Shut up, churchy

10 Oct

I went to Portland on Saturday for an annual party at the house of some friends. It was the first time that I tried to make a day trip out of a Portland visit, and it went pretty well – it takes a little more than three hours each way.

Horace Phair '06

Highlights of the day included a trip to a corn maze and a late lunch at the Delta Cafe. Man, the cafe is great. Good cornbread, good sweet tea, good chicken fried steak. They put pork in the vegetables, as God intended. (There is a vegetarian option.)

CORN MAZE RULES

So a couple of weeks beforehand, my buddy Steve revealed during an IM conversation that he’d recently abandoned his longtime atheism in favor of theism. We agreed that we should have a confab while we were at the upcoming party and compare notes re: God.

I tend not to get into my beliefs about Life, the Universe, and Everything at social gatherings. (Dinners with the gang from church being the obvious exception.) For the most part, my friends give no indication that they’d be delighted to engage in a conversation about God, and don’t want to force one on them. I certainly don’t want to be the guy who thinks that parties exist so he can talk about Jesus to a captive audience.

During the party Steve and I went out on the porch so we could talk about my experience as a Christian without harshing the party buzz. As we talked, we slowly gained an audience as people wandered out onto the porch. Then another partygoer asked my opinion of who is and is not a Christian, and why, and we got into that.

So I ended up discussing God, Jesus, and Christian theology with a group of secular progressives for around two hours. To my surprise, the world didn’t end. I know that we drove some people off the porch who’d just come out for fresh air or a smoke, but, y’know, it was either be on the porch or out back with the chickens.

It’s only recently that I’ve even been able to speak openly and confidently about who I am, what I believe, and how I live. It’s a tremendous relief. I know that much of it is pure crazy talk to a lot of folks – a stunned silence followed my admission that I believe in the Resurrection as fact – but I’ve come to a point in my life where I can live with that.

Part of it comes with age, and a stronger sense of self that accompanies it. Part of it comes from practice – from years of learning to walk and talk like a follower of Jesus. I have a long way to go, but maybe for a nine-year-old I’m not doing too badly.

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