Friday, August 7, 2009

More Thoughts On The Past

In further thought of the last entry, I just had this thought: that the church and the Christian are losing their meaning. This saddens me.

Among my “friends” on facebook is someone I knew casually during my years at Woodbury [WU]. He is currently serving in the military, I’m not sure in what capacity but in our few FB chats he’s mentioned being out in the desert and such things.

I am not skilled in small talk or in conversation in general and it’s even worse over the internet. It’s a real problem for me when I can’t hear and see the person I’m talking to and vice versa. Even in person, at times I am at a loss for what that reaction in their countenance meant or in understanding the affect in their voice. All that said, I will try to participate in uncomfortable conversation.

Back to this old friend, he’s asked what have I been up to and my response, to him and others, has been that I’m working on my graduate degree and volunteering at church. He’s not the only one to do this, but he moves on to other subjects. Totally ignoring that I said I’m volunteering at church, he quickly works in some inappropriate jokes and/or to…placing my character in question. I’m not sure if I’m describing this correctly but I think you can get my meaning.

It used to be, most pronounced in high school, that people knew and understood that I am a Christian. So much so that friends, even Christian friends…kept me at arm’s length. I wasn’t invited to the parties. People didn’t have fun at the expense of my character. In many ways I wasn’t questioned much.

To emphasize this, two good friends, one of them a fellow Christian, wanted to trade stories of their experiences with relationships. They noticed I was sitting next to them and moved off, commenting that I was “too pure” to hear such talk. It hurt, but I could somewhat understand their meaning.

I’ve never been able to adequately describe what the difference was between me and my Christian friends, but apparently there was a difference. My Christian and non-Christian friends did a lot to keep my character good and in some ways I appreciate that.

To the friend from WU, I’ve stopped being open to chatting with him online, at least for now. I couldn’t turn the conversation back to who I am now. He’s always known me as a Christian, but I am a better Christian today than I was back then. He seemed to refuse to recognize or come to the understanding that I'm not going to engage in the conversation he wanted to have.

I don’t mean that I want to convert my friend right there in the conversation or that I only talk about God. I wasn’t going to talk about God right then. I’m not saying it’s necessarily wrong or an insult to question my character. However, I’m not going to diminish or insult the work God has already done in me up to this point and indulge in worldly chatter with my old friend. I couldn't get him to engage in a...clean conversation with me. Keep in mind also that I never really knew him well at all.

I think it also says something about the state of the character of the church and the Christian today. To say that I am a Christian doesn’t get much respect, isn’t given much thought, doesn’t mean much to the non-Christian acquaintance.

This is a reminder to me, that if I am to call myself a Christian, I need to BE a Christian. I can’t just say it and have my word taken for it. I need to live it, I need to show it. It needs to become intentional. What I mean is that I am a Christian in every aspect of my life: in my speech, in my actions, in my choice of clothing, in how I spend my time, etc. Not perfectly, I will make mistakes and poor choices, but am I allowing God to do this earthly refining process He is doing in me, or do I want my own way? Am I participating [helping] in that process or am I hindering the process? Am I focused on what God is doing or buying into what the world is doing?

I’m praying about this. I’m also praying that my friend will come to know God in a personal way. [By the way, it does bother me to not want to talk to someone or have them talk to me].

Mahalo for reading and as always, you are welcome to leave a comment.