For this edition of Friend Friday, Julie Salva is joining us. She is a She Speaks graduate. I am sure that you will enjoy her post.
The other night, Mark and I went out to dinner with some friends. Living in Nashville, we have our fair share of “trendy” restaurants. Most of the time, I’m about as trendy as Longhorn, but we decided to have a special night out.
One pair of skinny jeans with a sparkly shirt and big hair (that took 20 minutes to fix but was supposed to look like it “just happened) later…..we arrived at The Boundr’y.
You know a restaurant is trendy when they spell the word weird.
And when your appetizer is smoked duck flatbread.
And when you order brussel sprouts because you think if they aren’t good here, they will never be good. (Friends, you can’t dress up a brussel sprout. Tweet that.)
So, we’re talking, laughing, having a great time, and our food arrives. We did what we normally do….we prayed before we ate. Just so you know, it wasn’t even a “Jesus change the world” prayer….just a “bless my brussel sprouts” prayer.
Nonetheless, as I look up, I see several couples sitting around us, staring….and not in a curious way.
In a smirking way. In a “oh no….it’s some of them” kind of way. In a “those people are crazy” way. In a “…..please, not one of them near my trendy table in the trendy restaurant” way.
And you know what? That’s ok. I get that. I may even be brave enough to say I understand it.
Because of this.
I’ve been hearing the word, “Christian”, used alot lately. It seems like not a day goes by
when I don’t hear, read, or see something about “Christians”. That’s all good…and in fact, I consider myself a Christian. That being said, I’m not really sure I recognize the kind of Christian I’m hearing about.
The intolerant kind.
The judgemental kind.
The never have fun kind.
The religious kind.
The angry kind.
The superior kind.
So….friends at Boundr’y….I think I understand the looks. In fact, I’d probably stare too, if that’s what I thought Christians were.
But here’s the thing.
I’m a Christian. And that’s not me.
See, the Christian I am believes in one thing. And it’s not what the religious right tells me, it’s not how the media paints me, and it’s not something that comes from living in a red state.
The one thing I believe in……Jesus.
And not the “….he sure was a good guy…” Jesus. Not the “…he was a prophet…” Jesus.
I believe He’s the Son of God. I believe He died and rose again three days later. I believe He did it because He loves me….and you.
Plain and simple…..I’m all in.
And…..he has changed everything about me.
He has taught me to love people as they are.
He has taught me that I am more than my screwups…..which are many.
He has taught me compassion for others.
He has taught me forgiveness.
He has taught me humility.
He has taught me that He is so much more than a belief system. Than a church. Than just following the rules. Than being good enough. Than acting a certain way.
He knows me inside and out…..the good, the bad, and the REALLY ugly.
And He loves me anyway.
You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to get me (which may well be impossible). You surely don’t have to understand. Although I wish you would.
Paul wrote this in 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (NLT)…
“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ – and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life”.
I think Paul and I could be friends.
So, the kind of Christian I am is flawed, and sometimes a really big mess. Certainly no better than anyone else, and a strong argument could be made that many times, I’m worse. I’m a sinner…..and even though my sins may look different than yours, they are exactly the same.
The kind of Christian I am reads People magazine, likes Kid Rock music, big Broadway show tunes AND Chris Tomlin, listens to conversations happening around her at Panera, loves to laugh, is sarcastic to a fault, and can be found watching Downton Abbey on Sunday night, and The Black List on Monday night.
But the kind of Christian I am is running hard after Jesus anyway. Because He loves me. And I love Him back.
He’s taught me what real love looks like…..and Boundr’y friends…..it’s not sharing your smoked duck flatbread and brussel sprouts.
Although I’m happy to offer you some.