I see people like this who unabashedly put their faith out there into the world to move people and to make us think beyond the confines of our individual lives, beyond our day to day grinds, beyond the walls we have built around ourselves and the blinders we wear that make us feel safe...and I want that. I want to have that kind of unapologetic faith.
When I'm singing with my band at church, I do. I'm all in and feeling moved by the spirit and I'm unashamed and excited. But I think that's easy to do when you're surrounded by like-minded people who are right there with you.
It's in my everyday life where I hold back. Because I'm afraid.
Many of my friends and family don't believe in God. Some lean toward agnosticism, acknowledging some nameless power or force out there. Some are atheist and tout academia as their reason, though most have never studied the Bible. Many have past experiences and pains and hurts that have led to their disbelief. Some get derailed by the negative crazy "Christians" out there who spew hate and in no way want to be associated with them. Some just don't show much interest either way.
I get where they are all coming from. God knows my journey to find true faith was a long one and included many of those things. But I had people along the way to guide me. Family, books, theology classes, music, and friends.
Were my fear comes into play is how best to be a light to my friends without falling into the perception which "cussing Christians" like myself fight strongly against...that I'm an over the top extremist whose every waking breath is singularly focused on preaching to everyone I see.
I'm more fearful of that perception, of not fitting in maybe, than much else where my faith is concerned. And that's shameful.
I believe there is a balance to be struck here, as in all things. I don't believe in the extremist mentality. I don't want my friends to avoid speaking to me or sharing with me because they fear a sermon coming on. And I will never be that way.
But I do I do enough? Does even the smallest beam of God's light shine on them by the way I live and love? Are the small ways I do reach out in faith moving them, provoking them, making them think? Are they able to look past my cursing and vanity and controlling nature and laziness and short temper to see even a shred of God's grace and mercy in me?
I don't know. Sometimes I feel like it's a good balance. Sometimes I feel like it's an epic fail.
It reminds me of Peter refusing to acknowledge that he knew Jesus. He struggled with perception, with fitting in, mostly with fear. And I assume that many of us believers suffer the same affliction. I guess that puts me in good company. I just pray that when it comes down to the line, when I'm finished with this life and I stand there before God, I'll have overcome this struggle and have something much more than fear of perception to tell him about...I'll have stories about some friends I introduced to him.