I am going to have my roof replaced starting Wednesday due to hail damage. For whatever reason, I have found talking with the sales rep for the roofing company to be a very enjoyable experience. How I ever thought I could or even should start talking to him about my religious beliefs totally astounds me. He was a complete stranger until last week and I have only seen him a total of three or four times. But I have been close to his last call of the day and he is beginning to unwind so he takes a little more time just to chat.
A couple of days ago he was here to measure my roof line. When he finished that, I just started chatting with him on non-business related topics like we had briefly done a couple of other times. Part of me says he’s just being a good salesman but another part says he just likes to talk. He and his wife parted ways in December and I think he gets a little lonely.
Anyway, how it came about I’ll never know but I started talking with him about my church and my beliefs. I don’t usually even share those topics with life long friends. It was crazy! I told him about growing up in a very conservative Lutheran church. When I was old enough, I learned I was a LUTHERAN. I referred to myself as a Lutheran and connected all of my religious beliefs with that name. We did not refer to ourselves as Christians. My close friend was CATHOLIC but my father didn’t forbid me totally from associating with her. It just wasn’t encouraged. She wasn’t referred to as a Christian either.
When I began dating my first fiance, I went with him to his church and became a Disciple of Christ. I married in that church. (Not to him) I was a Disciple. We moved to Connecticut for one year and back to Illinois for the next year and we were Congregationalists. After trying to find a fit in Texas, we settled in to attending the Cumberland-Presbyterian church. After the divorce I no longer felt welcome in the couples oriented small CP church so I tried the Methodists. The large church downtown had a huge singles group so I tried that. I immediately sensed I was in a meat market. There were too many women dominating the activities who were prime rib or T bone for me to be comfortable. I have felt my entire life that I’m more the equivalent of hamburger…still hot and juicy but not prime category.
I decided to go to the Methodist church close to my home. I attended church there but was not involved in any activities. After almost two years, I decided to join the Bible study group before church. I was at the same time dating a guy named Jim. The class was made up of people my age and I was welcomed since I brought Jim with me to the activities. It only took a little while for me to realize this was a COUPLES Bible study. When Jim and I broke up, I sensed from the other women that I was no longer as welcomed, especially if I chatted with any of the other men, the HUSBANDS. I was there long enough for my son to be confirmed. Other political things were happening in the church with which I couldn’t agree, and, at the same time, I was getting more and more unwell so I soon stopped going to church altogether. I was no longer a Methodist.
I became unchurched for twenty years. It was during that time that I realized there was a definite change in the climate and many more people were calling themselves Christians as opposed to the names of the founders of the churches they attended. There were now Christians everywhere. As I said earlier, when I talked about religion with people I would say I believed I was now very spiritual but did not consider myself religious.
Back to the present and my chat. This guy opened up about this theologian who lives not too far away who professes to anyone who will listen that he is a Christian and a SOUTHERN BAPTIST. I happen to know this gentleman although our paths have crossed only a few times. The roofer was sharing that this man USED him to meet with the insurance adjustor and for all the preliminary paper work and then the following day there was the sign of another roofer in his yard. That reminded me of the Christian contractor who did a miserable construction job in two of my rooms. I had hired him at that time because he was a Christian and I trusted him. I paid him before I discovered all the half-a&^ errors he made. He never did come back to correct the work.
It was then that I blurted out that I did not consider myself a Christian. He got a very startled look on his face. “I wouldn’t be able to say THAT,” he said. I explained that the older I got, the more dismayed I was with the people attending the churches I did and the protestors of several different causes who hold rallies in the name of Jesus to spew their hatred and condemnation. All of these people wear Tee shirts and wave banners, and bracelets and crosses and rings professing what good Christians they are.
My faith in the ONE GOD is as strong as it will ever be.That does not mean I do not believe in Christ. My faith in him has matured and gotten stronger in the past six years than at any other time in my life. I totally believe in following his teachings, but I have found myself feeling uncomfortable around the loudly proclaiming Christians whose actions I observe speak to me in volumes much louder than their words. I guess it would be the Christian thing to do to accept them and love them completely anyway. I’m still working on that.
My cousin was a devoted Joyce Meyer fan. I like to listen to Joyce occasionally as well. She really resonated with me when she said the following:
Sitting in church every Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.
I really am a Christian. I am just not religious. I just can’t call myself that if it means being like so many of the others who have come crawling out of the woodwork. Namaste. Attic Annie