An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Last week I was dropping my kids off at their first day of school and crossed paths with a pastor friend of mine and his wife that I have known for several years. In the course of conversation I shared with them what had been going on in my personal life over the past year.

Now without getting into details about my personal life (which really doesn’t matter for the most part), the point of this story isn’t my story at all – it’s the pastor and his wife who listened to me share it.

At first I was very reluctant to tell them much at all. I made the usual small talk, we talked about the kids, youth sports, jobs… yet when they asked me certain questions, I felt inclined to clue them in on what had been happening in my personal life. In those situations, I am never sure how much to share, but nonetheless I gave them the short version of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. No vague generalities of pretending everything is fine and dandy, but I told them exactly what was going on, as tactfully and gracefully as I could muster.

I was touched by their response. No solutions offered, no advice, no “pastoral” attitude, no trite sayings, no prayer…. they just listened. After I was done sharing I thanked them for listening to me “spill my guts” and appreciated them taking the time out of their day… and then the three of us started walking home.

As we reached my house and it was time to say goodbye the most amazing thing happened. The pastor and his wife gave me an invitation that I couldn’t refuse.

No… they didn’t invite me to come to their church.

No… they didn’t invite me to join them for a small group meeting.

No… they didn’t invite me to join hands with them and pray for my life.

No… they didn’t do anything vaguely resembling what a “good” pastor might do.

No… what they did was extraordinarily human-like.

They invited me (and my kids) to their home to hang out and watch TV with their family.

And guess what? I said I would… and then we shook hands and hugged goodbye.

Simple. Easy. Effective. Relevant.

Revolutionary.

40 thoughts on “An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse”

  1. Making friends with another family unit, cool I guess. Hopefully they have you over and there isn’t too much wrangling over theologies and what not (with tv as a guise to getting you over for a wicked convo). I personally see no problem with going and hanging out, having some stale chips, and talking about whatever comes up. Hopefully all goes well for you.

  2. Ha Kohen I liked your comment – I agree.It sucks that at work, a girl can go on and on about what an atheist she is and garbage talk about religion, but if I was to talk about my faith, it would be stepping on her “rights”. Sometimes, religious is just who people are. Why should I have to lie about who I am in order to talk to people in public?I am so glad that you felt good about being invited over to watch TV, really thats what we should be doing with people, instead of beating people over the head with stuff. If we simple concentrated more on being good people/Christians ourselves instead of trying to preach at people, we’d do everyone a lot more good.

  3. I’d love to give that offer, but really, I am such a boring person…There’s nothing that would make anyone want to come back…or even get over the awkwardness of silence…I would love to offer a true haven…

  4. Actually it’s: “chew the hay and spit out the sticks” Rev. Kenith E. HaginSound’s like we got a closet Word of Faither hiding among the sheep.

  5. Steve- Thanks for sharing that. That is a good reminder to all of us to make those kind of offers and a reminder to be real and share what is really going on. Thanks.

  6. Sounds like some people I would have liked to meet twenty years ago. Alot of Christians can’t seem to understand that they are the reason alot of hurting, lost people hate Christianity. I always loved the message of Jesus; a simple, beautiful message that has been perverted by idiots. Though I wanted to be follower of Jesus, I saw the fruits of the Christian religion and decided that no, I guess I’ll try something else. Maybe Buddhism. It took alot of pain and depression to finally realize, through my own reading of the bible, that I did need God, and that it was o.k. to be a Christian, just, basically, chew the meat and spit out the bones. Now I am deeply involved in many areas of ministry at my megachurch, and have realised that most of the people around me are great Christians, and it really is just a few bad apples who tend to ruin the reputations of all the rest. Unfortunately those bad apples are overwhelmingly the pastors and other church staff. All I can do is show forth good fruits and hope that I can touch the life of someone else like me.

  7. It wasn’t “new and improved”, it’s what being a friend is about. All this reading into the situation, thinking about backdrops, props, possible conversations, etc. It’s all hilarious. It’s just going to be a friendly visit. Or, it already has been. Simple. Easy. Effective. Relevant.Hardly revolutionary. Just human.

  8. yeah busted! No, all I know about Mr. Hagin is that my church’s pastor studied under him at Rhema back in the seventies and he apparently likes speaking in tongues. But a good quote is a good quote, no matter who said it.

  9. Bruced:<>“It will be interesting to see how long it takes for their “agenda” to slip in. Anybody care to start a pool?”<>If things ever come round to talking about faith etc does that mean the guy has another “agenda”. I just wonder if there isn’t a danger that we’re so keen never to be seen as having a “hidden agenda” that we avoid talking about the truly important stuff altogether.Did Jesus always have another “agenda” when he was befriending people (“I have come to seek & save the lost”)?As with most things it ultimately comes down to things that us humans are unable to discern i.e. hearts & motives. It’s the old debate of, “Do you want to be my friend so I’ll follow Jesus” or “Do you want me to follow Jesus because you are my friend”.Maybe Steve should just take the guy at face value, coz I guarantee that if you think someone will have a hidden agenda that’s what you’ll end up seeing. It’s called the pygmallion effect and it’s amzing how it effects all our perceptions.

  10. Sometimes the only agenda is the continuation of a good friendship. And if they do end up leading this into some kind of “God Loves You” discussion so what! After all, that most likely is a part of what “good friendship” means to them. I don’t know if it’s fair for people to think so negatively about a religious person sharing their own personal spiritual views in an attempt to relate to others who are hurting. Would we say “stupid Hindu’s and their Hindu agenda” or “why can’t Muslims ever talk to me without bringing up Allah?” The reality is that if spirituality is such a bit part of someone’s life, we should assume that it will come up. Why should that offend us?

  11. March, if you wait until you think you are ready, you’ll never make the move. Take a chance!Steve, that was a remarkable response! We all know the feeling just before you say those words that can not be retracted — heart rate quckens, palms get sweaty. When the hearer actually listens and loves, it’s all blessing.

  12. shieldsy: I don’t doubt that the guy probably just wants to watch tv. I was just having fun. I typically don’t think the worst about people. Hence, we agree. but still, we should throw Steve a bone, the thoughts DO cross our minds don’t they???

  13. just set up some healthy boundaries and you’ll be fine… all of you …. heheheheh…. I can hang out with christians to a certain point, and when they start roping me in, I simply tell them, “please don’t rope me in, I’m really enjoying the journey I’m on” being honest about those boundaries is a good way to separate the hidden agendas from the sincere humans and it keeps relationships healthy.http://mysterymessiah.blogspot.com

  14. shieldsy: I know what you’re describing. It’s called self-defense. Determining motives is something we are hard-wired and SHOULD do. It doesn’t mean that we’re looking for screw ups. We base what we understand on thousands of nuanced relational actions like body movements, eye contact, tone of voice, and of course WHAT someone says. You’re talking about blinders, Shieldsy. I can’t afford to just assume that everyone means me well.

  15. nuggett: <>“I can’t afford to just assume that everyone means me well.”<>Assuming everyone is out to fleece you, rope you in, has hidden agenda’s etc … sounds like you’d make an ideal member of the British press.Your assumptions (prejudices) always effect your outlook and cloud your judgements. Ultimately you’ll never be a perfect judge of someone’s motives … only God knows peoples hearts, the best we can do is take an educated guess.What if the guy just wnats to invite Steve over to watch TV with his family?

  16. haha. You just wait Steve. They’ve probably laid out a 10 volume Dobson series (featuring a bonus interactive FOF bible study kit), some Precious Moments figurines, two NIV Bibles all neatly stacked on their living room coffee table awaiting your pathetic sinful arrival. I bet they’ve even practiced their “disappointed” faces on each other. Be prepared.

  17. Here’s my solution to all things church:Everyone listen to me. Everyone shut the fuck up and do as I say. Let’s go to a field and play football and I can be all-time quarterback and the girls sit on the sidelines because you’re too weak to play tackle. but seriously I should be king of America and maybe I’ll elect two or three of you (depending on your running/receiving skills) to the King’s cabinet. Maybe we’llhave a couple of troubadours and alot of mountainous real-estate in Oregon. Women can join based on previous cooking/home economics experience. (and they can cheerlead the football games)

  18. Why can’t we just go back to just simply calling pastors whores and blaming the church for our own conflicted lives….Ahhhhh things were much simpler then.

  19. I guess the nice long comment I just typed out and lost when I clicked “publish” wasn’t meant to be. Blooger really sucks… let’s see if the censors let this one through!

  20. Are you suggesting that pastors are capable of human-like qualities?I think there needs to be more research to verify this.

  21. yea right Joshua Fallaw is a terrorist! shelter your kids from that man!*grips sharp gardening tool and sneers*

  22. Can I have more than one woman? Also, I have serious running and receiving skills but my head is so big that it can’t fit into a helmet. All hail the golden Nugget

  23. Check their shoes, don’t allow them to have any liquids in the house and make sure they don’t have box cutters…AHHHHHHH!!!!! Now I’m afraid…the terrorists have won!

  24. I find it interesting how alot of you seem to be reading into this. Could it just be a normal family, wanting normal friendships. Would it be so terrable if they were concerned about Steves ” journey”. I am sure it will be a nice time, however if you go into this looking for the “catch” youll be sure to find one.

  25. They sound like my kind of people. The worst that could happen is they serve stale potato chips and watch a Disney flick you have already seen 9 times. But wouldn’t it just be nice to chill with another family unit? Go for it.

  26. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for their “agenda” to slip in. Anybody care to start a pool?I truly hope these folks are different. But, if they are, I think it would be a rare exception.On the other hand, maybe they are heading down the same path as you, and want to learn how you dealt with it all.None the less, it should be fun!

  27. Awesome!! That’s the way it should be. At the risk of sounding very self-promotional, I think you would enjoy my post called ‘Chasing Symptoms’ and I’d love to get your feedback- it’s on this VERY topic. Drop in on ‘My Journey’ if you have time.Be well. :o)

  28. You know… It’s funny. This reminded me to when my husband (then boyfriend) and I were going to church. We had our share of problems in our dating relationship, the usual sins that one might expect, and one of the things that always frusterated me was the fact that pastors and elders would hand out all this wonderful idealistic advice that might have worked if we had good oppressive Christian parents… but the thing they didn’t do was the sort of thing that we probably needed most… no one ever offered to let us come over to their house and eat dinner with them and watch TV… no one ever offered us any alternative to hanging out at home other than the mall. So yeah, go hang out with them and watch TV. It’s good to get out of the house. 🙂

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