On Confusing Your Roberts

December 19, 2009 · 2 comments

In 1979, I was out with a friend for lunch and things turned spiritual. They often did, when dining with Bob.

Bob was an audio-visual/creative dude working for an evangelical Christian organization called “YWAM” (Youth With A Mission). He still is, for all I know, unless God pulled an Oral Roberts on him and asked him to come up with $8M in six months or Do Not Pass Go.

Also, he could have changed his name to “Raster-Faster Bobbert” and been gently chillin’ in Jamaica for the past two decades in dreadlocks and one of those hand-crocheted doily hats. I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.

That is now, and this was when.


Bob spoke of the universal need for a “Personal Savior to save us from our sin.” With all the bluff and fluster my nineteen year-old self could muster,  I countered with a brisk, “Like what, a personal belly button? What’s personal about something that the entire human race has to have one of? Plus, how can 30 million Buddhists be wrong?”

Give me a break. As a junior in college (translation for Canadians: 3rd year in university) I had only recently enrolled in Logic 101 (or something… whatever) to satisfy a nagging undergrad course requirement for graduation.

I had no idea how many Buddhists there were or how many were theoretically waiting to be recycled back into the human loop of history in 1979, but Bob was a gracious man and let the point stand on principle.


He expanded on his perspective.

“Human beings fail to live up to a standard for perfection we all somehow know exists. Some fail in more media-worthy solar flares than others (fast forward 30 years: think Tiger Woods), but we all screw up at some point. The options for reparation, as specified in The Garden Accord, are somewhat limited: it’s death. Someone’s gonna pay, and pay big, for something we all intuitively understand needs to be made right.”

“Here’s the deal: either He pays, or you pay,” Bob continued.  “He’s already paid for something He didn’t owe (that messy business on the cross), and you can’t pay and still live.”



I panicked. And that’s when I confused my Roberts.

“Listen, if Oral Roberts can spend $50M on a crystal cathedral in a world filled with hunger, homelessness, and pain… if that’s what it means to be a Christan, I don’t want any part of it.”

Oral Roberts did not build the Crystal Cathedral. Robert Schuller did.

Bob probably knew that, but he didn’t quibble. Instead, he hit me with The Close.

“Okay. So when God says to you, ‘I sent my only Son to take the penalty for your sin. Why did you turn Me down?” you just tell Him it was because of Oral Roberts. I’m sure He’ll understand.”


Hmmm… Thanks, Bob.

In any case, as you put the star on the tree, find yourself humming “Angels We Have Heard On High,” or enjoy the gas-induced grins of a family newborn at a candle-lit holiday table, take a moment to give ‘er a think. And let us know what you come up with, will ya?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Renzullo December 23, 2009 at 12:04 am

I do wonder if he was any relation to the dread pirate Roberts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartholomew_Roberts.


Sue December 21, 2009 at 9:10 am

Oral bob.


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