In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion. ~Frederick Buechner
Two different times, couples we’ve been friends with have tried to convert us to a different brand of religion. It was a surreal experience both times.
They would invite us to go to church with them when there was a “revival” going on. They would invite us to dinner with another couple, and the other couple would happen to be their pastor who would ask us about our religious thoughts and beliefs, and then tell us why we were wrong. They would give us CDs of sermons they “thought we might be interested in” or suggest books we “might want to read.”
Both times, it came a total shock when it hit me, “Holy Crap! They’re trying to get us saved!” Charlie laughed at me, “Yes, dear. What did you think they were doing?”
How I have not accidentally ended up at an Amway meeting is a mystery to all of us.
I was a little bumfuzzled. It was odd to me that they thought we might need saving, beyond the notion that all people need such a thing. I tried not to be insulted. But I couldn’t help but wonder what we’d said or done to spur such behavior. Tracing it back now, both occurrences seem to have begun when they realized I had the audacity to believe that as a woman, I’m not second class.
Once I got over the shock of it, I was touched. Genuinely appreciative. Because even though I don’t follow their school of theology, this is the most important piece of their lives. They wanted to share it with us. They were trying to keep me and my big mouth from a disastrous outcome. That’s true love. It’s a bit awkward at times, but it’s as real as love gets.
To be clear, I have a strong faith. Some days, it’s all I have to keep me going. I’m down with Jesus. It’s just that my faith doesn’t always line up with other people’s religion. Compared to the people I grew up with and who raised me, I’ve gone round the bend. I’m pretty much ok with that.
My “conversion radar” is much more finely tuned these days. So much so, that I genuinely struggle when I hear people using the code words and jargon from my youth. If I hear certain kinds of phrases, I’m more likely than not to shut down and stop hearing anything you say.
I know this is my own personal bias to overcome. I judge people who I think are judgmental. The irony is not lost on me. I’m not holier than them. I’m just more annoyed. I’m working on it.
I write all of that as introduction to my friend Liz‘s new book. She’s releasing When the Cheese Slides Off Your Cracker a chapter at a time on her blog. Y’all, it’s really good. I mean, the kind of good that I’m stalking her blog for each new chapter.
In it, she writes about some God stuff. Right off the bat, she tells about a time when God talked to her. Really. I know from personal experience that can be difficult digest. But trust me on this, it’s not like you’ve heard it before.
First, she’s absolutely hilarious. Second, it’s genuine. It’s not full of phrases that are impossible to decipher and words that are all English but sound more like self-help phrases all strung together. It’s just her story: her real-life, difficult, funny, amazing story. Third, and most importantly, I promise she’s not going to try and convert you.
So. Go read Liz’s book. Because if you don’t then you don’t get to complain about who gets elected. (Sorry, wrong rant.)