Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and the more I think about it, as despicable as most pirates may be, perhaps we can learn something from them.
All too often, the church (and when I say “the church,” I mean, “Christians as a whole,” not a building) acts like the pirate’s mortal enemy, the ninja. We operate under stealth, meeting in secret (or might as well be in secret, as most people just don’t get up early on Sundays), and few people know our secret, since at best, we might wear a cross necklace, or we think that being nice to people will convey the Gospel inherently without actually mentioning Jesus as the motivation behind our actions. We certainly don’t announce our intentions, but insist on sneaking around, blending into society.
When Apple first opened their computer campus, they hoisted the Jolly Roger instead of any other flag, and when asked why, they answered, “Better to be a pirate than join the navy.” For a budding computer business in the 1970’s, “the navy” meant IBM, but for Christians in the United States, “the navy” is our culture. Christians are called not to conform to the world (Romans 12:2), but so often, we can’t even see the contrast between our culture and Biblical Christianity. Someone even recently asked me why the two must conflict, and sadly, the answer is that, as long as we live in a fallen world, the two will always conflict. When we’ve stopped running contrary to the culture, we’ve lost our direction and need to reverse course!
Pirates, on the other hand, are easily recognized. They act boldly. They’re often likable or even heroic (at least the fictional movie pirates!), and people find them fascinating. Christians, while sometimes feared as a political lobby (Really? Is politics our biggest concern?), are more often seen as boring than adventurous, but why is that? Pirates have been known to face tremendous peril to achieve their goals, taking a stand and fighting to the death. On the high seas, they live on uncomfortable ships and contend with everything from scurvy to being run through with a cutlass. Meanwhile, God has given us the “Sword of the Spirit,” the Bible (Ephesians 6:17), and we tend to leave it in its scabbard. When it comes to storming the gates of hell, we’re more like the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything than the Pirates of the Caribbean.
The good news is that Jesus already walked the plank for us. We’ve committed crimes against the Crown and deserve to have our necks stretched by a short rope. And even though we’ve mutinied against our Captain, He took our place Himself. In fact, He didn’t just walk the plank–He was nailed to a couple of them. But because He went down to Davy Jones’ Locker for us, we’ve been pardoned and instead rewarded, not with doubloons, but with eternal life.
While the pirate of the movies bears little resemblance to real pirates, both modern and historical, it seems that we can learn something from even fiction about the truth. So to that goal, this entire site, just for today, will “talk like a pirate” to encourage you to do the same. Be bold and send this article to a friend, but do it quickly. This article will disappear at midnight, and Jesus might return even earlier.