I’ve had several back-to-back conversations within the past three weeks, with people who think “they’re doing it wrong.” This faith, thing. Like they had it all figured out and then something changed. Or they’ve had it figured out for so long, they’re afraid it might change. And it got me thinking…
I remember the first time I didn’t fit in.
It was a “Christian Weekend” at Silver Dollar City. Which means, they checked your ID and if it had the shadow of a cross falling lightly on the front of it, you were allowed in for the low, low price of $68.
“Christian weekend” at Silver Dollar City looked something like this: lots of edgy Christian t-shirts and local praise bands giddly opening up for Michael W. Smith, smack dab in the middle of August, in Southern Missouri. Your imagination can not do it justice. The phrase “washed in the blood of the lamb” was so common, I’m pretty sure the trees still speak of those brutal and bloody times, twenty-five years later.
I remember sitting in a tiny sliver of shade on the top bleacher of the bandstand – my best friend sitting next to me – wondering why I didn’t just love it. Why my heart didn’t swell when the cross, draped in an American flag, was lifted – as if by magic – to the center of the stage. Why cheers and hallelujahs didn’t find their way to my lips, as the man holding the mic, “praised Jesus” and gave a great big shout-out to FatherGod, as if it was a single word. Why the strains of Michael W. Smith didn’t plant themselves firmly in my heart. What was wrong with me?
Years later and therefore considerably more sophisticated (of course), events like those, would lead me to roll my eyes and adopt an air of disdain. I’d snicker over bad theology and keep tabs on the number of times a worship leader called God by a masculine pronoun. I’d punch-bug my then boyfriend, whenever someone expected me to raise my “Jesus antenna.”
Somewhere between wondering-why-I-don’t-love-Jesus-the-way-everyone-else-does and rolling-my-eyes-at-the-mere-mention-of-crucifixion, I found my way.
I found my way to a God that’s bigger than country, bigger than a pronoun, and even bigger than the cross.
And it changes.
Don’t let anyone tell you your journey is wrong. (Unless of course, it is. Like, your journey is telling you to kill people in the name of Jesus or write a praise song that repeats the same line approximately 1,000 times. Then, let someone tell you you’re wrong.) But otherwise…
The path you are on…the truth you can articulate…the promise you can understand…and all the hand-raisin’, Jesus-praisin’ you can muster…is just right.
But, this is my hope: If your theology leads you to blood, I hope you can see new life too. If you name God as Father each and every time you pray, I hope someone shows you a God that can be feminine as well. I hope if sin is the only language you know how to speak, I hope you can glimpse grace somewhere on the way, too. And if the songs of Michael W. Smith are your jam…well, I can’t help you there. 😉
I guess I just want you to know: It’s okay, to not have it all figured out. I’m pretty confident that Gods got this…