December 1, 2010

The Jesus Duck-N-Spin

There was once a time that I may have been mortified to have a conversation about Jesus Christ in public while actually saying the name, "Jesus". Of course there was once a time when I did not accept Him or have a relationship like the one I am learning to have now. It was called "The Jesus Duck-N-Spin". Someone speaking to me would say "JESUS!" rather loudly (or so it always seemed) and then I would have this instantaneous physiological reaction that caused me to duck my head and spin around my field of vision to see if anyone was looking or had overheard this outburst of charismatic exuberance. I never denied Christ had existed, I just hadn't been touched by the Holy Spirit yet. I understood that those ashamed of Him would also have Him be ashamed of them in return but...but after someone yelled JESUS! felt like those people were staring at me had murder in their eyes not (o_0) or (>.<) but more like (x_X).

I literally physically cringed when I heard the His name (JESUS!)being shouted. I'm not sure why that was either. It took years after coming to an intellectual knowledge of Christ to even realize I was doing it. It was brought to my attention by another of my pagan friends that found it amusing even from a non-believers perspective that I would have such a knee-jerk reaction to worrying about who had overheard it. I guess it was because I just wasn't prepared to die to self and allow Jesus to take the reins in my life. I wanted my yoke because I thought I had better ideas. It wasn't until I crashed and burned (repeatedly) that I realized that the plane I was in wasn't worthy or capable of soaring in the vast blue sky.

Things have changed quite a bit. Today I found myself discussing Reformed theology and the Reformation in the book section of Ollie's Discount Outlet and doing it quite robustly with a like-minded person. There were Jesus', God's and amens all over the conversation. I have long since lost the shame of proclaiming and using the name of the Savior. It is my firm opinion that the failure to do so has cost this country and the world irreparable damage.

Instead of looking around in shame, now I look around me in occasional curiosity to see the behavior of the folks around me when speaking. Yeah, them. The ones that all look like they are minding their own business. At least they try. I know for a fact that the name Jesus has a polarizing affect on people. I have seen three distinct reactions from people when discussing all things Jesus related. One thing I have not seen is a "non-reaction". I either see a noted positive reaction or a noted negative reaction...never neutral.

Group #1-The Rocket To Deep Space: They shoot off for the nearest exit or farthest point from you as possible as soon as they hear the words: Jesus, God, believe, sin, repent, "I'll pray for you", sinner, accept, or tithe (I think some believers shoot away when they hear tithe too). They want nothing to do with God, you or anything even remotely non-secular. They have ecclesiastical allergies and often break out in imagined hives and have trouble breathing when they see bowed heads, crosses and hear the word "amen" and "Jesus" in the same sentence.

Group #2-The Elliptical Orbits: The people that pretend to not be paying attention to you but you have obviously hit on a sore or important subject for them. They hear you giving what seems to be good advice or a viable solution to a problem they also have but are either (1) too shy to approach the conversation (2) trying to hear the answer without making eye contact or (3) are waiting for you to say something stupid or do something stupid to affirm their fears that you are the idiot Christian they thought you were. They are called elliptical orbits because their movement will often times bring them in very close physical proximity to you to hear what you are saying about God/Jesus or they are waiting for a chance to strike up a casual conversation. If they actually strike up a conversation with you it is because you have mentioned something extremely pertinent in their lives. At this point I begin to realize myself that I am indeed being used as a fisher of men. In hindsight, I may have actually been the bait as I am often outwardly a basketcase. Some of these folks might actually be Christians themselves watching another of their brethren trying to win one to Christ. Sometimes, sadly, they are there to judge you to see if you did it right or to verify your doctrine is sound and if it isn't they step in to correct you.

Group #3-The Meteor: The meteor is exactly who you think it is. It is the one you knew was somewhere near and shoots straight in and immediately makes impact by engaging in conversation or joins the one you are already in. These people can often be Christians sometimes they are not but are engaged because of the topic or are intrigued by your words. Sometimes the meteors fly in out of nowhere like a light streaking through the night. It turns out they were in the hardware section right behind the book section and you were talking so exuberantly and gregariously about the redeeming value of being saved by Christ and the merits of the Christian life, that people two rows away could've heard you too. Anyway, they too shoot in and immediately introduce themselves or actually cut-to-the-chase and ask you how you can be so sure about what you are saying.

I can look back and now laugh about the Jesus duck-and-spin with a sad pathetic humor that only a born again like me can have. I totally understand now how it could mortify a non-believer but not a believer. It is this thought that often gives me pause now and I think back in dread.

It would mortify a non-believer.

All those years I thought I was saved because of a goofy prayer as an eight year old. I wasn't saved. A believer wouldn't have been producing the bitter fruits I had been producing. A real believer wouldn't have been ashamed of what He was believing in. I was a seed thrown on the poor soil. I sprouted but produced not fruit but sour grapes.

It is now, when I think about this that I start to cringe...thinking about all those years I was lost having only intellectually assented to something greater than myself but never identifying it as Jesus and accepting it fully. Now I do the Lost Souls Spin-N-Speak. I talk about God and Jesus and what has been done for sinners. I do so loudly enough to be overheard in the hardware aisle from the book aisle or from the cereal aisle to the frozen food aisle (I'm kidding folks). I do it as often as I can in public without being overtly obnoxious (depending on who you ask). It is a great opportunity to reach one more. As I speak I spin slightly, panning the horizon looking for reactions to the "Word", seeing if there are any takers. Any Rockets, Elliptical Orbits or Meteors. If I see a rocket I usually chase after them...**chuckle chuckle** :P

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