Saturday night I sat in a local up-scale bar with friends. We discussed politics and religion over Moscow Mules in glinting brass mugs.
It’s no secret to any of my friends that I am a Christian. It’s no secret that I have many frustrations with the church, but in the end, I am convicted to believe in the saving God. However, conversations about faith or religion are not avoided with me or anyone in the group; they know where I stand and there’s no attempt to convince me otherwise. There’s also no attempt on my part to convert them to Christianity. We reach a mutual understanding of each other’s positions, and part ways feeling (if nothing else) intellectually stimulated.
Growing up in the evangelical church, this might feel… wrong. It sounds wrong, to some. In fact, it was this very notion, this behavior, that caused me to lose my VIP status in my church.
If your faith isn’t compelling you to testify to others, you should take a closer look at your faith.
How much do you have to hate the other person to not share the Gospel with them?
These were two things that I was taught over and over again growing up, and they still fill me with anxiety. I’m not particularly compelled, but the suggestion that I’m damning others by my inaction is incredibly stressful.
The thing is though… I have no power to save anyone.
Read it again. I have no power to save anyone. I cannot offer anyone heavenly grace. I cannot rescue anyone from the grips of sin. I cannot save anyone.
Well, yes, my evangelicals would say, yes I know that. But I can plant the seeds. That’s our job.
You are so right. That’s why I practice a slowburn evangelicalism.
In the world that I grew up in, many people already know the basic points of the Gospel. They know the points on the Bible tracts. There’s very little sense in talking at people about this.
In college, my roommate was a self-proclaimed staunch atheist. She came from a Catholic background and had become disillusioned by the intolerance and hypocrisy shown in the church.
So have I, I said. We have that in common.
Over the next 4 years of close friendship, we have talked about frustrations with the church, our own beliefs, our doubts, our hangups. I tell her what I love about Church and she encourages me. We talk about the universe, science, how vast and crazy and specific this world is and how can it be an accident? She agrees.
Four years, this takes. Six years of friendship, and four years of discussions. Leading up to Moscow Mules, in a bar at my city.
I’m an agnostic, she says. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s something.
This is what it means, my friends. This is what I yearned for in every conversation I had with her on faith. I saw her heart, which had been so hardened, so bitter, open to me. I tried to show her every kindness that I believed in, instill upon her every ounce of grace I had been given. And I passed along all of the unconditional love I could muster. And I praised my God for giving me this human, this friendship, the universe, and the cool night air.
I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s something.