Tag: compassion

My Evangelical Friend, Why Don’t You Just Be Honest?

My Evangelical friend.

I’ve been where you are, walked the same journey. I know the Evangelical faith, system, and way of life. Twenty-two years as a pastor within it. Lived it. Breathed it. Gave my life to it.

Until I was honest, about the person I had become. Selfish, judgemental, manipulative, and deceived. Nothing like Jesus. Evangelicalism stole everything holy within me and poured gasoline on my vulnerabilities.

I know deep down inside, you feel it too. But quickly cover it over, lecture yourself with talking points, and frantically summon your heart back to going through the motions. Doing your best to convince yourself and those around you that you’re “sold out” to the “one true faith.”

Can we just be honest?

It’s not working, is it? Any of it. The only thing that gets better is our ability to fake it. Our best efforts at sin management eventually and always break down, sinning more not less. You know it’s true. We play the part and put on the appearances, but deep down we’re living a secret, hollow hell. Running ragged on a religious treadmill that goes nowhere, pretending it’s the best way, the highest truth, and the ultimate life.

Why don’t you just be honest?

It’s ok. Unwrap from the Evangelical burial clothes that mummify your soul. Listen to the cries of your heart to be free. There’s no shame or condemnation.

Deep down you know God is bigger than a Bible, more loving than a hell, and your understanding of truth is just as fallible and limited as the rest of us. You know you’re just as broken and fragile as any other. The Evangelical faith is but sinking sand disguised as a rock solid path. It’s a white-washed tomb that microwaves our lives—appearing done on the outside yet remaining frozen within.

Why don’t you just be honest?

You kinda enjoy the Evangelical feeling that you’re better than others, more favored, and uniquely in step with God. You like the rush of the “us” versus “them” battle. You find security and self-worth in having a spiritual justification to set yourself above and apart from others. It’s all a bit intoxicating, isn’t it? It’s ok to admit it. Been there, done that. It’s hard to resist.

So, why don’t you just be honest?

Deep down, there’s a question mark, a check in your spirit as to why you have to keep pre-qualifying people for love, put limits on compassion, be against so many good things, and do so much to appease and keep the gleam of what is supposed to be an all-loving and gracious God.

You wonder why you have to constantly turn off your brain to make sense of the teachings of your faith. You wonder what could possibly be so dangerous about giving value to science, critical thinking, equality, and education. You wonder how truthful and secure a faith can be if it needs to ban books, gain political power, and condemn those it deems to be the enemy in order to preserve and prosper its beliefs.

Why don’t you just be honest?

You look into the mirror. It’s hard to gaze at your reflection. You know your best efforts never seem to be enough. You do all the steps, prayer formulas, and spiritual disciplines, and it never adds up. You live with one eye open wondering if God sees through to the real you. If you could mess up too far. If your faith is strong enough, if you’re doing enough, if you’re genuine enough, if your good will ever be good enough.

Underneath your religious posturing and appearances of strength, you wonder if God really supports your gatekeeping, people condemning, and power grabbing. You wonder if you and your Christian friends would still be excited about being a Christian if you didn’t have anything to be against, and love was the only thing you were commanded and allowed to pursue. Deep down it’s all unraveling, isn’t it?

Why don’t you just be honest?

Because, if in doing so you fall away, most certainly the Spirit will draw you back and convict you of your waywardness.

But, if in doing so, you find yourself following Jesus out of Evangelicalism into freedom and life, you’ll be truly free and truly living… at last.

Either way, God’s got your back.

So, why don’t you just be honest?

.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

 

People who Adopt

Just days ago, we arrived home from China adopting our second little girl from Xiamen, China. We have two biological children, and now two, adopted special needs children.

During these two trips to China and our experience within the adoption community, we have grown to know many adoptive families and individuals.  People who know me, know that I like to study people. It’s a hard thing for me to turn off, even while spending 39 hours flying, two weeks traveling, and experiencing the whole emotional and physical process of international adoption.

Over the course of time, I have come to discern that there are several commonalities among people who adopt, many of which contradict myths about adoption.  Here is what I have observed…

People who adopt…

1) have a sense of calling to adopt. And most have a spiritual sense of calling from God.  They are not merely adopting to “have” a child, but believe God has given them a child through adoption. They don’t just believe that are saving a life, they believe that God has given them a life to take care of that is no different from a biological child. Yes, perhaps for those with an inability to have biological children, this reality was an influencing factor, but their sense of calling far exceeds any physical limitation’s influence to have children.

2) see adoption as a blessing.  For them, the emphasis is not on what they are doing or giving to their child, but rather a humble awareness of the blessing they have been given through the honor of adoption. They don’t see their adoptive children as a burden nor their adoption as a heroic act, but rather a gift from God. Do they believe or feel that’s it’s an easy endeavor? Not at all. People who adopt are often very realistic, but whatever challenges there are, the sense of being blessed through adoption always prevails.

3) are frugal with resources.  One might think that people who adopt, especially internationally must be loaded with cash. This is often not the case. Is adoption expensive? You bet! But many have worked very hard to raise the monies needed, whether through fundraising, savings, or connecting with benefactors. In fact, I have never met another adoptive family who was just wealthy and was simply adopting because they were financially able to do so. Many people wait months and years, working hard to exhaust every possible financial resource to make things happen, even going in dept to do so. People who adopt are normal looking and feel that adoption is “normal.” They are not fancy, but frugal.

4) have a deep sense of family. People who adopt see parenting as a top priority and even a calling. These are dedicated, family people. Not that people who don’t adopt, aren’t. But rather that people who adopt, are. I have never met an adoptive family what wasn’t all about being great parents and making family a top priority in their lives.

5) are compassionate and determined.  Adoption is not for the callous of heart nor the faint of heart. Adoption is hard work, requiring great determination, patience, and flexibility.  The adoptive families we have met are compassionate and determined to the highest degree. These are people who rarely take “no’ for an answer and would give their lives to defend, honor, and stand for their children, especially those who adopt special needs children.  They are strong people where strength is needed, and soft people, where softness is needed.  They see children through a lens some do not, and those that adopt special needs children do so out of a special compassion, calling, ability, and determination.  They do not see having this lens as being better than others, but rather as having a special responsibility.

6) are human. They cry, laugh, make mistakes, have personalities, and have hopes like everyone else. They are not perfect, nor declare so. They are not better than others, nor less than others. They are human, called and gifted for adoption. They inspire those around them, waving the banner and doing their part for the orphaned of our world.

We are deeply honored to know adoptive families and that God has called us to be one.

What would you add to this list? 

 

 

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