Archive for October, 2013

So I got a text message from my wife a couple of days ago that said “I got to dust off my employment law skills today…I love when I can pull out book knowledge from college.  Makes me feel like I absorbed something.”  Keep that in the back of your mind for a little bit.

A week ago today I went to the Browns v. Bills game, and as we walked out of the tunnel toward our section, when the full stadium came into view, I remember being filled with Joy.  It wasn’t because I thought the Browns would win, and it wasn’t because I was there with folks whose company I enjoy.  It wasn’t the shot I had done or the beers I drank earlier that day, or the boat ride, or the weather, or the impending excitement we would witness in the stands.  It was kind of indescribable, joy in a pure form, and I posted on my Facebook timeline, “Football makes me so happy.”

In college I took a very interesting course on Eastern Orthodox Christianity.  There are a lot of conceptual ideas that I picked up in that course, one of which dealt with “goodness” in its purest form, and how that is related to the other good things we experience.  The idea is this: if I take a sip of my grande Pike’s Place coffee and think to myself, “man, that’s good,” a part of that goodness comes from God, who is good in its purest form.  Or, if I look at my wife and say, “I love you,” part of that love is the same pure love that God shares with us.  Generally, anything that is good in our lives comes from the goodness of God.  It’s a neat concept, and one that has stuck with me.

If you’re not familiar with the NBC show Parenthood, get on Netflix and check it out–especially if you are a parent.  Anyway, I think it was in the first season where Crosby Braverman (played by Dax Shepard) is arguing with his son’s grandma about Sunday rituals.  Basically, he wanted to take his son to a baseball game, and grandma wanted to take him to church.  Crosby’s response was something to the tune of, “baseball is my church.”

I reflected on my experience at the stadium last Thursday with this episode in mind.  Lately, I’ve been struggling because I don’t feel like I’ve been praying enough, and I feel guilty for not going to church (no, I’m not Catholic).  But in my experience, God has a really cool way of answering my internal battles–and mine came today.

I went to lunch with a former coworker of mine, someone with whom I’ve always been really comfortable talking to about faith.  And while we are both Christians, we have ideological differences that you would think make those conversations awkward–but not so much, because we tend to disagree on what I consider only to be insignificant details in scripture.  And while he doesn’t think the details insignificant, he is much more of a proselytizer (if that’s a word) than I am, so he’ll talk about faith to just about anyone.  Anyway, he (like a good little Christian–and I don’t mean that in any derogatory sense) asked me point-blank if I had ever accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.  It was a weird question, because we’ve talked about this in the past.  It was like he was checking up on me, which wasn’t creepy or awkward even though it sounds like it might have been.

We talked for a while (longer than my allotted hour-long lunch break), about faith and scripture, and he later asked me if I thought that it was possible to lose salvation.  And while I had never put much thought into it, logically I concluded that it was possible.  He then explained to me (at least according to scripture) that it’s not really possible–you either never have it or you always have it, nothing in between.  On a side note–the more liberal among us may take issue with accepting scripture in such a literal way, especially for something that is possibly flawed and incorrect, as it was passed down and originally written by man…but, let’s assume for at least as long as it takes you to read this blog that that’s not an issue, and I think you’ll get where I’m going.

Anyway, his question about whether or not it was possible to lose salvation was unprompted.  He just asked it, without any knowledge of what I had been struggling with: being in a sort of religious “rut,” or at least a perceived rut.  When it comes to faith, at least my faith, I’m a symbolism guy.  His question to me, his explanation of the scripture, and him pointing out the flaws in my logic about whether or not salvation could be lost; at that moment, that was the scripture, it was God’s answer to my internal struggle–about not going to church enough, not praying enough, and feeling guilty thinking there might be some credence to “baseball is my church” — or football, or hockey, or cooking, or skiing, or mowing the lawn, or whatever.

I told him after we had this discussion what had been going on in my mind over the last week, and how appreciative I am that he went to lunch with me and kept me on the straight and narrow.  It was a really cool answer to get from the only one who could make me feel better about it (not my friend–but God).  But the “answer” that I got was more than just the conversation with my friend–it was also the text I got from Janine about drawing on information we got back in college, which I did for this blog and as I thought about the experience I had last week at the football game.  It was also about that episode of Parenthood that I watched a couple of years ago, which helped me put it all into context.  It was also the fact that, originally, we were supposed to go out to lunch last Thursday (before the football game), but something came up that delayed our meeting.  Had we met last week, my mindset would have been entirely different.

All these little things, these seemingly random occurrences, that lined up in just the right way for me to gain some level of enlightenment about what was troubling me; that’s my God–that’s how I know he’s got my back…I think He (let’s not have the God/gender debate, please) would be okay with me saying–it’s really freakin’ awesome.

Thanks for your dedication to this blog.  I hope you enjoy it.  Be well, and stay tuned.