Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind...

I'll begin these series of thoughts by saying that I love Jesus. I try not to be religious and I don't claim to have all the answers, but I am sure that I am broken and need the one who made me, to bind me up and make me whole. It has little to do with religion any more...

The events prompting this post began with a knock on my door. Having seen the two men approaching, I didn't know what to expect... perhaps someone thinking our lawn looked like crap and need their professional touch, maybe some new area take out that was passing out coupons... no, no such luck . The first immediately introduced himself as the Pastor of a church in our area while his sidekick stood silently observing the Jedi ways of his Obi-wan Kenobi. Maintaining a friendly demeanor, I shared that I already had a church I called home. He then tilted his head and said "now does that go beyond being religion, because there are a lot of religious people who ... " He continued with a buffet of well placed Bible verses, sweetly disguised condemnations of my neighbors he'd spoken to and all while quoting Jesus own words about judging someones "fruit" and the ominous reality of hell.

I felt something happen inside of me... a combination of sorrow and fury. I knew that his intentions were good... for many years, so were mine. I was raised to always have an answer and verse to back it up, and getting someone "saved" was the whole point, whatever it took. I sensed a quiet prayer whispering inside of me to keep my own spirit from taking the soapbox and wielding my own light saber of truth on his religious ass. I felt a deep sorrow that the beautiful message of my Jesus who longs to brings hope and wholeness to our broken world, was once again being drowned out by the flood of religious brow beating, justified judgement and horrific scare tactics to usher someone into a religious experience. I listened and let him speak... interjecting when I found something we agreed on. Finally, as he found his way to the end of his bullet points, when I could have said, "thank you... and have a nice day". I didn't.

In a surprisingly gentle manner, I said something like "can I share a few thoughts with you?" The words that followed caught me off guard and are vague to me as I try to recall them. They included a plea to be gentle with people, as our best intentions and the way we cloak them can leave people feeling wounded... sometimes even farther from the One we want them to see. I encouraged them to remember that God is the only one who can truly see the heart of another and perhaps these assessments are best left to Him. He really doesn't need our help.

As they walked toward their church van bursting with more young Jedi's, I hoped. I hoped that God was bigger than the clubs they carried. I hoped that my own truths of how I see Jesus do not take the form of clubs as I converse with people who see things in a different light. I hoped that we will be as intentional about wanting God to change us daily as we are about wanting him to change others. I hoped that my neighbors weren't wounded by any of those clubs... and if you were, I'm sorry for that. I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind.