It’s time for some positive reflection. I know, don’t freak out. After this post I will return to my cynical, skeptical self… but you should know that in all honesty I am a fairly positive person. At least I once was. I have always seen the good in people, looked for the positive in others and trusted people until they gave me a reason not to trust them.
In the midst of all this stupid churchiness and crazy personal life stuff this past year, I have been surrounded by some ultra cool people who have befriended me and cared for me in ways that I have not quite experienced before.
The other morning I was talking via instant message with one of these friends and something hit me as we said goodbye. I am very fortunate to have this person in my life at this time. Without people like this in my life I would not be able to have made it through this past year. Last night I was with another friend who has offered me unconditional friendship over and over again.
Even when I am sure I don’t deserve it, people like this have entered into my life and sustained me at just the right moment. Not to mention my children who represent the epitome of grace in my life. Being outside the church has opened up my eyes to the possibilities of sharing life with people I might have never noticed before. Now the goal isn’t to try and find a way to get these people into my church…it’s just to get to know them as they are with no “end game” of finding a way to turn my conversations into an opportunity to invite them to my next “hip and relevant” church event.
It has been said by some friends that we shouldn’t give up on God’s institution just because it contains messed up people. So, I guess the question is, why do I need God’s institution since messed up people like me are everywhere to befriend. I do not feel far from God when I spend time relating with people wherever I go.
Here are some examples of the “messed up people” (a.k.a. normal people) I have talked to recently:
• This week I have had spirtually related discussions with a group of my co-workers. They were talking about TBN and all the nuts on there that “give the Lord a f***ing bad name” (their words).
• I ate a meal with a friend that is just discovering the SCP site and we talked at length about the recent interview we did with Shirley Phelps Roper.
• I was eating dinner at a restaurant bar where I met a young couple and talked with them about their relationship, encouraging them to not sweat the small stuff. We discussed the importance of not taking for granted the friend they have in the other person and invest highly in that relationship.
• A few weekends ago at a work event, I talked with the security staff (big bouncer type guys) about broken relationships and the effect it has on children, and the effect it had on them as kids.
Listen, if you would have told me five years ago I wouldn’t be going to church, I would have said you are crazy. The church was my life. I was there when it opened and closed, several times a week. All of my friends were church friends. My work was church related. I thought non-stop about how to help my church grow, how to expand my ministry, how to reach people for Christ, how to motivate people to church events…and I must say that all of that seems silly now. It seems so narrow-focused. It sounds so short-sighted.