The Popularity Contest *

       This American political system & society is set up as a popularity contest. We choose our leaders because we like them. Then our Hollywood entertainers rise to the top because of popularity. There is a pattern here which also appears even in High school – the “in crowd” & popularity circle. Then many places of employment have an inner circle where position & advancement have much to do with social vibrations. Wherever there is a Popularity Contest, the code is: Image = Credibility = Prestige, without which contestants (?) are or feel like one legged football players.
        Now there are people who are Socially Awkward & have trouble with image, credibility, & prestige. They distrust other people & crowds from their early years, and despise popularity contests. They say & do the wrong things at the wrong time, and they ask the wrong questions. Then their own awkwardness & distrust of others grows to where they have pessimism & depression in any social group. These people often hear the Gospel of Christ and gravitate into a fellowship center – the Christian Church (which is supposed to be a hospital for sin–sick humanity). But many good hearted & genuine believers have no social grace, and they typically find that churches prefer the socially graceful & adjusted. Socially Awkward souls typically feel unwelcome & don’t continue long in a church. Many resort to Sun. AM religious TV programs to satisfy their spiritual needs.
        So what is the solution to this problem? I believe awareness itself is a good start. If we know it’s a common problem for many, there’s comfort right there – us S.A.’s are not alone. Also our focus has to be on Christ & His Word – not social vibrations. If we have J.C. in our heart, the social stuff will take care of itself. (If not, we are not out much.) Another solution is to keep looking for the right church fit. A prayer for Divine Guidance can be huge here (see links 49 &143).
       I write this Gospel-Note as a Born Again REALIST who has 46 years (or more) of inside observation & experience with the church & this problem. The Christian value system & church TRULY does have the power to lift people from sin & humanness, but “The Popularity Contest”/social club (& related issues) can really turn off prospective members. I believe the typical church group would have 50% more attendance if the socially awkward were better received, and it would have a better portion of the Spirit of Christ & love. 
       Some Scripture refs. that may apply:
--  1 Samuel 16:7 “. . .The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord        looks on the heart.”
--  Proverbs 18:24 “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer        than a brother.” (That “friend” is none other than J.C.)
--  Psalms 62:5-6 “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and        my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”
--  John 1:11 “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” (Now the Lord was not              “Socially Awkward” as such, but Christ was not well “received” by the established church of His day.         And me & my Gospel-notes have been "stiff-armed" by churches with a P.C./social gospel emphasis.)    
--  John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you,      that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for        one another.” Jesus said that.
       The point of this Gospel message is just this: We can ALL look to the Lord & His program & be blessed. But if there is a BLOCKER (which comes in many forms), we need to deal with it carefully before  it ruins our faith. ABIDING in Christ and His Word in tough times carries us through. Choose Jesus, He is alive. “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; . . .”  
 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 See also “Comfort From Above” link 136.
* “Am I mad, to see what others do not see, or are they mad who are responsible for all that I am seeing?” Leo Tolstoy

Many other Titles:  www.gospelnotes.net – Link 0 is Index                                        * * Fred J. Stone * *                                                                                                                                                             187