Church Write-Up: Law, Keeping It Real, and Sharing One’s Faith

At church this morning, I felt a lot of law. You need to reconcile with people; otherwise, people who know you are a Christian may question Christianity when they see that you can’t get along with others. Do not let anger linger. You should value your relationship with a person above the hurt you suffered from him or her. Bless people by investing some time in making their day better. It is not enough not to curse; you treat people as worthless when you ignore them or shrug your shoulders at their problems.

Not sure what to say about this. I am introverted. I am somewhat of a loner. I am also done with trying to give fake, cheery “encouragement” to people.

At the same time, the service did remind me about how we hurt others. When one calls another “stupid,” that makes that other person feel stupid.

The Sunday school class was kind of a vacillation between law and grace. Something I appreciate about the group is that the people there are honest about their struggles. How do I deal with my temper? How can I deeply share my problems with people I neither know nor trust, after being burned so many times? How can I trust God with the future, when I have been diagnosed with PSP? You would be surprised by how lacking honesty is in a lot of Christian groups. They act as if it would be unthinkable for a Christian to feel anger, or to have sexual thoughts.

The teacher also said that, sometimes, we back off from discussing our faith with people because we feel we are in over our heads, since we are not a Bible wizard or theologian. But we can still share what we think God is doing in our own lives. I can identify with the “over your head” part. I know my Bible, but I am not sure if I could convince a skeptic to accept Christianity. Do I, therefore, have to study Christian apologetics to be prepared to give an answer? That seems so artificial! At the same time, I am hesitant to share what God is supposedly doing in my life, and the reason is that I am not dogmatic about what God is doing in my life. I remember sharing with an atheist professor about why I believe in God, and I said God provided me with an apartment when I could not find one. He was not impressed! It meant a lot to me, though, since, for months, I was wondering if I would find a place to live. I can say the same today about having a job: I consider that to be God’s provision, but I doubt I could convince a non-Christian of that.

I guess, if I were to try to defend my faith, I would draw some anecdotal “evidence” about the lives of others: that others testify to experiencing miracles. That convinces me that something is out there, even if it does not directly occur in my own life.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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