Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Freak Out!

"Don't freak out." - guy sitting next to me in Starbucks

Here I am in one of my favorite destinations, my private home away from home, my beloved Starbucks.  It's the place where for $15 you might get full, or treat a friend, or enjoy free wifi.

As was sitting here, the guy beside me just related to me that he's a Christian (pointing to my bible - it's always a give-away and makes me feel proud to have it out in public - like I can withstand the persecution of being seen with a bible.  "Gasp, Phil's so brave!"  I have been known to turn it upside down.  "Gasp, Phil's an infidel!"), that he has spent most of his life reliving his old mistakes because he was sold the lie from the pit that life is about getting saved, feeling guilty over sin and trying harder.

He related all of this in a very direct fashion, the gist of which was that I don't need to freak out, which makes me feel a little uncomfortable sitting next to him right now.   He probably doesn't know that people looking into my soul sort of makes me freak out.

He continued to share, very briefly and tersely I might add (he's probably an angel and knows that I don't really don't want to talk right now) that life is about finding something God's doing and going there and doing it with him - you know, Rick Warren stuff.

It's true.  I'm not asked to live in a cycle of shame, remorse and guilt - and then repeat.  God doesn't want me living my life on my toes.  He probably wants me more like on the balls of my feet, or even better in the "athletic stance" they emphasized so much in high school phys ed.  God wants me firmly planted on his grace, free to engage, free to give and free to revel in his goodness.

But what's missing from what my friend said here beside me?  Not too much, because he said that we'll still sin, we'll still have to deal with real stuff, it's going to be hard and as Christians we've got to be in it for the long haul because God is.  But I guess what I sense missing is the possibility that we can take our repeated inability to not feel guilty, yes even that, to a God who forgives.  Even our inability to revel in God's goodness and his redemption we can take to God.

Of course I'm totally splitting hairs, and the guy beside me is balding, so it's probably not fair.  But hey, I like to write and we who like to write (nerds) have to be allowed to be in angst, that's one of the greatest things about writing: angst makes for good story-telling.

But with angst God brings refreshment.  I'm reminded of one of the verses I meditate on in Psalm 63 "God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you.  My soul thirsts for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water."

I guess the church needs "get er done" people like my friend here, who's probably running three businesses through his laptop as I drone on trying to figure out what to say on my blog, as well as people like me who when faced with something to do, are confused, scratch their head and wonder why all the directions are in Japanese.   Who speaks Japanese anyways?!

I think that's another reason God calls people in communities to follow him.  He knows that we need all types.  That the "get er done" type will remind the "freaking out" type to see his redemption, and the "freaking out" type will remind the "get er done" type not to walk up to complete strangers and pass out advice like it's the last day of the world.  No that's too mean.  No the "freaking out" type can help the "get er done" type to remember that there's tension in the Christian world, and that not everything is black and white.  Everything's more blue, yellow, green and redish in my opinion anyway.

Anyhow, even though Starbucks is pricey, some of the interaction you get here is priceless.  So here's my plug for my fake little home away from home.  Try it out sometime.  Most people freak out here anyways, as they've had to much caffeine.

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