The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

I remember watching the NBA All Star game in 1979. As the teams were going through their pre-game warm up, the commentator mentioned one player that he didn’t recognize. He began to attract attention. The player was actually taking some practice shots with the All Star team.

Upon closer scrutiny it was discovered that the man was Barry Bremen. He had eluded security, had an NBA All Star uniform that he had stolen, and made his way onto the basketball floor. Johnny Carson thought it was so unique that he had Bremen on his Tonight Show.

Bremen decided he would try other ways of being an imposter. The next year the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. Bremen stole and wore an umpires uniform and stood with the six other umpires at home plate as the National Anthem was played.

As you know, in baseball there are only six umpires. It took a while before people realized that Bremen was a fake. He had actually sneaked onto the field at Veterans Stadium. The fun he enjoyed at impersonating people began to repeat itself at other events.

Bremen even went so far as to dress up in a cheerleaders outfit with a blond wig and appear on the sidelines at a Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins football game. Being 6-foot-4-inches tall, he looked like a pretty big cheerleader. He was immediately kicked out, but he enjoyed it. He later was an impersonator on the PGA golf tour and for a few holes played with PGA champ Curtis Strange.

Bremen didn’t just limit his impersonations to sports figures. In 1985 he attended the Emmy awards. When Betty Thomas received an award for her role in Hill Street Blues, she was slow to stand up when her name was called. Guess who got up to receive the award?

Someone once said, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

We might be amused at the impersonations of Barry Bremen, but do a lot of us act as impersonators, especially when it comes to the Christian faith? It is much easier to impersonate a Christian than to be one. Imposters enjoy a short experience before they are caught. A real Christian is 24/7 and enjoys life forever and ever and ever.

Jesus was really hard on impersonators. Read Matthew 23 where He exposed impersonators and told of their dire consequences.

Paul states in I Corinthians 11:1 that we ought to be imitators of Christ. Read I Corinthians 4:16, II Thessalonians 3:7, and Philippians 4:9 and see how Paul instructs us to imitate fellow Christians.

It is amusing to see somebody impersonate an umpire, a basketball player, a cheerleader, etc. The great challenge for each of us is to examine whether or not we are deceptive impersonators or real imitators of Christ.


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