerce for 18 or 20 years.

      You will be interested in knowing that Dr. Graves will be our Mission speaker on September 18.

      I look forward to meeting you!

  2. vmorgan456

    I never did understand this way of thinking when I became a Christian in a little Pentecostal church. I’m so glad that most of the churches have broken away from this type of thinking. We don’t have as much judgement now and we can concentrate on being who God would have us be. I think to we can reach a far greater amount of people.


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