Who I’m Comfortable With

I am uncomfortable with professing Christians who have inflated views of themselves.  Hiding behind fake smiles and the appearance of success, they sling arrows of judgement at those they consider sinful or strange, disgusting or vile.  Through their actions they declare that being shown grace by God is no reason to show grace to others.  They are wrong.  The others, the ones who aren’t self-righteous, the ones who are cast aside for some perceived flaw, are precisely the ones that Jesus came to minister to, to seek and to save.

Oddballs and doubters, the scorned and marginalized, those who have given up on church because they feel that the church has given up on them.  This is who I am more comfortable with–at least most of the time.

People like the man who thought his dead cat had come back to life.  Seriously.  He was adamant about it and wanted me to be there when he dug up the grave.  We talked.  We looked at scripture together.  We laughed.  We never dug up the grave.  Other people saw this man as strange.  Being an object of ridicule in a small town makes strange people behave even more strangely.  I came to see that he tried harder to do the right thing than any person that I have ever encountered.  His honesty was refreshing, his inability to hide his feelings was unique.  I was comfortable with him.

People like the man who showed up for a Sunday morning church service wearing overalls and a sleeveless t-shirt with a week’s worth of stubble on his face and stink on his body.  He asked if he could sing a song; I said yes.  The song was then tortured and killed.  He returned for the evening service and asked to sing again; again I said yes.  He brought the same song back to life and killed it again; the old folks might say that he “double-killed” it.  I could feel the eye-rolls and sense the head-shakes happening from some of the people behind me, people who should have reacted better.  Me?  I enjoyed it.  Not because it sounded good (it didn’t), but because God is good and enjoys the praise of his people even when it is painful to our human ears.  I was comfortable with him.

People like the hundreds who responded to a column I wrote that was published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel in 2007 (you can read it by clicking here).  The column was an apology to both non-Christians and Christians who have been hurt by those in the Church.  I heard from atheists and agnostics, homosexuals and seekers, those who were close to abandoning the faith and those who had given up on it altogether.  Their honesty brought tears to my eyes and more conversations than I could have imagined.  I was comfortable with them.

I’m comfortable with those who are honest.  I’m at ease with those who realize that they don’t have all the right answers and who may not even be close to asking the right questions.  The seekers and the wanderers, the maligned and the condemned.

That’s who I’m comfortable with–at least most of the time.

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13 thoughts on “Who I’m Comfortable With

  1. Awesome. Wonderful. Brought tears to my eyes. Absolutely right on target. How we mock what we do not understand because we fear it. Let us not fear those who are different but love Jesus just as we do. Embrace them and learn from it.

    Keep writing…and thank you!

  2. What a great post. Thanks for that. I share your sentiments and your discomfort with those who call themselves Christ followers but have no intention of following Christ into the very places he would have ventured to if here were among us in the flesh today. And also living in a small town (in Texas!), I have seen the eye rolling and the disgusted looks some people have gotten in response to their wardrobe or demeanor or background. And it breaks my heart. Thanks again.

  3. Amazing post! I completely agree with everything you said. I’ve grown to love transparency, no matter what that means; and have a deep disdain for all things fake. God is always faithful to remind me that I am just as broken and in need of a Savior as anyone else. Preach on!

  4. This was wonderful. I see myself in those people you mentioned, in need, seeking, hurt, loving Jesus and being weird – they make me more comfortable too.

    I’m going to enjoy coming back to read your posts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. This is a topic that I have an ever growing passion for – removing our masks, being authentic, aknowledging our struggles. How can we allow God to change us if we can’t even admit that we need changed? I’ve grown up in the Church – I love it. But it frustrates me as well, how we tend to put masks on. It serves no purpose but to alienate and divide.

    Thank you for writing about this. I’ve been enjoying your posts – keep writing please, (and might I encourage you to post more poems?).

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