“What would Jesus do”

Said as a statement. Not a question.

I was work the other day and a man came and found me and asked for help with the patio furniture. He asked how big of a box this big wooden outdoor chair would come in. Unfortunately, the only one of those chairs that we had in stock was the display, so the box question was irrelevant.

I radioed my manager and was informed that I could not sell a display this early in the patio furniture season. Haha. Retail, am I right?
So I gave this information to the man and his wife, but I let them know that we would be getting more in the future, so they would be able to come back at a later date or order the chair online.
And the lady lost. her. mind.

“Why can’t you sell me this one?!”

“Because I can’t sell the display this early in the season. We just put it out. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t understand why you can’t sell it to me!!!”

“Her manager just told her over the radio that she can’t sell it, I heard the conversation.” (Her husband)

Then the woman starts saying, “What would Jesus do. What would Jesus do. What would Jesus do,” to herself.

And I could think was that Jesus would not lose his mind because a chair was out of stock. In fact, he was a carpenter, and he was perfect, so I’m sure he could easily make a significantly better chair. And I’m sure he could find a much better use of $230 than spending it on an outdoor chair. And if the chair was so necessary for his plan, he would probably send his disciples out and give them instructions about talking to specific people with donkeys or something and they would be sent on a wild goose chase and eventually be gifted the perfect chair.

It always blows my mind when people try to show how holy and Christian they are by mentioning Jesus in the same breath as being super rude to someone. Jesus got angry at the money changers in the temple, and he often mocked the pharisees, but other than that I’m pretty sure he wasn’t rude. He especially wasn’t rude to those he was going to buy something from. American Christianity, especially in the south, is so annoying to me sometimes.
Sure, go ahead and live your life with the WWJD motto. I have no issue with that. Except that most of those people don’t even know the answer to the WWJD question. They just know that they want to throw a toddler temper tantrum because something is out of stock. Something you would use in the spring and summer. Even though it’s February.

Her husband did come and find me and thank me for being helpful and apologized for her behavior. So at least there’s that.

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About Church

One thing that I realized last week is that I’ve always gone to church because I’ve always had connection there.

I grew up going to church because my parents took me to church every Sunday.  And I went to youth group because my friends went and I liked it and I felt like I was learning things.  I felt a connection to the living God.

When I was in college I went to church because I had to be serving in church at least two times a month for my degree.  You didn’t have a choice to opt out if you were in Bible college.  But I got to know my pastors.  And I enjoyed being a volunteer, even if it wasn’t the fun jobs that I was doing.  I liked the connection.  I liked the family that I had there.

After college, I moved to Mammoth and I started re-attending the Lighthouse, and I found real family.  But I first knew about the Lighthouse because I would visit with my brother all the time growing up and when I visited during college.  I had friends there.  I felt community there.  And I connected with God there.

I’m just wondering how to get that community and connection back.  I’m wondering where it is here.  When I first moved to Florence I immediately started attending a church, but my only friends in Florence were a part of this church.   After being there for more than a year, I felt less connected than when I first moved.  My newness wore off and it kinda seemed like I wasn’t good enough to be connected.  I wasn’t good enough to be involved.  None of the original connections I had there include me anymore.  Unless they see me in public.  Then they complain that we never hang out, but I can’t remember the last time I actually got an invitation to do anything.
I got a text from the pastor saying he missed hanging out with Bobby and I.  I said he could ask us to hang out any time, but I never got a response.

I feel like church is something that I’ve had forced into my life for so long that I’m not sure what is real and what is fake.  I miss community and I miss connection, but it has to be genuine.  It cannot be forced.  I’ve visited other churches, churches with small groups, but I don’t necessarily agree with their theology.

I’ve felt a little lost lately.  I don’t like feeling lost.  So I might be breaking up with church for a while.  I can pursue my relationship with God and learn what I need, because I’m obviously not going to find what I’m craving.

Sorry I complain so much.  Sorry I’m not elite.

His Idea

Christ is personal
He’s been here since the beginning
First God
Then Man
Two in one
Making me complete
Picking up my pieces
Putting me together
Crafting my very being
Ever since the beginning

Before time
He made time
Living outside of it
Experiencing all of it
And no matter what
He understands
He creates
He saves
He loves, first

Christ is first
Christ is last
Christ is forever

He thought it all up
Existence was his idea
And what a great idea it was
That we get to live and breathe and learn

So teach me
Show me who I am again
Show me who I can be
Created in this image
Built to last forever
From the beginning
To the end

Why hate Mary?

I walked out of my apartment the other day and the air smelled like weed.  I first thought it was my Dukes of Hazard neighbors, but there’s a possibility it was just post rain smell.  For some reason they smell similar to me in the South.  But this, mixed with a few other conversations as of late, got me thinking.

Smoking pot is completely illegal in Alabama.  It’s not just a slap on the wrist like it used to be in California.  And you can’t use it medically or get a medical card.  Like I said, it’s completely illegal.
The Bible says to follow the laws of the land and pray for those in leadership, so from a Christian stand point, if you want to obey the Bible, you shouldn’t smoke pot if you live in Alabama.

But what about the states where it has been legalized such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California?
See, the Bible doesn’t say anything specifically about smoking anything, or really anything about drugs at all.  Yes, in Titus it talks about being sober minded, but that also applies to drinking, and a lot of Christians drink.
I personally believe that anything can become sinful if it excessive.  I like to say, “anything in excess.”  So if you’re in a state where it is legalized, go for it, or don’t, just don’t let it take over your life.

So why do so many Christians freak out about it, even in those legal states?  Is this something they didn’t think they were going to be confronted with?  Seriously, I’m asking.  Well, maybe don’t answer me though.
Someone close to me was rumored to have been smoking pot.  Which, whether that was true or wasn’t true isn’t the issue (it wasn’t true and most likely will never be true).  But someone was telling people to stay away from this person close to me because they smoked pot.  And that just doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason.  That’s like telling people to stay away from me because I drink wine.  Sure, if you have an issue drinking and expect me to offer you wine, maybe let me know, and if you really think it’s an issue, stay away from me.
If someone had a problem with marijuana or was trying to stay away from it, I could see why they might let this person close to me know why they might want to spend less time together.  But the thing is, the rumor wasn’t true.  So the person close to me called me laughing, because they thought the whole thing was funny, or at least pretended to.  But I’m not okay with gossip or slander.  Especially from Christians.  Especially from Christians who are supposed to be in high standing and have influence.
Why do we feel the need to talk about people?  Even when we don’t know the facts?  Ugh, it’s just so frustrating, and I’m across the country and can’t protect my people.

But really, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.  Because in California marijuana is legalized.  It’s fully legal now, but has been medically legal for quite some time.  So Christians freaking out about it doesn’t make sense to me.  I’m not saying whether you yourself should smoke it not, this isn’t about that.  It’s about the thoughts and the fears behind it.

I’m not saying that Christians should or shouldn’t advocate for Mary Jane.  That’s not what I’m doing.  It’s not even legal where I currently reside.  But stop being afraid.  Stop spreading rumors and shunning people because you heard they might have smoked pot.  It should not matter.

Why don’t we love each other anymore?  This is why it’s so hard for me to trust.

Be Kind to Each Other

I work at Starbucks.  No, I’m not an advocate for Starbucks and I don’t worship the siren, but I do think it’s the best company I’ve ever worked for.  They care about their employees and they care about their customers.  But they’re also a fairly liberal company, just like I’m a fairly liberal person.  And you know who likes to give Starbucks shit for no reason other than to have something to complain about or to have something be the enemy?  Overly conservative people.  And most people assume that all Christians are overly conservative.  I’m not.  I don’t.

Last year, people threw a fit saying Starbucks was trying to take Christ out of Christmas.  Because they did minimalist cups.  I never really understood how those correlated.  But, people have been blaming companies for taking Christ out of Christmas for as long as I remember.  And, as someone who works for the company, I’ve realized that Starbucks celebrates Christmas harder than most.  And I used to work in hospitality.

I had heard that people were coming into stores and giving a certain name to be written on their cup.  I wasn’t sure if it was real.  I didn’t care all that much.  I just feel the need to mention why Starbucks likes to have names on their cups.
First off, it makes the coffee experience more personal (their words, not mine).  It also helps to identify drinks, so if ten people order white mochas, you know which one is yours.  Trying to make it political or whatever is pointless.  It just causes problems.  And no one really cares if you want to put a fake name on your cup to be funny.  You’ll still know that it’s your drink.
Anyway, I had heard that people want Starbucks baristas to write “Trump” on their cups.  And they were going to complain if the barista didn’t call out the name.  Last week, I was on bar with another guy I work with, another Christian, and a woman came in and told her friends she was going to see if she could get a rise out of someone.  She said her name was Trump.  My shift, who took the order, came and told us, so we would be aware of the situation.  We weren’t supposed to make a big deal out of it.
So, I ended being the barista who got to make her drink.  And I made a decision.  Most of the people I work with don’t always call out the names on the cups, they just say the drink.  I decided to do that as well.  So, I called out her mocha as a mocha, and called out the next drink as a pumpkin spice latte, because that’s what they were.  Most of the other drinks we were making were for the drive thru.
When she came to pick up her drink, she loudly asked if it was hers.  Both of the baristas making drinks, myself and my coworker, were pretty busy with other drinks.  I told her if she ordered a grande mocha, it might be hers.  She turned to her friends and complained that we called out the drink, but not the name.  Then another of her friends came to ask me, while I was obviously trying to work, if it was her drink.  I politely told him that I wasn’t sure, but that it might be.  I was preoccupied.  Then he left, and when he came back, he asked for my name, then they all left the store.
See, this situation to me sounds like it would be a group of self-righteous teenagers acting up for no reason.  But no, these were adults, most likely in their forties.  I didn’t realize it was so hard to grow up.

It really bums me out that I’m grouped with these people.  Regardless of what you believe about Trump or Starbucks or Christianity, it matters to me that people are kind to each other.  Yes, Trump is our president.  No, he is not kind, so I find it hard to support him.  However, I do believe in praying for our leaders.  As a citizen of this country, Trump is my leader.  And this is a really hard time for people like me.  This is a hard time for feminist Christians.  It’s a time where it’s hard to voice and be okay with what you believe.  But causing division is not the way.
Be conservative, whatever.  But don’t try to make people angry purely because you can.  Purely because they believe more freely than you do.  Purely because they might have a more open mind.  Purely because you disagree.
I’m into loving and accepting people first.  Which means loving and accepting overly conservative people just as much as it means loving and accepting someone who might think I’m close minded simply because I’m a Christian.  All people are equal.  Be kind to each other.

In the Anyway

I forgive.  Some would say that I forgive too easily.  But I forgive as I have been forgiven.  I forgive as I would like to be forgiven. Maybe I follow the Golden Rule too closely.
In the midst of all of this mess though, in the midst of all of our mistakes, Christ loved us anyway.

In the Garden, Adam and Eve hid, because they knew they had disobeyed, and they knew God knew.  They had realized their nakedness.  And though punishment did follow, God never ceased to love them.  He loved them anyway.

Moses told God he couldn’t do it.  He needed help.  Aaron had to speak for him, because he believed he couldn’t.  He had a stutter.  In spite of his weakness, God loved him anyway.

Solomon asked God for wisdom.  With his wisdom, he did a lot of great things, but also made a lot of mistakes.  He established high places, and he worshiped other gods.  At the end of his life, he realized how meaningless it all was.  And God loved him anyway.

Israel was such a disobedient, easily manipulated nation.  God let them be taken captive, then restored.  They continued to break his heart.  Yet he loved them anyway.  So much that he sent his son, himself, to die.

Peter denied knowing the messiah.  And Christ loved him anyway.

Thomas had doubts.  Jesus loved him in them, anyway.

Anyway.

There has been an awkwardness, a hurt, in my recent life.  And I could choose to hold on to it, a grudge, that would only hurt my being.  Or I could let go.  I could forgive anyway.  I could love anyway.  As I have been loved anyway.

Drive

Long drives on county roads
Tall grass tracing existence
Giving me something to dream on
Noah on the speakers
But it’s God that’s speaking to me
This is church
This is worship
Presence on my mind
Behind me
Before me
At the top of my lungs

I am more myself here
With no one else around
Me, Noah, and God
Truth rings out in this car
Constantly craving authenticity
Believing I am failing at being authentic
Find me here

I have tried to drown myself
In self medication
Living in denial
Waking up to too many empty mornings
I need another drive
I was found there