So there I was driving home and listening to one of six Christian radio stations I can now get in my car, when Max Lucado’s Upwords radio minute came on. This is essentially a sponsorship opportunity for radio stations; a vehicle for them to sell additional advertising.
Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all the books Max has written and the contribution he’s made to Christian literature, in fact I’ve given a few favorable reviews here. Furthermore, I especially like Max on video. I think the warmth and tenor of his personality comes through the camera better than through the printed page, though, I must confess, I now read his material hearing his voice in my head.
But as I listened to Upwords, I thought, “As fluffy content goes, this is more fluffy than usual.” So I looked to see if the text was available online to share here, and it was:
Years ago I was traveling with my daughter, Jenna. When I realized she and I weren’t seated together, I asked the fellow sitting next to her to swap seats with me. Surely he’ll understand, I thought. He didn’t. I was left separated from my 12 year old on a long transatlantic flight.
I began plotting how I’d trip him if he dared walk to the restroom during the flight. I turned to intimidate him with a snarl and saw, much to my surprise, Jenna offering him a pretzel. What? My daughter was fraternizing with the enemy! As if the pretzel were an olive branch, he accepted her gift and they both leaned their seats back and dozed off.
I learned the lesson God had used my daughter to teach me. All of us are here by grace and, at some point, all of us have to share some grace. So the next time you find yourself next to a questionable character, don’t give him a hard time—give him a pretzel!
That’s the full text.
Now my goal here is not to take this apart letter-by-letter, punctuation-mark by punctuation-mark. (We’ll leave that to discernment ministry bloggers.) I did make note — especially if I’m ever near him on an airplane — that Max was considering tripping this stranger, and that even in the final paragraph, he still ranks as a “questionable character.” Of course this is the same man who recently, in his book Grace, confessed to a week of drinking beer out of a paper bag in a convenience store parking lot, and an attempt to bribe an airline official. Truly, I’m not making that up.
No, I was just concerned that the whole broadcast was a tad light, as in lite. No Biblical text, though I suppose that’s not the goal of Upwords. No deep theology. Not even a teaser for an upcoming book. (This story is in fact from an older book, The Great House of God.)
I guess I have no major complaint other than perhaps I’d like my sixty-seconds back. I do think the radio airtime could be better used. I think that Max himself could use it better. Especially in view of the program’s mandate as outlined on his website:
In 1991, Max Lucado was presented the idea of developing a radio broadcast that focused solely on Jesus Christ.
Perhaps there’s a philosophy to this radio vignette; possibly Max builds a listener following and then hits the spiritual home run on Fridays, or at the end of the month.
I just think people are tuning in for something more substantive than pretzels.