I donned my flame resistant undies and did my best to pad the C part of the C&E statistic and gathered the family to attend church on Christmas Eve.
A day later and one phrase has begun to haunt me.
“What if we are the only ones?”
The wonderful pastor (I say wonderful because it’s true… not just because he might be reading this. *Hi John*) In a very creative way, the pastor presented us with the story of someone who might be on the other side of the Christmas story..someone who wasn’t really believing everything that was happening. The pastor went on to discuss his Black Friday self imposed start date of when he listens to Christmas music and how little of traditional carols pronouncing the birth of Christ was played.
As The Pastor proceeded to speak, he uttered the $2.98 phrase.
“What if we are the only ones…What if we are the only ones who believe the Christmas story.”
I asked myself this question, somewhere inside me an answer came out…
“And if we are, is it really that big of a deal”.
I stood there stunned.
It made me think how…how do we feel about those who don’t believe what we do. How do we feel about those who don’t call themselves a Christian and what do we do when we feel we are the only one of our kind.
Plays well with others.
Every family event we sit our 5 year old down and give her “the speech”. We tell her to be nice, listen and most of all..share.
You know…play well with others.
Christians, mainly Evangelical Christians don’t seem to play well with others. Look in the news today and you’ll find countless examples of Evangelicals not playing well with anyone but themselves. We see people like Franklin and Graham and the Family Research Council, actively punishing those who don’t carry their viewpoint and pushes to legislate their opponents out of existence. It’s using the pulpit to bully their congregations into submission using fear and the threat of damnation as the spiritual carrot and stick. This isn’t love. Where is showing the upsides of a faith dedicated to following the commandments of a man who gave his live for everyone..not just those who adhere to a certain theology?
Our children are watching us. They mimic and shape themselves in our image. If you truly believe in the whole ‘us vs them’ vernacular(I love this word) here’s my thought.
The one way to make them truly ‘one of them’ is by sucking at being ‘one of us’.
And while we are in the subject of “us vs. them”.
Stop it. Knock it off.
This is not the whole ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ bullshit. This goes beyond harmful and legalistic viewpoint. We are equals. We are taught to love and care and clothe and feed and shelter and to follow, but when one feels alone, the walls of self preservation go up. You fight and argue to protect what’s yours. You justify your actions, no matter how far from the truth they are. You start to draw labels that filter your thoughts and actions.
Gay, straight, trans, cis, muslim, agnostic, athiest whatever.
We are no better then the person next to us just because one says a magic prayer or chows down on juice and crackers once a month. That’s not how this works.
As my friend John Pavlovitz would say…
“Give some damn grace.”
We are all just trying to make it through our days.
To all those who feel the need to go out and win the world for Christ…good on you. I applaud you. Just don’t forget to give some damn grace. We don’t know where someone is at and they also may not even care to listen. Some may be strong in their beliefs of disbelief. We may be the only ones.
And that is perfectly fine.
“Breathe Deep the Breath of God” – The Lost Dogs – 1992
Politicians, morticians, Philistines, homophobes
Skinheads, Dead heads, tax evaders, street kids
Alcoholics, workaholics, wise guys, dim wits
Blue collars, white collars, war mongers, peace nicks
Breathe deep the Breath of God
Breathe deep the Breath of God
Suicidals, rock idols, shut-ins, drop outs
Friendless, homeless, penniless and depressed
Presidents, residents, foreigners and aliens
Dissidents, feminists, xenophobes and chauvinists
Evolutionists, creationists, perverts, slum lords
Dead-beats, athletes, Protestants and Catholics
Housewives, neophytes, pro-choice, pro-life
Misogynists, monogamists, philanthropists, blacks and whites
Police, obese, lawyers, and government
Sex offenders, tax collectors, war vets, rejects
Atheists, Scientists, racists, sadists
Photographers, biographers, artists, pornographers
Gays and lesbians, demagogues and thespians
The disabled, preachers, doctors and teachers
Meat eaters, wife beaters, judges and juries
Long hair, no hair, everybody everywhere!