On the importance of story telling, I really liked this quote by Alan Rickman. He’s a British actor. Kind of interesting, he met his girlfriend when he was 19 and as far as I can tell, they have been together for nearly 40 years. I don’t think they’ve ever gotten married, but I do think it’s kind of sweet to have such a long term relationship with someone you met when you were very young. Ah, romance…
Recently I’ve bumped into a couple of complaints about how I don’t hold Christians to the same standard as I hold atheists, about how I never hold Christians accountable. That is complete nonsense. I actually hold Christians to an even higher standard and my expectations of them are much greater. I’ve just spent the past year calling out some churchian gamers promoting some rather appalling things in Christ’s name. I’ve posted about several prosperity ministers and feel good preachers, like Joel and Victoria Osteen. So, I totally reject those claims.
Christians however, have been undeniably good to me. Imperfect, flawed human being perhaps, but a real blessing. Every pivotal moment of my life can be attributed to the placement of Christians in it, starting at a very young age. Lifesavers, all.
Anyway, on being teachable. It is so critical for Christians to maintain a soft heart and a gentle enough spirit so that we can be open to learning new things that God wishes to teach us. Anybody can teach us something, even our enemies, even those who have made a mess of their lives and are living in the trenches. Especially them. God has often spoken to me through people who you would think are unqualified to teach you anything. Some of my greatest lessons have come from them, not from holy rollers or great churchian leadership, but from the fellow walking wounded of the world. There is great value and wisdom to be found at the school of hard knocks.
That self righteous, religious spirit can be a real bugger. It keeps people out of the church. It drives people away from religion. Personally I haven’t encountered it much in real life on the ground, but I sure have on the internet, and I’ve heard stories like the one Paul tells in his Holy Roller’s piece. That disconnect between Christians and “the real world” is a frequent complaint. Some of it is justified, some of it is imaginary, coming from people simply feeling unworthy. Let me tell you, Christianity is for real people, in the real world. In some ways scripture applies now to the modern world, to our modern lives, more than it ever has.
Christ came and walked in the real world, with the real people, rather rough people I imagine. Fishermen, not churchian leaders. Murders, thieves, prostitutes, and tax collectors.
I had no idea how much that religious spirit was starting to annoy me too, until the other day some Christians came to my door, wanting to teach me the good news, wanting to help me learn about scripture. Keep in mind that I have a cross on my mailbox, one around neck, a nativity set still on the porch, and Corinthians 13:13 painted across my front door. There is a slight possibility I’ve heard the good news. I’m also completely surrounded by foreclosed homes, poverty of spirit, and assorted suffering. So I tried to politely point down the road to the house that is full of people, full of issues, in desperate need of some good news. It’s hard, it’s scary, I understand, but those people really need you, not to preach to them, not to feed them platitudes, but to listen to them, to show you care, to remind them that there is Someone who loves them, who sees their suffering. And you never know, those people might have something to teach YOU, not the other way around.
Everybody has a story to tell.