I do…

It is one of the most exciting days in your life. The ones you love and care about all come to experience it with you. The lights are set just perfect, the music is playing, the parents are crying and all the single people are secretly hating you because it is not them. You pray that someone drugged grandma so she wont say anything rude or offensive, but when it comes down to it, nothing matters. It is just you and that person. No one else seems to even be in the room. All focus is on what is about to happen…

One of my really good friends just recently got married. This is his second marriage. His first one was to his college sweet heart. They dated all four years, were the good Christian couple we could all look up to but after 8 years things came to an end. And it was a very ugly ending. No one knew why it happened but them two. He was mad at her for leaving, and said some not so great things about her. She was staying quiet. Was not saying a bad word about him or the marriage. She only said, “There are two sides to every story.” Of course our Christian friends all had an opinion. Not all of them had bad things to say, but you know how it is when things like this happens. Sadly the bad things blast out the good and that’s what they heard. Judgment from us. Sadly all of us.

His new marriage explains the two sides to every story. He is now married to one of their best friends while they were married. However this time he married another man. And yes, the scandal and two-sided talk started right away.  There was apparently no affair while he was married to his wife, but now that they were no longer married what was to stop him?

This is one of the hardest things for me to grasp in the Church. At a church I use to attend something happened that really made me question our motives as Christians. Now remember, I am no deep theologian, but what makes sense to me makes sense. And this did not.  There was a couple attending the church. Clearly madly in love. He was so respectful to her, you could tell they were crazy about each other. He would not go anywhere with another girl, never give another female a ride without his girlfriend. When asked about it, he said he respected his lady too much to be seen alone with another female. Men should not put themselves in that situation.  They bought a really nice house together in a nice little neighborhood. The church had just one issue…they were not married.

Now they never once claimed to be “followers” of Christ. They were attending church because that is what good families do. They just had no intention of actually getting married. They had seen it fail to many times. And they said it is a commitment to God and each other. If they were not true “Christians” why should they make that commitment to God. They wanted to keep seeking and seeing if it was right for them.  The Church did not agree.

The pastor who was a wonderful man kept pushing for it. Started out teasing but eventually you could tell that he was not kidding. So did other friends in the church. They had valid points, and I agree with most of everything. I believe you should be married if you are going to share a bed. I agree with that much.

Ok so now my friend who just married his partner. This church did NOT agree with this marriage. And I am going to be honest, I struggle hard with this as well. You can’t just shake your growing up teachings overnight. So know right now, I am NOT giving my opinion on anything in this area of what is right and what is sinful. I am just going to share where I think as a church we are once again idiots.

The guy made a valid point, “It is a commitment between God and each other.” So here two people who are NOT Christians (they admit to that) were being bugged and finally felt forced to get married. And they did. They got married, they had the church and the commitment to God. After it they both talked about how they only did it for their parents and the church. Nothing else changed, but they have the paper to show it.

How can we say marriage is right or wrong for anyone when we are not consistent? We are ok with two people who openly admit they are not Christians, but not two people of the same-sex. Neither are what the bible says is a marriage.  If we go by what we are telling one, shouldn’t it be the same for the other?

Again, I don’t know where I am on all this. I just know that if we are not consistent, we should not have an opinion. Black and white is what I was taught.

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Who wants to pray…?

Sitting in a room full of people. Friends you have had for many years. They know almost everything there is to know about you. Mind you everyone has their secrets, but for the most part you are an open book. You are surrounded by the ones you love, who are closest to you, yet you feel completely alone.

This happened just this weekend. Was with a great group of friends, some who I see daily, and some who I have not seen in years. All is going great. We are at a restaurant, we are about to eat, and someone asks, “Ok who wants to pray?”  Someone finally breaks the awkward silence and says the prayer. And that’s whey my skin starts to crawl. I get annoyed, kind of angry and then just start to smile and laugh to myself.

Maybe being a former youth pastor who was completely burnt out and pretty much having my entire faith in question I tend to be a little sensitive about things.  I tend to watch the person praying, or leading worship and then the people around them, see how they are responding as the prayer is being prayed. Let me just tell you quick how this prayer went….

“Father God thanks, thanks for being here with us father god, and father god help our conversation be glorifying to you father god. Father God thanks that we can get together and enjoy each other father god…..”

This went on for a while. But you get the idea….I am pretty sure Father God did too.

Of course being the rude person I am I thought it would be funny to start talking like he did while he prayed.  At first no one really picked up on what I was doing, but eventually I think my point was made. My conversations went something like this:

“Josh, how is your coke Josh. Josh did you have a nice evening with your family josh. Josh what did you get for a meal josh. Josh do you like your job josh. Josh, when are you going to realize that talking like this is annoying to everyone including God…Josh.”

Of course people laughed, I am sure some thought I was rude. But my point is this. Christians can be idiots. I am not surprised we have such a bad reputation.  And that’s when I feel the most alone. When I am surrounded by my Christian friends. Heres the thing. We talk to people daily. We dont talk to God the way we talk to our friends. I dont get that.

However, here is where things in my simple mind don’t make sense. I do have this small group of friends. Not sure how to even describe them. But they drink sometimes. They cuss a lot. They are not your typical “Christian.” Yet they claim to be Christians. And they show Christs love more than anyone I meet. In the churches eyes they are to worldly for the church but in the worlds eyes they are to religious for the world. They really don’t have a “place” that they belong. Yet I feel myself when I am with them. I can be me.