>"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"

>As Lindsey and I were leaving Tybee Island this past Saturday, we made it a point to drive through historic Savannah, Georgia. We wanted to see downtown, particularly Reynolds Square, the beautiful home of a monument to John Wesley – complete with an amazing statue, some biographical information, and a brief sketch of historical significance regarding the father of Methodism.

I must confess that I was a bit choked up the whole time we were out of the car at Reynolds Square. As I first approached Wesley’s statue, which boldly occupies the very center of the Square, I found myself surprisingly anxious, being both eager and hesitant. The only way I know to express the exciting yet intimidating feeling I had is to simply say that, while I wanted so desperately to see this depiction of a man upon whose shoulders I humbly stand, I felt grossly unworthy to be in the presence of even a representation of him. I felt myself to be a mere mortal before a glorious god of sorts.

[At this point, you might very well have written me off as an idolater or – God forbid! – one who esteems other men too highly. If so… well, there you go.]

To be honest, I am terribly troubled when I look at the condition of the Church today and try to find someone – anyone – who is a figure like Wesley. Whatever happened to people like him? or Thomas a’ Kempis? or Athanasius? Whatever happened to people who held the attention of what seemed the whole world yet wouldn’t budge an inch when Truth was at stake, not giving one rip about if others thought they were foolish, uninformed, or plain wrong? Where’s the Dietrich Bonhoeffer of today?

Paula Cole, I’m with you, dear… Where have all the cowboys gone?

I tell you, though, I long so much for my precious children to know the significance of people like Wesley. While I looked on in awe, Lindsey beautifully shared with Imogene and Aidan about Wesley and his import, and I’m sure Emery was doing all he could to listen intently. For the sake of the future, we need more men like Wesley. For the sake of the Gospel, we need more cowboys.

As we returned to the car, I couldn’t help but think of those who have even recently held significant public attention only to cave under the intense pressure that comes with it. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is there anyone, Lord? Is there anybody out there who can handle it? Is there not one who won’t budge?”

And now, as I write this post, I recall the closing words to the immensely weighty hymn I sang to Aidan as he drifted off to sleep just a couple of hours ago… “That soul – though all hell should endeavor to shake – I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!” Sure, all the forces of hell might rise up before him, but through the power of the Spirit of God, a cowboy CAN stand strong.

If you are reading this, please know that I am hungry to read your thoughts on the matter. Where have all the cowboys gone?

About Adam Godbold

husband, father, pastor, and more View all posts by Adam Godbold

4 responses to “>"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"

  • Marshall L. Daigre

    >adam,wish i could have shared the moment with you and your family. thanks for immortalizing it on the web.i strongly believe that there are so many churches that know they are bankrupt when it comes to reaching new people for christ. so, their strategy is to attract more people. they end up doing this, more often than no, by trying buddy up to the worlds way of life. they start talking like them and acting like them. you know me, i want to be as contemporary as possible. but at the same time we cannot afford to buckle on things that are clear in scripture (homosexuality) just because the wider culture is angry about it.a church planter friend of mine says on his facebook profile that his political views are “as little as possible”. we as the clergy ought to have the highest political views and lead others into them and help them understand how and why they connect to the scriptures. teaching people christian ethics. helping them remember our heritage. that the heritage of America is a christian heritage, not islam or buddhism but christian.the cowboys have started to attract people like that kid in elementary school that tried to attract friends…and we all know how that ended up. you can try to hard you know. cowboys don’t try and attract, they lead.

  • Adam

    >It is interesting that today people are offended or just plain shocked when – or maybe ‘if’ is more appropriate here – Christian leaders hold to ideals divergent from wider culture. It seems like only yesterday that such was only – and always – expected. [You know, the whole “peacher-man” understanding.]

  • Jill

    >Coming to Christ during the “Jesus Movement” in the early 70’s, I was influenced by several spiritual heavyweights of that movement. “No Compromise” was a theme that ran through those years. Those who led, looked back on the writings and sermons of those heavyweights who came before them for inspiration because we felt same about the 70’s that you express now. Many of the leaders of that movement have died or their voices have died out. Perhaps they could only take so much backlash from their radical stand. I think there are cowboys out there, around us, but they don’t have a public platform because as soon as their voice is heard, they are silenced as quickly as possible by media. And then the “politically correct” church disowns them and labels them intolerant and too radical.(Much like they did to Jesus) But isn’t the Church supposed to look, talk and behave differently from the world? I could rant on, but I’ll quit. Good post!

  • Adam

    >Jill,Thanks for your feedback; it is encouraging to hear. I must confess that I’m not that familiar with the “Jesus Movement”. It wasn’t related to the “Jesus Seminar”, was it? It is sad, though, that there are many pastors who have a rather large “pulpit” – so to speak – who simply blow it. I remember the axiom from college – “What good is your message without an audience? Yet, what good is an audience without a message?”It does seem that controversy does draw a crowd. There have been several controversial figures within the Church who – for better or for worse – periodically captivated the attention of the greater public. It’s terribly sad, though, when those we thought we could count on bow to the itching ears of the “approved” leadership. Again, I must confess, I’m just a frustrated little voice.

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