At the market Saturday, the vendors had lots of time to chat with each other. We bonded.
My neighbor and I hit it off. It was an intriguing conversation. Here are a few tidbits of what I learned about my new friend:
- She has 3 kids, all close together
- She was a Daddy’s girl because her mom wasn’t in the picture
- Her step-mom came into the picture and brought ideas of how to implement biblical teachings, but only with rules
- She knows a lot of Scripture
- She wore a head-covering for years, but was in a non-denominational church (not Apostolic, Mennonite, or Amish)
- She thinks about Jesus’ teachings a lot
- She hates that Christians love rules so they can judge people
- She smokes
- She loves, in her words, inappropriate humor (Simpsons, Family Guy)
- Her parents informed their kids that if they ever became gay they would never talk to them again
There was so much hurt and confusion from the inconsistency of her parents’ faith and rules put in place. From what I learned, all of her siblings have rebelled and aren’t living out a faith.
It was interesting, though. She doesn’t go to church, but she still loves Jesus. She loves to talk about faith and what it should look like.
It reminded me of a conversation with an art student/friend years ago. This friend, J, was high most times I talked with him. He’s a really cool guy who loves his family and is an amazing artist.
In one of our first conversations, he asked me what my preferred drug was. I told him I don’t do any drugs, I don’t like feeling out of control of my body. He informed me that I just hadn’t found the right drug and offered to get me a few to try.
After a few months of class together, knowing that I follow Jesus (because I don’t cuss and I was nice to people… and random other tidbits of conversation), he told me he thought Jesus was a bro. He would hang out with anyone. If He was here today, he would totally go to parties and hang out.
Then I got asked one of my favorite questions/thoughts:
“Do you think Jesus would smoke weed if He was here? He totally hung out with people who would have.”
This was a real question.
My response: “No, I don’t think He would have. Most people who get drunk or high do it because they’re trying to escape or avoid an issue in their lives. Jesus wasn’t about that. He dealt with things instead of masking them.”
A thinking silence followed.
Being an art student, conversations about drugs was a normal part of life. It didn’t catch me off guard. Art students get a bad rap.
They love to express themselves and are usually seen as edge-y. They are (some). But I think they’re this way because they’re thinkers. They don’t accept the status-quo just because society pressures them to.
It’s endearing. I love real people. The people who delve into deep thought and challenge themselves and others.
And then there’s Jesus. Other religions. Sex. Drugs. I would say money, but we’re artists.
What draws people to each one? What pushes people away from each one? What makes people use them for their benefit and the detriment of other people (and yes, Christianity gets used to keep others down SO often)?
I don’t have answers, just questions. I do know that we need to keep looking at Jesus in the Bible (not others’ opinions). He says that, “If you love me, you’ll obey me.” His command is to love God and love others. There’s a moral law that Jesus didn’t discard when He came. When He talked about those, He made them harder to follow (You have heard it said, do not commit adultery, but I tell you, if you even look at a woman with lust, you commit adultery.). We need Jesus’ grace and the help of the Holy Spirit to have a chance at not sinning.
Jesus wanted our obedience out of love. God knows everything. He knows what’s best for us. If He tells us to do one thing and not to do another, it’s because He knows the consequences and wants our best.
Lots of thoughts,