Tag Archives: conversation

Faces of God

I met with a Catholic priest this last week.
And for that to mean anything to you, you have to understand that while I have had a few brushes with Catholics (babysitting, amazing passionate roommates in college, awesome friends) I have never had a theological conversation with a Catholic priest.  I grew up in a Christian home, sure, but as I grew up my family always attended non-denominational churches…except for Christmas and Easter when we went to the Lutheran church my grandparents attended.  I don’t think I was ever of the opinion that Catholics aren’t Christians – like some people who grew up as I did.   I mainly knew Catholics went to “mass” instead of church, prayed to Mary, and had pictures of people with shiny, golden halos.  Obviously, I was rather uneducated.
And so, as an adult, to hear another member of the faith’s view of God, eternal life, and life in general, was pretty eye-opening for me.  To be taught a very little bit about how a Catholic views life and redemption and sins, was intriguing, encouraging, challenging.  The things that caught my attention most though, were the reverence and total commitment.  The wonderful man I spoke to had such a very different view of God.  This man was definitely committed to God; I sincerely doubt that he was in it for the money, fame, or glory (because, you know, there is so much money, fame or glory in true ministry).  There was just something … deep and solid about him.  And while I did not agree with all of the theological points he covered with me, I still walked away with a greater understanding and view of who God is.
books                I think this is important, and I think we do not do it enough.  We read books whose message we agree with.  We are friends with those who think as we do.  How often do we actually engaged in conversation someone, who while having the same fundamental beliefs as us, disagrees with our view of God.  How much of God are we missing out on because we think we understand Him completely and correctly, that we have no room for new ideas, or different sides of Him that we have never engaged?
For instance, I know that each of my friends brings out different parts of my personality.   While my foundational character never changes, the kids I work with bring out the goofy in me that some of my “grown-up” friends never see.  Not because I’m trying to hide the goofy side of me, but simply because nothing in their personality calls out the goofy in me.
I think the same is true of God.  It is imperative that YOU encounter Him in your life, engage Him with everything you are.  But also talk to other people about God – especially those you don’t see eye-to-eye with.  Learn how they experience God, learn what He has done for them, and HOW.
I often am a victim of my own experiences.  In that, because God worked one way with me, I expect Him to work the same way with everyone else.  But that’s not how God works.   He works differently through everyone.
And so, figure out how God works in someone else.  Talk to them about how they seem Him, and why.
Learn to see the different sides of God.  Learn to know God better, that you might love God better.

Now, it needs to be said while I am all for engaging different ideas, I in no way believe the whole “everyone gets to god in their own way, there are many paths, all religions talk about the same God” thing.  Nope.  None of that.  The only way to God is through Jesus.  He said so; incredibly clearly (John 14:6).  However, once you have the crucifixion, resurrection, and salvation as the foundation of your theology, there are many other less-important ideas that need to be discussed. 

Now, THAT being said, I am NOT saying, “Never talk to someone of a different religion”, because that’s not the case either.  Definitely talk to them.  Be friends with them.  We need that sort of friendship, and they do too.  

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Make or Break

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Relationships make or break life.  I’m serious.

Think about it.  In elementary school – what ruined your day?  It wasn’t if you got an “F” on the spelling test (if it was, your momma and I should have a talk).  It wasn’t if hot lunch was taquitos instead of the French Toast that was on the menu.  It was if you and your friends had problems. (Okay, so keep in mind I’m speaking from a girl’s point of view.  I have no idea about boys.  It might have been earth shattering if you didn’t get to kick the ball at recess if you’re a boy.)  But if you’re a girl, than you know that the worst thing that could happen was getting in a fight with your friend group.  You would go home in tears and even Mom’s pudding wouldn’t make things better.  The same was true of middle school, except the fights got nastier and lasted longer and were generally more public…in a quiet, whispery sort of way.  High school pretty much was a repeat of middle school, except there was less fighting (hopefully).  But, in high school, there was the additional stress of “boyfriend”.  Or lack of “boyfriend”.

And then there’s college.  Your roommate (or roommates) make or break college.  If you and your roommate get along, if you guys know how to talk stuff out, and actually deal, and know how to give each other space, but also how to get into each other’s space when needed, your year will be awesome.  I don’t care if you have the worst classes ever.  You like your roommate, you two click, your year will be good.  On the flip side, if you have the best classes ever, and even make some good friends, but don’t get along with your roommate, your year will be incredibly hard. In.cred.ib.ly. Holding on by the white of your knuckles hard.

And then you get to  “adult” life and relationships take a different tone.  You have work relationships.  And church relationships.  And friendships that have miraculously hung on through the years from college or earlier.  And maybe, even, a husband (or wife).  And those relationships are crazy important too.  Your relationships will make life fun and wonderful, or incredibly stressful and hard.

So, all that to say, take care of your relationships.  Whether they’re romantic or really deep friendships , or even family – take care of them.  Life is SO much more enjoyable when things are going smooth-ish. (even good relationships have bumps – and they should!  Otherwise they don’t grow!)

So, today, on a day when stores are packed with haggard-looking men desperate for the last rose left on the shelf, and the slightly beaten-up box of chocolates, maybe broaden the subject a bit.  Sure, romantic love is fun, and necessary, and it’s not the worst idea in the world to have a day reminding us of that.  BUT, it’s also a good day to look around at the relationships of all types that you have in your life and appreciate them…and maybe polish them up a bit.

Send your friend a text telling them what a great friend they are.  Give your mom (and maybe even your brother) a hug.  Spend a few minutes in quiet, listening to whatever it is God’s been trying to say to you for the last week that you’ve been too busy to listen to.  Buy that single, red rose for the one your heart adores.  Take the time to have hard conversations, and to say you’re sorry, and to just listen.

Relationships make or break your life.  So take the time to take care of them.

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