Updated on January 13, 2018
I met a nihilist today. Well, word press knows what that word is but I have never heard that word before my life.
It was fascinating to me to hear about something different than atheism. My brain cannot wrap around how someone from a religious background (and a pastor’s kid) can get to a point where he believes in nothing. He believes you live, you die, that’s it. It feels so hopeless.
He was just one more example of how we as a church have failed people miserably.
The world is so broken.
I talked to this young man for just a few minutes. But I cannot get his words out of my head. He loved God and the church (although he didn’t know what religion he grew up in). (Which is neither here nor there. It’s either Jesus or it’s not. Religion just muddies the conversation.)
He said when he was in high school and trying to figure out what he believed in what he wanted to do as an adult, the lead pastor of the church they attended was caught up in a “swingers ring” and it was crazy. The church failed this young man. In all of our religious arrogance, we forgot to love people and to show them who Jesus really was and what Jesus really thought.
I believe Jesus would’ve been hanging out in the tattoo parlor with me and would have been fascinated with this young man story but brokenhearted for what he had to say.
This is the root of the deconstruction of my faith.
I wonder how Jesus could love people so completely and we (church) could show it so poorly. So the deconstruction of my faith started with trying to figure out exactly who this Jesus figure was.
I believe in Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong this deconstruction of my faith really has nothing to do with who Jesus is to me. (So maybe deconstruction of faith is not the right terminology.) But I do know that we’re doing something wrong as a church.
I don’t want to be involved in whatever this man-made religion and rule led, performance based church that we created. I don’t want to be labeled and put in a box of people that really do a really good job going to church, reading their Bible and dressing well on Sundays. I don’t want to have anything to do with making sure that my faith is all about checking boxes and all about making sure that I’m doing what I’m “supposed” to do.
I want my faith to be an outpouring of who the person of Jesus actually was. When Jesus was here on earth, he fought with religious people. The people that he was angry with and followed tables at were religious people. Jesus enjoyed walking around and making jokes and experiencing creation.
He was the perfect human. After Adam and Eve, sin entered the world. And then nothing was right. Sin messed everything up. And then Jesus came to earth perfect. He was perfection. He laughed with his disciples. And he got angry at religious people that made up stuff to make themselves look better. He drank wine with people that the religious elite didn’t want to have anything to do with.
That’s the Jesus that I want to serve.
The Jesus that likes to sit back, tell a good joke and enjoy people. The Jesus that touches someone and completely changes their life. Jesus who came to earth to restore relationship with God because he desperately wanted a relationship with me and you. That’s the Jesus that I’m searching for!
I want my religion, my faith, (or whatever its labeled) to pour into people around me. I want the Jesus who completely change people’s lives in a conversation to be the Jesus people feel and want to get to know because of who I am.
So that’s why my goal is to love like breathing. I want to love people so well and so easily it is like taking a breath.
I’m going to go back to talk to my nihilist friend. I have no desire to make him change his mind. It is not my desire or job to force my faith on him. But if I can have a good conversation with him and maybe he sees a glimpse of who the authentic Jesus. Not the Jesus that the swinger pastor taught him about or the religion that the swinger pastor made him think he needed to believe and check boxes to saved. Not that!
I just want to have a conversation with a really cool tattooed guy and see where it goes. And really love like breathing…wonder where this journey will take me next?