It was, perhaps, a most unlikely of scenarios: two alpha males and the need for one of them to get clothes onto a Barbie doll. Yet the story is true, for my son and I were the ones who, just this past week, found ourselves in that awkward situation.
I have been preaching through the life of Christ. That has made me realize yet again just how little the world seems to really know him. It dawned on me at some point that he has been reduced to a little plastic caricature that people can move and manipulate as they please, he has become, in fact, a "Barbie Doll Jesus."
I determined to preach on that very subject at a youth rally many hours away in Mebane, N.C. I wanted to get a Barbie doll to demonstrate my point, and that meant buying one since my girls grew out of their Barbie phase many years ago.
Being a life-long penny pincher, my son and I promptly headed to the local thrift store to find one.
I am not sure why, but I have found that in many thrift stores, whenever you come across the toy section, all the Barbie dolls will be laying out, ahem, "ungarbed." And thus it was on this occasion. Do people really feel the need to shoplift clothing off of a Barbie, or do they arrive at thrift stores already in their au-natural state? Fortunately, there was a nice set of doll clothing sitting just one bin over for the bargain price of 99 cents. We took Barbie, and her new threads, checked out and hopped in the car to go back to church.
Now, it is 13 miles from there to my church, and takes about 20 minutes. To make matters worse, police officers patrol that road aggressively. In other words, I knew we might be pulled over or go through a license check on the way back. With a naked Barbie. Thus began the male power conflict.
My son and I, clearly at odds, went to verbal war over who had to dress the Barbie doll. Two males who like guns, heavy equipment, loud noises, the military and Chuck Norris.
We laughed; we argued vociferously and, above all, I noticed, we blushed. My son and I were as red in the face as tomatoes over who had to dress a little plastic doll. That is good, that is very good. Jeremiah 6:15 says "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord." God addressed his people, reminded them of their abominations, and proclaimed that they were going to fall as a people because not only had they done wrong, they had also gotten so brazen in that wrong that they could no longer ever blush over it.
I am a bit fearful that we Americans may be following in their footsteps. I see commercials for programs like "Naked and Afraid," "Big Brother," "The Bachelor" and many other programs that show and celebrate things that would never have made it onto the air years ago, and it seems that we also have lost our ability to blush. People march in the streets now celebrating sin of all kinds; pop, rap, and hip-hop music puts auto-tuned harmony to things that our godly grandparents would have never listened to. We have truly come a long way the wrong way.
I am glad my son and I were able to blush over that plastic Barbie. It shows that there is still some spiritual sensitivity there. We are very careful as a family never to watch or listen to things that will desensitize us to sin. That is the key to maintaining the ability to blush, and that is one thing no one should ever be embarrassed about.
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., and the author of several books which are available at wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.