This post has been a long time comin'. For those of you who don't know, I love my church. My family and I attend New Hope. If you are ever in our neck of the woods, I highly suggest you check it out. Back in May, Pastor Van (PV as he calls himself) did a series called the Eleventh Hour and I continually think about those 3 sermons. So much so in fact, that I requested copies of all 3 and have given them to my friends. The point of the series was of course, to discuss the end times, or the events leading up to the return of Christ. It really helped me to gain perspective. The end times have already begun. We really do have a limited amount of time with which to share our faith, to develop our relationship with God, and to find salvation through Jesus. Now, if you are not a Christian, these things may seem like ridiculous notions to you.
I am a Christian. I have been for years. I have also been a very poor example and have not exactly been a winner of people to the cause. Religion is a very personal experience and it is very easy to show up, to say the buzz words, to judge others because of an elevated idea of Christian morality without ever fully understand what it's like to truly LOVE GOD and to live a life FOR HIM. There is no big blinking sign over our heads that say "this girl is the real deal." It is easy to fake. I am not any better which is why I wanted to write this. I lie, I disobey, I blatantly ignore, I judge, I refuse to forgive, I skip church to sleep in. For a long time, I pretended to be what I was not and I was comfortable in doing so. I am a work in progress. I frequently fail. But I am a Christian. This is what all Christians are, whether or not we want to believe it. We fall short. We disappoint. We are hypocritical.
We are ALL in the same boat, it's just that some of us have life preservers.
Pastor Van, at the end of the Eleventh Hour series did a sermon about being bold. He didn't mean spiky hair and over-done make-up. He didn't mean asking out the person you have a thing for or singing karaoke. He specifically talked about being bold in your faith. That means putting it out there for others to judge, to make fun of, to scrutinize, but more importantly, putting it out there to be a beacon to others that might otherwise NOT know or care. People that may have NEVER been interested, that are, just because it is coming from YOU. I took this to heart. That night I went home and wrote a few emails to my friends. This is what I sent to a boy I attended chiropractic school with....
I've been thinking a lot about you lately, mostly as you had posted on facebook about re-reading the God Delusion. We never sat down at school, or anywhere really, and had a discussion about religion. I am a Christian and, while I may not be most the well read or the most highly informed, I have considerable faith and try my best to support my faith with reason. I know that sounds a little like an oxymoron as most people would assume that no thinking person could believe in creation with so much scientific proof of evolution, but I do. Sometimes in life I find there are things I just KNOW. And then it becomes a matter of finding proof...like the fact that fossils can form in tens of years instead of hundreds of thousands and the fact that carbon-dating is fallible.
With that being said, I offer whatever info or debate I can to you. I know you are probably not interested, as you've stated that you don't like to discuss religion, and that's ok, but you and your faith have been on my mind and I wanted to at least offer. I believe the world would be a different place if Christians took the time to talk about they whys of what we believe and discuss without judgement. After all, I can't expect anyone to live by my standards if they don't have the same belief system I do. So, I'm not sure what you believe, but there are far too many people out there, calling themselves Christians, but living for/in pursuit of the wrong things. If you have even an "seed" of faith (matthew17:20), I'd like to help you to find the room to grow in it. That's my offer.
ps..keep in mind that I'm a student of faith and there are people out there far more qualified to answer your serious questions with a perfect explanation. I'm just going to try to do my best.
He never responded. In fact, he simply stopped responding to every message I sent him. I don't care that I might have ruined a friendship. I didn't quit. It's just that now, instead of sending him a message when I think about him, I say a prayer that God might give him ears to hear. That's my new effort.
In trying to share what I believe, I have noticed a big shift in me. It's not really how I act necessarily, because I have always been are pretty "good" person (...I know, I know, "not by acts") but in how I pray mostly. Instead of asking God to change, I ask for him to show me HIS will. I make an effort to turn over my problems and let HIM sort them out. I have been given in return some of the most clear and undeniable directions I've ever received, and that my friends, does nothing by strengthen my faith and cement my beliefs.
So I challenge all of you, in the spirit of the holiday season, to be bold in your faith. To share it with others. It is intimidating and can be uncomfortable, but comfort is not WHY you are doing it. Just keep that in mind. We grow the most as individuals, as Christians, when we are UNCOMFORTABLE. You may be rejected, you may lose a friend, but you may also change someones heart and you will definitely change yours.
P.S. If I have offended you, I don't care. If you have questions or are exploring religion, I extend to you the same offer I did to my friends. I am no expert, but I have "ears to hear" and will do my best to help in whatever way I can.