Tuesday, July 11, 2006

When Worlds Collide

Dear God -- please don't let me make an ass of myself.

No, it's not a line from the Morning Prayer. Although maybe it should be.

I've been praying this a lot lately, as my circle of face-to-face friends has expanded to include people for whom the Church is not a warm and fuzzy place of refuge...who, frankly, probably wouldn't be caught dead inside the institutional Church.

And, ironically, those are the folks with whom I feel more at home than with the sort of chirpy, fresh-faced, Up-With-People churchy types who babble prooftexts and platitudes with the easy certitude of people whose faith seems disengaged from both their brains and from the experience of other human beings. Today I was wading through the very earnest, ignorant, florid Christianese Quatsch of a post on an online discussion forum, and I found myself thinking very uncharitable things: For God's sake, just SHUT UP. You're embarrassing the rest of us. (Which, of course, someone might be thinking now, reading this.)

But the fact remains that I'd rather pop a brewski with a jaded, Christianity-antagonistic hard case than share "quiet time" with a paragon of piety any day. The hard cases are generally fun, funny, generous, kind people; people I want to go out for a beer with. I know that my Christianity makes me an odd specimen in their circles. And I want to "represent" in a way that leaves them with an impression other than, Oh, Christ, not another one.

Dear God -- please don't let me make an ass of myself.

13 comments:

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

LC, what a hilarious post!

I am still so new to being a Christian that sometimes, I admit, I still act like the brewsky drinking, Sopranos watching Christianity-antagonist I used to be. And I know it is hard to tell from my blog (which is breathlessly earnest, I know) I am funny. People who know me in real life think I am hilarious. So, I guess I am right there with you sister. Pass a beer.

Actually, I like to tell myself that there is a bit of evangelism in my whooping it up with people. It tells them that you can still be fun and cool, even when you are a Jesus freak.

But, in my heart of hearts, I love the Up-With-People stuff, too.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Oh, PS:

You aren't alone. Jesus prefered the hard drinkers over the pious, too.

Derek the ├ćnglican said...

Most of my friends are the tattooed, pierced people who don't care much for organized anything. As far as I'm concerned, cracking a brew and discussing industrial *is* an act of evangelism. As far as I'm concenred the shiny happy take is often (as you notes) the fake take. Anyone who seriously engages their brain brain with their faith is gonna have some angst and disagreement. So you model it for them...

Derek the ├ćnglican said...

can't spell this early...

Rainbow Pastor said...

As Rachel noted, who did Jesus hang out with?

And I have found that by going to the bars (admittedly a focus of the GLBT commnity more than in most straight communities), I have shown that Christians/clergy don't have to be rigid, stiff, or preachy...or anti-fun. One of my predescessors (still can't spell it) here in River City made a point of visiting the bars every week or so.

Ministry and evangelism are what you make of them...

Christopher said...

I'm right there with you too, in fact I got so weirded out at being on the "sacred/secular" divide it caused me to go through a dark night of the soul. Things are better now, I've seen the dawn, and know that the middle place is best.
Peace,
Chris

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I've found that my German Lutheran Wisconsin background was beer drinking, very committed Christians. Then I moved to an area of the Scandanavian Lutherans. Apparently they take after the baptists when it comes to drinking. Or at least what they want people to see. I mean the baptists. But at the lutheran college I attended, these kids would drive many miles to go to a beer bar; they were of Scandinavian background. I wouldn't cross the street for a beer; they had been in the fridg when I was growing up so there was no attraction.

When I first went on Lutheran blogs, I went on many of THOSE blogs of the Lutherans who are sooooo strict about so many things. But boy, do they ever crow about drinking beer. go figure.

Non-Christians and children have antenna and radar atuned to something very special in the Christians they meet: That is the "hypocri-meter" of the Christian.

Well, it works both ways. My Lutheran friend, now an A.I.M., grew up Baptist. When she first attended the Lutheran Church, she was amazed at the strict adherence to liturgy, stoles, colors, traditions, robes, and all those trapings. But she tuned in on the way people spoke to each other, using the Lord's name in vain, for example. Sometimes we don't even know that our slips are showing.

Tom in Ontario said...

I meet the un-churched or the de-churched more when I walk my kids to school and pick them up again than in bars (I don't drink so I don't go there). One mom of a friend of my son's said I must be the "coolest" pastor she's ever met. And some of them are always surprised when they hear about the kinds of movies we like to watch or the music we listen to.

I wish people would realize we're regular folks but whose lives have been changed by the God's love. That's where I take some objection with your posting LC. I'm all for having a beer with those un/de-churched folks but I'd hope that we can witness, not just to the fact that we can be cool and we're not always "chirpy Up-With-People types," but that we can witness to the reason for and object of our faith. I want more folks to be the kinds of Christians we are and then maybe we won't have that "chirpy Up-With-People" reputation.

We've got good news to share don't we?

Ross said...

AMEN!

I just came back from the ELCA national youth gathering. My group is decidedly NOT the shiny happy Christian, and likes to make fun of those who are. Your post resonates with the experiences I've been having the last week. I invite you to read my post on it here:

http://daughtersofamos.blogspot.com/

The world needs more jaded Christians!

Sue said...

Amen and Amen!! Preach it girl! And pass the pitcher...

AC said...

it think it can be hard at times to break through the sterotypes that people have about certain religions and clergy.. All christians are just regular people who have decided to developed a relationship with God but sometimes people think that just because you are a Christian that you arent allowed to have fun or be happy..

Bad Alice said...

I hear ya. Boy, do I hear ya.

J.C. Fisher said...

I'm almost tempted to say "Duh", LC. ;-/

This is what gets me, when Fundies start mouthing off, on how we progressives/liberals/"reappraisers" are "sold out to The World/contemporary culture/the latest trends&fads".

Do these people honestly NOT realize just how much more Christ-like the typical "secular humanist", atheist, Joe/Jane...Merlot are? I'm not talking the great "secular saints", I'm talking about ANY SECULAR PERSON, at *random*, is more Christ-like than your typical Christian is. It's sad-sad-sad-sad-SAD.

[Beginning, I think, with the fact that the average secular person is not OBSESSING re who's going to Heaven/who's going to Hell, and how they can PROVE to you, via a magic formula, which is which...]