Funny story, its the first night of the connection group I’m attending “What Does God Require of Me?”. So we begin the usual go round of introductions but instead of a quick “Hi, I’m Chris, I’ve gone to New Walk for 5 years, my favorite intermediate direction is northwest (there is always a funky question in there) and I’m a teacher” people start giving their testimonies about how they came to Christ. Long epic testimonies. I am NOT READY for this. But I begin to think about it and was kinda prepared in what I was going to say but alas the others took too long (not their fault, there was a TON of people there). so I’m up next week. But I thought “this would make a good blog” and here we are.
I was in a similar situation once. I found someone on Christian Mingle. We hit it off, she’d call me and stuff. And when she called she would talk. My role was to listen and once in a while make a comment on what she was saying. So we set up the date (I had to plan it, that was her thing, guy plans date, not my thing but Applebee’s and a movie it was). So I go on this date and now I’m expected to talk. She expects me to be 50-50 in the conversation. I was not prepared for this. This is not one of the norms that had been established in our relationship up to this point. I did not practice this in preparation for our date. I practiced shutting up, noding knowingly and the occasional reflective comment. Needless to say it did not work out. Now you know why my hair is super short.
OK back to topic. 15 years old, Sophomore at Pasco High School (in that time 10th grade was when you went to the high school, not 9th). Got no friends. Except a Jesus freak named Jimmy. Cause Jimmy love Jesus and Jesus love everybody so Jimmy loved me. Socially awkward, 15 year old me. Thank you Jimmy! Thank You Jesus! Now I was a good Catholic boy. Hadn’t been to church in a while but was a good Catholic boy. I was so good as a little boy I would say mass in my room. Yeah, mass! I would go through the whole thing. I don’t know if I did the homily (sermon in Catholicese). So I was uneasy about going to actual church with Jimmy but I was there for events and such. Eventually I started going to actual church. I wasn’t going to Catholic church anymore so why not?
Now if you know anything about evangelical events & services (especially in the 80s and before) you know that there is always an altar call / invitation to meet Jesus or remeet Him if you’ve fallen off the wagon. I would always raise my hand and go down when these invitations were extended. But if I’m going down every time I’m not getting it, right? Jimmy made fun of me for this by the way. Cause that’s what friends do. So on my “Certain Day” I’m at home before going to night church. I’m alone cause my mom worked a second job. I’m munchin on some Pringles. Now keep in mind these were the days when the pop tops have metal edges. Can you guess what happened next? Yep, cut my finger. And its bleeding, and bleeding, and bleeding (in my wimpy mind). So I call my grandparents. My grandmother panics. The sight of her own blood, no biggie. The sight of my blood? PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! She says I should stay home after the bleeding stops.
OK this is the time when I should tell you I am stubborn. Very stubborn. Before I had a car Jimmy was going to take me to the Christian bookstore after school. I really wanted to go. I got sick, Really sick. As sick as I’ve ever been. Now I could have went home. Simple phone call to my grandmother (that’s how I spent most of my second half of days as a senior). But I would not. Cause I AM GOING to the Christian bookstore. Got some awesome music too.
Second example: I was off and I had gout. I’m sitting at home watching some MTV and a band called Sponge comes on with their alt hit “Plowed”. Well I must have this CD. And I must have it now. So I get in my car, drive to Lakeland. Barely able to walk I limp my way into Circuit City and buy my prized CD at a great price (it was OK, half the songs were good). So I limp out of the store and decide “I’m hungry”. So I get in my car, go to the mall, limp my way through the parking lot and get me some Chick-Fil-A. Then I decide … OK I’m done, time to go home.
Remember that date I mentioned at the beginning. Yeah, massive headache. You would think she would consider that but NOOOOOOOO! I mean sure I never mentioned it because real men play hurt and don’t cry about it but still, she should have considered the thing she never knew about. Really, some people.
Needless to say I make it to church. A Pentecostal church. Speaking in tongues is encouraged here. I wanted me some of that. So (again) I respond to the invite. I tell the preacher I want to speak in tongues. He asks if I’m saved. I look at him befuddled and he says “Get that man saved first!”. And so they prayed me through the “Sinner’s Prayer” and this time it took. I was now a child of God!
So now “Onward Christian Soldiers” plays in the background and my faith just grew and grew! Of course not. That was just the beginning. I feel like Peter Jackson thinking “Lets make The Hobbit into a movie”. Then he says “Too much stuff, lets make it two” then says “why not three”. I see at least 5 parts to this. Next week’s will be FUN! I don’t encourage anyone to go this route but many of you will laugh as I tell you my cautionary tale.
Until then, peace, love and unicorns! Yeah unicorns, why not!