I received a spiritual spanking this morning.
Things were going quite well in the Pious Priscilla department as got myself to church (Score 1), and the nice people at church allowed me to enter (Score 2). I was in a pretty good Jesus mood until I parked the car, got out and saw across the way another car that was covered and I mean covered with dozens of neon pieces of paper with the words of John 3:16 scrawled across them and then taped…yes taped all over its back and sides. At least the owner saw fit to leave his windshield free to see such crazy things as traffic.
Along with the message of John 3:16 there was a bumper sticker that read God doesn’t believe in atheists.
Can I just say here and now that some members of my team can really piss me off. (Sorry, Mom, but sometimes the words that you taught me were bad are the only ones that really serve me well in trying to get my feelings out there….and no one ever accused me of being a lady no matter how hard you and I tried.)
First of all, I’m pretty sure the atheists driving behind this car don’t start thinking You know, this guy with all the Bible verses slapped across the entire sides and back of his car has something that I need so I might just pull up beside him at the next light, roll down my window and ask him to scooch over and show me how to be saved.
Also, I am pretty sure that God does believe in atheists as well as Hindus, Wiccans, Muslims, Sikhs and yes, even Christians, and if the man got out of his car to read the actual words written on the sides and backs of his car, maybe he’d be reminded of that truth.
Pious Priscilla was shot to hell before she even got to the side door – my favorite door to slip in and out of.
In church, the music was uplifting. A nice lady asked my girls how they liked school. The pastor admonished us congregants in the ways of prayer….and I would have nothing to do with any of it. My mind was still back in that parking lot on that dumbass car and that man that I thought made our entire team look like a bunch of d*** hillbillies. When the service ended my girls headed for the doughnut room while I told them I’d be back in a minute. I needed to get my camera from the car and take a picture out in the parking lot.
They gave me that Here she goes again look and sighed, We know. More stick figure family bumper stickers. They did not say this with great pride I noticed. I can’t believe they don’t understand the brilliance they live with.
No. No. I promised and dashed off leaving my eight year olds to fend for themselves in order to work on a spiritual writing assignment I considered right up there with covering the Libyan rebels.
Wouldn’t you know it, once I got out to the parking lot, people started streaming out of church. Seriously? Why aren’t you all going to Sunday School classes like they want us to? Pagans. Not wanting to be the creepy lady lurking in the parking lot with the camera, all I got was this shot.
The thought occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t exactly living in the Spirit on this one. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be Priscilla the Bitchy Christian slumped down in the front seat of my car snapping photos of fellow believers’ cars in the church parking lot. I ignored that thought and decided what the Spirit was really telling me was that I needed a high speed zoom lens if I really wanted this blog to take off and made a mental note to research such things online after church.
But darn it all if I didn’t walk back into church and up to my Sunday school room. I love my class. We are all irreverent. My first Sunday visiting one woman said, “Hell, you all know my story so I’m just going to put this idea out there….” She had me at hell. My irreverent brothers and sisters and I are studying Kingdoms right now. Kingdoms are messy. Messy. Messy. Messy. They are big and wide and full of a lot of people who serve one king but who have lots of different ideas about what their king is like and have found many ways show love for their king.
Some choose a life of celibacy and join with others who do the same – living humbly and taking care of the poor and the downtrodden. Some use their God given gifts to research ways to heal the terminally ill. Some stay home and raise babies. Some make more money than I’ll ever see and fund huge philanthropic organizations. Some sit in church basements and quietly listen as others stand and say…I am an alcoholic…assuring these persons they’ve been there before, and they will walk the walk with them. Some vote pro-life. Some vote pro- choice. Some teach the literal six days of creation. Some teach God used evolution to form His great design. Some are gay some are straight. Some don’t fit into either category. Some plaster Bible verses all over their vehicles. Some think they know how the whole team should be playing, ignore the sermon meant for them and think of all the sarcastic things they can write about all their other team members in their stream of consciousness blogs.
All receive Grace.
There’s that word. Grace.
Grace and Obedience – the hardest words for me to swallow.
The more I sat listening to ideas about Kingdom People, the more I thought about the book I finished recently by Os Guinness, The Call. (If you’d bother to look at the TIS Bookshelf portion of this blog, you’d find my review….but enough about me. )
Os wrote lots of great stuff to consider, but one thing that stuck with me is that it is not our place to judge others because we have no idea the material God has to work with in the first place. I was reminded of this truth last week when someone I consider to be my spiritual mother reminded me that since I don’t know the location of the beginning of other people’s Grace Walk, it’s not my job to be Grand Critiqueur (I made this word up. I decided it looked pretty official and British if I added that last u) of where I think all my fellow saints should be in their journey thus far.
I don’t know a darn thing about the owner of the SUV plastered with neon yellow Bible verses. Maybe he was converted out of a life so dark, he could think of nothing else greater to do on this earth but share God’s love through paper and marker and tape. I don’t get it. The drivers around him may not get it. But God gets it. God knows where this guy started. He knows where he is headed. He even knows what his finish line will look like so He (God) doesn’t need some hoity, toity middle aged, hybrid driving, no tape anywhere on her car white woman passing judgment on another one of His own.
I missed the message about prayer from the pastor. I ignored most of the main points about Kingdom Living from my Sunday School teacher, but the whole discourse on Grace thrown at me in the middle of the church parking lot, I got…
until I have to make a milk run and park by another bumper sticker laden car.