Thursday, August 20, 2009
Love covers a multitude of sins…including dumbness!
Last month my Mom came all the way from New York to Minneapolis and spent 6 whole days with me! It was so wonderful to have her here. I wanted her to get a little glimpse of what our life here is like. It has been 2 years since her last visit and a lot has changed. I was glad she was going to be here for a Sunday because I wanted her to be able to go to church with us and meet some of our friends and community there. We can always count on Scott (the Pastor) to speak on issues that are relevant, yet subversive, to our culture. My husband and I absolutely love our church and we were excited to see what my Mom thought of it all. Corner Church is not your average church, although we are all average, common people coming together for community, relationship and Jesus. We meet at Corner Coffee downtown and, together, delve into the Bible and try and tackle a little bit of life over a good cup of joe. The morning my Mom came to visit, Scott had started a new series called “Dumb Christian.” He talked about how, as Christians, we have a lot of “knowledge” but not always a lot of “wisdom.” He talked about how sometimes the things we say and do can, for lack of a better word, make us look “dumb.” He wasn’t trying to turn us all into non offensive, people pleasers; rather he was challenging us to think about the way we handle the knowledge we have and the way we act and represent Jesus in our community. He talked about how people don’t usually ever have a problem with Jesus, rather it is Christians that cause them to reject Him.
That day we were driving home and I happened to see a young man and woman walking down the side walk. I live in Uptown. There are a lot of people walking a lot of places a lot of the time. However, these young people had captured my special attention. The boy had long dark hair that went a bit past his shoulders, a backwards black hat, cut off black shorts and a tan t-shirt with cut off sleeves with words written with a sharpie that read, “Jesus Sucks.” My heart sank as I read it. Anything irreverent, even a little bit (although that happened to be a lot), rubs against my soul like sand paper. I knew he had a story and would’ve loved to find out. We kept on driving. When we had arrived back to our place, I saw these two kids sitting on the Corner. I knew I had to go talk with them. I had to find out his story. I told my Mom to wait for me in front of my house. She isn’t accustomed to doing such random things. I walked to the corner where they were sitting. My first words to them were, “Hey do you have a minute?” The boy immediately responded, “Sure. As long as you don’t want to talk about Jesus.” I couldn’t believe it. There was nothing about me that was blatantly Christian. No Bible in hand; no Christian t-shirt; no “tract;” certainly no halo; what was the deal with that response? I responded, “Actually, I do.” I continued, “I saw you walking and noticed your shirt and I knew you must have a story and I am so intrigued. Please tell me.” The boy started, “Man! Christians are so dumb! Christianity is just the dumbest thing ever! They have done some of the stupidest things!” He began to tell me of all of his unfortunate experiences with church people, the way he had been disappointed, hurt and snubbed. I thought I was going to fall over. Only a few hours earlier we were in church, oddly enough, talking about this very same thing. He then said, “I would love to tell you more but I really have to pee.” I said, “Great! My place is right over there. Why don’t you come in and use our bathroom!” He responded, “Are you sure?” “Absolutely!” I introduced them to my Mom and we all went up to our apartment. As we walked in I said to him, “So it seems to me that you don’t so much have a problem with Christ as you do with Christians. You don’t think Jesus sucks, you think Christians suck.” He looked at me, and it was the most precious thing, with his eyes widened as if he had some epiphany, “Yeah! Yeah! You’re right!” I let them both use my bathroom and asked them if I could make them a sandwich or anything. They said water and fruit would be great. We talked briefly a bit more about Christianity and Jesus. I told him I was a Christian and that I loved Jesus. I said I was sorry for all the awful experiences he has had with Christians. I tried to explain that as much as any of us can love Jesus and strive to be like him, we are all human and incredibly flawed. I said when he finds himself disappointed with humanity to go to the source. He would surely never be disappointed with Jesus. As him and his friend made their way out of our house I urged him to reconsider the writing on his shirt. He assured me he would. I also asked him to stop by anytime; he assured me he would. I felt so privileged to be apart of that moment. When he left our house he seemed in some small way changed. I can’t describe it. His countenance just seemed different. It was wonderful. I love seeing love and care transform people’s reality and experience…even in some small way. The apostle Paul truly said it best, “Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13:8
You see, it wouldn’t have worked if I went up to him all defensive at his disdain for the name of my Lord. All I would have done is reiterate what he already thought if I demanded he change the writing on his shirt. For whatever reason he extended some trust to me. He came into our home and told me a little bit about himself. We were both changed and transformed in the process. He told me a little of his story and I told him a bit of mine. It was truly wonderful.
I hope to see you soon dear friend…may you sense the true love of Jesus and be able to genuinely experience his love through people and community.
Dear Jesus-Keep him and guard him. Direct his steps. Point him towards You. Amen.
Picture taken from zazzle.com