Monday, October 03, 2005

High Noon Moments

We have a seeker service every Wednesday we call "Connections." We are doing a series on the intersection of film and faith entitled "Reel Spirituality" and have chronicled lessons from everything from "Napoleon Dynamite" to "O Brother Where Art Thou?" and this week we are discussing the classic Gary Cooper film, "High Noon."

If you haven't seen the film, shame on you -- go rent it now. I'll wait. (sound of humming) Back? Great! Since you've just seen it you know that it is about decisions. Will I do what is right even if I have to do it alone? Will I stand up for whatsoever things are pure, lovely, noble, etc. even if it means that I lose friends and family for doing so?

So here is the question of the day: what High Noon moments have you had? How did you decide to handle them? Want to share them with the group? I'll start:

It was at the University of Alabama in Birmingham back in the middle seventies. I was a scared teenager with an accent (and it wasn't southern) in a morning Anthropology class. There were a total of 147 people in the classroom and, for reasons which will soon become apparent, I will never forget that number. The professor was an aggressive atheist and relativist. On this morning he went on a tear for a full 45 minutes ridiculing the Bible, Christianity, the concept of God, etc. After his spleen had finishing venting and we were up to our frontal lobes in bile he turned to us and challenged, "Does anybody have a problem with anything I've been saying?"

Only one idiot in the room raised their hand. And I have no idea why it went up. I absolutely do not recall telling it to go up, but there it was, my hand, trembling, but raised. Yikes. He turned the full force of his glare on me (I think he must have practiced glaring at home in the mirror because he was -- credit to whom credit is due -- extremely good at it) and said, "And WHAT is your problem?"

I wish I could tell you that I stood up and silenced him with the power of my intellect, razor sharp wit, and a Colt .45 but, alas, it wasn't quite that way. I tried to speak but I had turned into SheepBoy: "W..w.w...welll, uuuuuuuuuhhhh, I... th...th...th...ink that uuuuuuuhhhh...." and so it went. I did what I could but it wasn't impressive and no one was trampled in the rush to the baptistry when I was done. Afterwards, shamed, I gathered my books with my head down and eased out of the room toward my car, intending to skip the rest of my classes when a couple of other students came up to me and said how much they appreciated me speaking up. They told me they agreed with me and were furious at the professor. My response was "Where were you?"

There have been other moments, but let that suffice. So... wanna share a High Noon story? Keep it brief, pithy and to the point. Of course, if no one shares then I will be stuck here in the middle of the dirt street on my own... again... but that's okay. I've still got my badge and my .45.

14 Comments:

At 10/03/2005 11:35:00 AM , Blogger Laurie said...

Hi there Patrick:

I am impressed and grateful that you would share the story. I don't know if this qualifies as "High Noon", but I had a friend for a number of years that lived an alternative lifestyle and continually made fun of my Christian beliefs. I wasn't that great at answering the comments, but I held firm that I believed the Bible. I spent a lot of time trying to study the evidences by Josh McDowell and the like, but it never came out sounding as learned. It was a tough friendship in many ways and eventually we both moved to different parts of the country. One day she called to tell me that she had been baptized at the church she was attending and her daughter was singing in the teen group at the church there. Somehow, even though I bungled every explanation, but held fast to the fact that God is Lord and that the Bible is His word, I think God worked in it for my friend. She is now married, doesn't live the alternative life style and calls to ask Bible stuff once in awhile. I know that only God could have gotten through to her in all my lame explanations. All this to encourage you that most likely God used what you did (bungled or not) for His Glory.

In His Care and Grace, Laurie

 
At 10/03/2005 12:35:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

I had typed out my moment but, it sounded sort of boastful so.. nevermind. Thanks for standing up like you did! (But, University of Alabama?) There's a great little school to the east and south of Tuscaloosa!

 
At 10/03/2005 01:13:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Laurie, that's a great story. Thanks for sharing. And TL? UAB was a very strange port for this laddie to sail into, I'll agree. I'm assuming the school you are referring to is the U of Monticello? (just kidding)

 
At 10/03/2005 02:11:00 PM , Blogger David U said...

It may not be a "High Noon" moment, but I gave this guy a hug in Edmond last year when it seemed like everybody else around him wanted to stone him! :) He has become someone who's friendship I cherish.

DU

 
At 10/03/2005 02:14:00 PM , Blogger DJG said...

I could tell you a hundred stories of failing to stand up...I think the most memorable of the "good" moments were all the times I had to say "no" to my children. I wanted them to be happy but knew I had to keep them in line. There were many things they didn't get to do becasue it conflicted with a church activity. Sometimes I wanted to just roll over and let them do what they wanted, but as I look back I am glad I stuck to my guns.

BTW-that TL Auburn fan don't know the difference in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.... ROLL TIDE!

 
At 10/03/2005 02:26:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

David, I almost put that one in, too. After two days of hearing harsh things said about my friends and faith I decided to "go for it" that night. I appreciate your kindness then and now.

 
At 10/03/2005 04:14:00 PM , Blogger TCS said...

I too often have been that one talent guy who buries his gift, afraid of the master... Thankfully he has shown me his heart is good and so there seems almost daily an opportunity to stand up. I think people are worried about me! I am worried about them.

 
At 10/03/2005 04:35:00 PM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

It is hard to tell a High Noon story and not sound boastful...I was an emotional mess when the opportunity to move to Florida came. I asked God to open or close the doors as He saw fit. I was too messed up to even have an opinion. The doors flew open so fast that I knew it was God's will that I go to Florida. That conviction held me to my ground when the hurricane-strength winds of "you are crazy!" began to blow. I was so convicted that Florida was God's path for me, that for me NOT to go would have been direct disobedience. If I knew where to begin, I could write a book about the spiritual things I learned in Florida and, looking back, I can see why God pointed me there.

 
At 10/03/2005 05:16:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

Oh.... UAB!!!!
I just scan this stuff, folks. That's how I miss everything in the church bulletin! When you mix a blonde moment with a senior moment... well, you can imagine!

 
At 10/03/2005 06:25:00 PM , Blogger Niki said...

I attended a christian college and I really had a problem with initiation for our social clubs. I know the guys had it much worse than us girls - my boyfriend told me the gross stuff they had to do and endure to be in their club. (Inappropriate things that I wouldn't even write about here). I don't ususally have a problem standing up to speak my mind, but this one was hard. I told my pledge mistress I didn't mind doing embarassing things, but I would NOT be doing anything gross and unChristlike, like the things I had heard were happening to others and that if she didn't want me in her club, that was fine with me. Later on, I became club president. When it was my turn to be in charge of initiation for our club, I argued with our club counsel that at a christian school, our initiations shouldn't look like that of a frat or sorority and there should be stronger guidelines in place. I'm sure I was laughed at, though not to my face, but I had to stand my ground. Things didn't change - so I quit. By the time I left that school, I was sorry I even joined a club. I've heard things have changed since then - I sure hope so. Nothing heroic, but I did what I believed was right.

I also think there's a difference between tooting your own horn, and choosing not to hide your light from the world. Anyone who has had a "High Noon" moment should be proud. It's not bragging to share a triumph over evil or stupidity.

 
At 10/03/2005 07:30:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Well done, Niki, and well said!

 
At 10/04/2005 11:12:00 AM , Blogger Chalmers said...

My "High Noon" moment came in the 8th grade. I have always believed Sunset Friday to Sunset Saturday is the Sabbath, well, Friday basketball posed a problem. The solution, I always left 10 minutes before sundown so I could be in the car on the way home by sunset (it sounds legalistic, but it was worth it for this lesson alone).

I was on the court in the 4th quarter and saw mom point to her watch (our sign), so I told coach I had to come out of the game. Five minutes passed and he was still ignoring my repeated requests, so after getting a rebound and making the outlet pass, I walked off the court.

Suffice it to say, school on Monday was not very enjoyable, and that was a picnic compared to practice that afternoon!

 
At 10/05/2005 08:55:00 AM , Blogger markemason said...

High noon...hmmh. Mine goes back to my junior year of high school...in the cafeteria...my basketball coach comes to my table, in front of all my friends, and berates me for planning to go to "church camp" rather than basketball camp. My response was no better than yours, Patrick. My only real retort was that I went ahead to church camp that summer. And, in the end, I was still the only kid from my high school team to go on and play 4 years of college basketball. Now, I didn't exactly set the world on fire on the court, but I won't blame that on God...

 
At 10/05/2005 03:09:00 PM , Blogger Mike Kurschat said...

I have my own "high noon" story, but its not as impressive as the one I witnessed. I stopped at Arbys on my way from an important business meeting. While eating I noticed the man clearing tables. He was obviously mentally handicapped, but put all he had into clearing, sweeping, and vigorously polishing each table. He awkwardly greeted those who passed, and offered to take their trash. Thinking about how much I have, and how little he had, I thought I'd bestow some compliment upon him, and did, for which he thanked me. Then he asked me my name, I answered. "Is it Mike, or Michael?" he asked. I told him Michael. "Michael," he said, "that's a very good name. There's Michael Fox, and Michael Douglas, Michael Angelo, ...(he rattled off several others)... and then (he slows and looks at me) there's Michael the arch-angel that stands in the presence of God. Yes, Michael, that's a very good name." And he want back to his work. WHEW. I was blessed and humbled all at the same time. I think that's the way God works. We want to be loaded with big guns for Him at the OK Coral. God uses our humility and weakness to do His work in the hearts of men. That day I went to my car and wept.

 

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