Where is the Love?


(Image courtesy of catherine-robar.blogspot.com)

There can seem to be an abundance of love going around if you pay attention to t-shirts, buttons, and witty blogs.  People love to adorn themselves and their possessions with “I heart” this and that.  Some popular choices seem to be:

(Image courtesy of sillygleek.com)

(Image courtesy of alliphonewallpapers.com)

(Image courtesy of cafepress.com)

Those are all statement pieces, meant to show others, even random strangers, what we value.  I don’t see a lot of this:

(Image courtesy of stormgrounds.com)

I could wonder why, but I know that people are careful about displaying their love of Jesus.  Perhaps with good reason.  When you tell someone you’re a Christian, they can instantly start to act weird.  Maybe they fear you’re going to witness for over an hour to them with your “Come to Jesus” story.  Or you’ll take out your oversize, massive Bible and thump them over the head with it.  I sometimes have to assure people that I can actually carry on a conversation about something other than Jesus.  When my husband tells people I’m a pastor, he frequently gets questions about whether I’m a “Bible thumper” or a “Born Again.”

It begs the questions: can you be “normal” and be a Christian?  The simple answer is yes.  I am, in many ways, just like other people.  I watch popular television shows, go to the movies, eat at restaurants, and read books other than the Bible, inspirational books, and religious commentaries.  I have a vocabulary (a rather expansive one) that includes many words other than “God,” Jesus,” “Christian,” “Church,” and “saved.”  I don’t wear “witness wear” with the occasional disturbing picture of the crucified Christ.  I don’t have Christian pop music on my mp3 player, but I do have a lot of 80s, 90s, 2000s, and today. 

The more complicated and honest answer is that I’m not like everyone else.  I have made a decision to live my life by a more strict moral code and hold myself to a higher level of accountability by being a Christian.  I live a life that looks at more than whether something is legal, but whether God would approve when determining what to say, do, and think.  I voluntarily have given up certain things that secular culture dictates I strive for like more money, higher social status, and the materialistic accumulation of more stuff.  I spend a lot of my time being in relationship with God, other Christians, and people in general.  I do pray every day, and read scripture everyday, and I attend worship every Sunday.  I am living proof that you can be a Christian, be happy and fulfilled, and appear to be normal.  If what is normal is determined by the majority, then I am not normal because the vast majority of people I see and even those I know do not do all that I do.  Neither am I extraordinary as I know many who are better Christians that I. 

At some point Christians have to make a commitment to own their Christian identity or to hide it, unless it’s a socially acceptable occasion like a wedding, funeral, Christmas, or Easter.  We don’t have to wear a shirt emblazoned with “I Heart Jesus,” but we do have to be willing to say it when asked, or called upon by the Holy Spirit.  Better yet, we have to model it and live it with our words and our deeds.  It always seems to come back around to that, words and deeds.  That’s love.  It is expressed through words and deeds, actualized through them, and revealed to others that way.  Funny thing is that so is our faith, or lack there of.

What statement are you making?


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