I have no idea why I have days in which my brain is so full of contradictions. One minute I’m completely pumped about church and the hope it can bring, and the next completely resigned to the fact that nothing is happening, nothing matters and that maybe even The Great Evan Drisner has been eating out of the trough without asking what am I eating and why are we eating out this particular one.
Yesterday, after taking in what was spoken about at church on Saturday I found myself questioning why I believe/even care about my faith. Our Church gets together on Saturday night, and we are currently going through “Confession’s of a Pastor”. I read this book last year (not literally last year as in 365 days, but as in late 2009 you literalists) and it really rocked my world. I found myself soaking up every word. Did I relate to everything? No, but what I couldn’t relate to literally, (this is hilarious that the word literal has come up as I’ve been reading a debate on facebook from some of our church people about the Bible being literal) the principle was still relatable. I.E. Chapter on having to work hard at being sexually pure. I have never struggled with sex and porn. Have I seen it, yes, but was I an addict, or did I find myself leaning on it no! I was to busy being stoned. So the principle of working hard at staying pure was relatable to me in my journey with drugs.
Anyway, as our Pastor, my dad was talking about it he talked about the world not wanting us to be “real” but for us to be “really changed.” At first I completely disagreed with the statement. Then I quickly turned to this is ridiculous. Which slowly turned into why do I go to church? It’s crazy how my brain works. When I read it typed out I think, “Ya, that’s logical”. 🙂
A week or so earlier I had lunch with someone that I respect very much. This person happens to be in the beginning stages of faith. I’ve seen the transition from no faith to seeing potential. He told me that what changed his view was not a bible thumping Christian, that goes to every event and knows everything, but me, a regular guy that has a faith that is rooted into his life. In his eyes I was real, and he could at least be vulnerable because I was vulnerable to him.
Here’s the thing. I don’t necessarily think that “being real” is actually what he meant. I think what he was attracted to was my authenticity. I believe Jesus died for my sins most days, but am honest about my journey, my struggles and my failures. To him I was no different then him, but I had a peace he wasn’t sure he had.
We often use being “real” as an excuse to continue compromising. I know I did. “Oh, I just want to be myself, be me, be real”. As if me had anything to do with my actions or lifestyle. That is a pretty limited me if that is the case. On the other hand though I’m not sure the world needs to see that we are “really changed”. Let me think through this while I’m typing.
You see, I’m not really changed. At first glance of that statement I was discouraged. I know my faults, I know that I have continued thorns in my flesh. I have been for the most part fairly open about these struggles and failures to my closest friends. I’m as open about these to the people I work with and chat with. See they see me as a phenomenon. I don’t think I’m exaggerating either. A friend of ours was recently at a meeting in which they discussed the many seeming differences I have. Tattoo’s, works at a church, drinks beer with them, yet is going to be ordained, blind but drives, not educated but in a high position in my firm, wears a suit to meetings but sings in a band. To them I am completely unorthodoxed and I believe one person in the meeting said he can’t figure me out. Yet, I get along great with him and I believe he has warmed up to me substantially in the last few months giving me an opportunity to share about what’s very important to me. My Faith.
As I said, I’m not really changed. As I drove home today I related to a song that was popular when I was in high school. The words went something like this. “I’m a sinner, I’m a saint.” In saying this, I’m changing, and I realize that God has really been working in my spirit over the past few years. However, I believe it’s not the result that is important to people, but the ability to be authentic that they are attracted too.
So, as I thought about this my heart was so confused. By bed time last night, probably in a slight state of depression from the heart breaking lose Brodeur gave Canada I wondered what it would be like to test this “changed” idea. I thought, what if I dedicated one year to being without God. What would that be like? Would it answer my questions? Would I come out of the end of it thinking I’ve wasted the last 30 years? What could I do with all the money Danielle and I give away? What would 1 year without God look like. I wouldn’t jump into it saying here I come sin. I would simply cut out church, tithing, and anything Christian oriented. Would my life change for the negative?
See, if the world wants me to be changed, what have I changed from? However if the world wants me, then they’ll get a guy that’s not changed, but changing. If you know me, you know I am authentic. I might not give you all the details but you will know what’s on my mind, what’s in my heart and what I stand for. Am I perfect? No. Would my choices be accepted by the church all of the time? I doubt it.
The real question I think that is brought out by this idea of “changed vs real” is, what is attractive? Is it about people seeing a change or is it about relationship? I believe (through experience and biblically) that what is attractive to people is relationship. Don’t share your faith (unless you really feel lead by the Holy Spirit, and please make sure) with anyone unless you’ve built an honest, sincere relationship with them. It’s strange how many doors a good relationship can open. Don’t stress about being changed for the world, stress about loving the world!
1 year without God hey. It honestly scares me a bit as I would have no clue what that means. I’ve never experienced a time in which God was not very involved in the decisions of my family and my own. I think I’ll stick to God for now, but I really really want to make sure I’m sticking to God properly. That I’m not becoming indifferent, and that I’m seeking His Kingdom first.
Love God and your Neighbours friends.