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10
Sep
2017

Don't Go Beast Mode

by Jeremiah Johnston

Going “Beast Mode” is a good thing in a full-contact sport. If you are a Seattle Seahawks fan, you most likely love the nickname “Beast Mode,” which has become something of modern sports mythology. The term was coined when Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch ripped off a stunning sixty-seven-yard touchdown romp in an upset playoff victory over the defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, on January 8, 2011. The frenzied fans at Seattle’s Qwest Field, known collectively as “the 12th man,” erupted with so much noise they “triggered seismic activity near the stadium,” according to the Seattle Seahawks’ official Website. The earth shook, literally. The touchdown scamper, in which Lynch (Beast Mode) was stiff-arming defenders like they were ragdolls, has gone down in the annals of NFL history as one of the most electrifying plays of all time. Marshawn Lynch himself defined Beast Mode, saying, “I feel like on that field, like there is no reason why I can’t run through you. I know I’m going to get got, but I’m going to get mine more than I get got though. It’s really just a mindset. The Beast Mode is just something that just keeps it going.” The erudite Urban Dictionary Website defines Beast Mode as “a hype, energetic, outgoing, wilding out state of mind.” The picture is becoming clearer for defining Beast Mode: an aggressive earthquake mind-set, with a nuanced run-you-over, out-of-my-way, frenzied energy. Unfortunately, when it comes to attempting to answer important, unanswered questions about Christianity, most Christians go into Beast Mode. 

Over the years I have seen far too many scorched earth, drive-by-shooting, shout-you-down, blitzkrieg “evangelism” than I care to admit. Perhaps you have, too. It makes thinking people want to run for cover. This was never made clearer to me than when an individual knocked on my door and proceeded to tell me that if I did not repent I would be in hell. This person reminded me more of Beast Mode than of a compassionate Christian. I could be wrong, but my impression was that this individual appeared to want another “soul statistic” more than he wanted to express an actual concern for me. Little did he know that I am, in fact, a follower of Jesus who teaches Biblical Studies at the local university. That probably did not matter, because this guy never even bothered to ask my name. The whole conversation made me want to run away from “Beast Mode Christianity.” 

In another instance, I was overcome with embarrassment as I listened to a “Christian” berate a fellow airline passenger a few rows behind me. He projected a sense of superiority that would have made Darth Vader blush. The whole time I kept thinking, You’re doing it wrong! Beast Mode Christianity. 

The New Living Bible paraphrases Titus 2:10 by stating that all believers should “make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.” Have you ever been in a faith conversation and a fellow Christian made a statement that was so unattractive that you wanted to disappear? I have. Paul used the Greek word κοσμέω (kosméō) to encourage believers to make the gospel attractive! Kosméō is similar to our English word cosmetics or decorate. When I take my wife on a date I get cleaned up, I put on cologne, and I attempt to look attractive for her. In a similar way, Paul says that the way we act decorates the gospel by making it more engaging to the world around us. So, be sure you avoid going Beast Mode! 

Christians need to stay on message and remain committed to the essential talking points of the gospel. Christians are not perfect, only forgiven. Your political leanings, thoughts on gun control, and views on government leaders are unnecessary and unneeded in a conversation about eternal destiny. In our post-Christian time, we must be a community of believers committed to answering the unanswered questions of life, as compassionate ambassadors of the Lord. Beast Mode is fantastic on the football field but counterproductive in a faith dialogue. Beware of going Beast Mode!

 

Jeremiah Johnston joins Sheila Walsh this Wednesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Unanswered: Lasting Truth For Trending Questions by Jeremiah J. Johnston. Copyright ©2015 by Jeremiah J. Johnston. Published by Whitaker House. Used by permission.