In certain moments, I get to thinking about what Jesus would think of me, you know, whether He would like me or not. Usually it's when i'm doing something dumb, or when i'm alone for extended periods of time. Or when i'm at Waffle House. I've always thought Jesus and I would have the best conversations over a plate of hash browns, scattered, covered, and chunked. Or maybe He'd order them all-the-way..you never know with Jesus. But if you really want to know the truth, most of the time I have to be in pretty deep moods to think about Jesus at all. I'm not one of those people that just walks around thinking about Him all day. I wish I was, but i'm not, and there is no sense in lying about it. I think about Him when I see sunsets, especially when the sun shines through the trees. I think about Him at funerals and weddings, and I think about Him at night usually, especially when i'm outside and I can see the stars. Sometimes I think about Him at church, but a lot of times my mind wanders. Its better now, because I really like the church that I go to now. My pastor Dave tells funny stories and talks about Jesus in a way that makes me think they are best friends, like He's just one of the guys. Dave usually always says things that make me think about Jesus. But at other churches I've been to, I spent very little time thinking about Him. In the church services, my mind would wander to ladies hats, lunch, and watching people, and then at bible class I was too hyped up on the free doughnuts and soda to think about anything for longer than 3 seconds at a time. In elementary school, the teachers gave us worksheets and used flannel boards to tell us stories. And they usually bribed us into paying attention by rewarding us when we were good with animal crackers or goldfish. That worked for a little while, but as i got older, it got less and less effective.
I read this book one time, called Blue Like Jazz. In this book, Donald Miller says that Jesus is relational, and that knowing him and having a relationship with Him can't be simplified into formulas or bullet points. I believe this to be true as well, because the times I've felt God the most have been the times I'm with people, talking to them, and building relationships with them, not the times I've sat in church and filled in the sermon note blanks on the back of my bulletin. The way I see it, we probably shouldn't have to give out those little cheat sheets to keep adults engaged during sermons and to remind them of what we talked about in church this week. I know that in doing this pastors mean well and all, but i'm just saying, it seems kind of lame to me because that's what Mrs. Reeves did with us when I was in kindergarden. Anyway, this idea about Jesus being relational was bittersweet to me. I like it, because I am very much relational, and it would be easier for me if Jesus was too, but on the other hand, it pains me to think about how much time we (and I include myself in this) have wasted trying to use methods and formulas to get to God.
If you read the gospels, the books in the bible that talk the most about Jesus's life, you don't see anything about formulas or bulletins with fill-in blanks on the back. You see Jesus with his best friends traveling around the world, loving and talking to people, hanging out with the rough crowds, healing people and making them whole again. I like this Jesus, the one of the bible, the one that’s always doing things backwards. I think he probably hung out with messy folks like myself. I say all of this to come back to what I started off talking about-what Jesus would think of me. I never felt like the formula, bullet-point, fill-in-the-blank Jesus would like me very much, because I'm bad at bullet points and I can never remember them all or what order I need to do those things in order to become a better Christian. I always end up missing a few blanks, and then i'm completely lost when it comes using that to remember "How to Effectively Share Jesus with Your Friends" or "5 Steps to a Better Relationship with God". But from what i've read in the bible, I think that this Jesus, the real Jesus, would like me, very much in fact. That sounds like a really simple concept, to realize that Jesus likes me, but learning this was monumental for me. Once I realized this, I wanted to tell everyone. I want everyone to know this so they can stop feeling guilty if they miss the blanks on their bulletins.
I’m pretty serious about writing a book. It has always been a dream of mine, and lately i've been thinking about it more and more.
And this is why, to tell people things like this. I love writing and I want to help people know that Jesus likes them, and is closer than they think. I want to help people experience the love of Jesus in their day-to-day lives without bullet points and fill-in-the-blanks. I want to think about Jesus more, and I want to help other people do that as well. I have spent so much of my time trying to work God into a formula, and it never worked. What worked was talking to God, spending time with Him, trying to build a relationship with Him just like i would one of my friends here. I know that theology and doctrine, theories and fill-in-the-blank sermon notes have probably done a lot of people a lot of good, and I am glad. But i know also that those things have left a lot of people feeling empty handed, and I want those people to know that they are not alone.
So be on the lookout..maybe one of these days you'll see my name on the shelf at the bookstore. Maybe..