To My Friends Who Don’t Believe in Jesus

More than once in my short life I have found friends in the most unlikely of places. It was rarely in the church I found friends for life, although there  was one whom I love dearly to this day. Rather, I found friends on the weekend nights of showing up places where I knew no one. I founds friends anywhere from the corners of local music shows to exhaustive of hours of the night in my college library. It’s amazing who you’ll vent to under the excrutiating pain of procrastination. And, with my failure to write down anything in school I always befriended classmates and collegues, I would soon need them. I’ve never gone out of my way to be friends with “Christians”. Now, undoubtedly I have been great friends with those who also believe in Jesus Christ, but it has never been a credential. That sounds ridiculosu doesn’t it? A friendship credential? Perhaps, but it exists in the confines of religous thinking. It’s an idea that has been bred by some ideological thought process that never existed in the mind of Christ. To befriend Jesus you don’t have to “Be Christian” first, so to be my friend, what you believe is not my concern. I do believe Jesus Christ is savior. I believe that my life will always require his grace and my humility. I am not brainwashed, religious, or limited. I am educated, spiritual, and creative. If you have been, are, or will be a friend to me here is my promise to you should we differ in our spiritual beliefs.

 

  • You are and always will be respected for what you believe
  • You are going to be loved by me, and it will likely be inspired by the love Christ has shown me. I hope you can accept my love even if you unfamiliar with it’s source.
  • You will hear me say and do things that “those other christians” don’t. Here’s the thing: I won’t be different in front of different people. It is that simple.
  • You should not hesitate to ask me about my beliefs or question them. I have asked myself many of the questions you will ask and if I don’t know the answer I’m not going to throw a scripture at you.
  • Yes, I’m aware there is some terrible shit in the Bible. I don’t know yet if I believe every word on every page. I believe discernment is a huge missing piece of emphasis in the representation of being Christ-Like. I also believe the Bible represents the imperfections and a raw yet unruly time in history, as are all times in our history.
  • I won’t try to save you. I think to say “I believe Jesus is my savior” one minute and ask you to say the same the next minute is extremely conflictive. If you want to know about the sources of my spirituality I will share them with you in all their vulnerabilities and human imperfections. I will not however think so highly of myself to the extent that I could possibly “save” or “convert” you to another place of spirituality.
  • If you ask me about church you will have a very long conversation on your hands.
  • I don’t sit around and sing “This Little Light of Mine” on Sundays. I find spirituality and the presence of God throughout the week. Sometimes thats in listening to very secular music, sometimes it’s in writing, photography, long drives, or a good book.
  • I believe there is an incredible amount of influence in the church that doesn’t belong there. I believe community is the most important aspect of our lives and we should strive to not have to make it looks so pretty. There is definitely an institutionalized aspect to some churches, but, in the defense of the ones that are great- well, they’re just that, they’re great. They are run by pastors who exhaust themselves, congregations who show love to their communities, tithes are modest but consistent, that money stretches from Keokuk to Cambodia, and no one plays around with the pulpit. Good churches do exist and they do more good than you see sometimes. Don’t discount every one as the same. I’m reminding myself this as much as I am saying it to you.
  • When I say it’s about relationship not religion I mean it. Christians can call themselves a lot of things but you’ll know when you meet someone who stands confidently without labels. Someone who simply tells you, Jesus is my dude. We can leave it at that or we can talk about it.
  • I want to hear about what you believe and why. No, not just to humor you. I genuinely want to know.
  • I won’t tell you I’m right. I will tell you I’ve accepted this source of spirituality  partially as a result of experience, but mostly in faith.
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