by Kenneth Justice
~ Have you ever known someone who was very private and reserved…..who gave off an emotionally distant vibe? Some writers refer to such people as wearing masks; they go to church every week and pretend that their life is wonderful but since they never let anyone get close to them…..their real self is always kept secret.
Although I keep a certain level of my life private in my blog (for obvious safety concerns) for the most part I am pretty open with who I am. If you sat down with me at coffee or across from me at my dinner table; what you read in my blog is who I am in person.
I’m not a big fan of being emotionally distant…..its annoying.
Emotional distance has been one of the biggest struggles in relation to my Christian faith; far too many of my fellow Christians are not open and honest with who they really are. Church turns off a lot of my friends because they attend on Sunday and see all these smiling faces who appear to have everything going right in their life………yet when we peel back the surface we see imperfect people who struggle just like anyone else.
“church is full of hypocrites” is something I’ve had to listen to people tell me my entire life and its hard to disagree; when people pretend that their life is wonderful, when its really not……’hypocrisy’ becomes an easy to throw arrow.
I also don’t care much for reading authors who present an altogether to-perfectly-packaged-life. I need something with a little bit more grit to it, I need something that is filed with real life; and since real life can be tough I need to read something that is entirely open and honest.
Perhaps my preference for being real is connected to my belief that life does not come in the same package for everyone;
–) Each of us will make different decisions in life
–) Each of us will have different opinions about issues
–) Each of us will not agree on everything
Having said all that I now turn to the two young women sitting next to me here at coffee. They are youth leaders of sorts at a local church in my community and have been sitting here talking about a strategy their church has adopted recently for ‘bringing more kids into church and leading them to believe in Jesus Christ’.
Listening to them for the past hour (they are so close to me I could sneeze on em’ and they aren’t trying to have a quiet conversation at all) I feel like I am listening to marketing directors at an advertising agency. Their aim is to ‘convert kids to Jesus” and like military generals mapping out plans for battle; they have been mapping out their strategic plan to conquer the world of children for Christ.
It pisses me off that my fellow Christians have reduced our faith and religion to nothing more than programs, curriculum and conversion strategies. Is that what they really belief faith in God is???
Sadly, I believe these two young women are far too representational with what men and women of faith have become; emotionally closed off people who operate meetings and strategies with the goal of converting ‘the lost’.
I have been very appreciative of the new Pope and his work in expressing to the world his love for humanity and that his love is not conditional in any way; it doesn’t matter to the Pope whether someone believes in Jesus or not….he will still love them every bit as much as the next person.
That’s where I’m coming from; your faith or your belief in god (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with me, I want to be friends with people from all walks of life and I don’t ever want someone to believe that ‘I’m trying to convert’ them.
–) I don’t sit up late at night mapping out strategies to better convert non-Christians……does that make me a bad Christian?
–) I don’t spend hours of my day praying “God make everyone believe what I believe”…..does that make me a bad Christian?
–) I don’t huddle together with other Christians at evening church meetings talking about how wonderful our theology is and how we’re right about everything……does that make me a bad Christian?
Ministers who have made the biggest impact on my life have been the ones who were open and honest…..who didn’t pretend that they ‘knew everything’ and that were open to listening.
Maybe all the coffee I drink has polluted my brain……which reminds me, I think I will have another cup