Yesterday, Beverly drove me from Arrowbear, north via the 5 to Santa Rosa to pick up my Jeep… and I probably slept half of the way up. But I did think a lot. And on my solo 10 hour drive back I thought a lot and composed, and edited all in my head, an amazing blog… I had a half dozen profound epiphanies and I organized them in a compelling way storing this composition neatly in my head so that I could write it all down upon waking this morning.
And now I have no idea what this pre written blog was or what any of those fantastic amazing ideas were.
Driving a soft top Jeep down the 5 is hard work. Loud. Bouncy. Underpowered. Manual. No AC. In between Bruce Hornsby and Bob Dylan, under the constant flapping of the soft top and whistles and rushes of air from the windows and the smell of the feed lots that filled my cabin… I was pretty happy and unstressed for the first time in a week.
I remember though that in between Jars of Clay and the Beach Boys I was thinking of a Jason Gray song called “More Like Falling in Love” (which I don’t have on my phone) and I determined that the reason I don’t do well with people trying to fix me and to force my Christianity into the white, conservative, Republican mold is two fold: one- because I am immature and tend to respond to arguments with arguments… and hopefully better arguments… (and failing that resorting to various passive aggressive responses that I find entertaining.) and two- I became a Christian a long long time ago because I fell absolutely in love with the person of Jesus.
So if you want to “fix” a Sabro… if when you read my blogs and Facebook and it makes your blood boil enough to get me right with God and kick my liberal behind back to evangelical plumb and square… If you are so set on making this brother right that you type in your corrections with verses and expletives… I do have some advice
Listen to Jason Gray.
First that argumentative side of me. When you decide to argue with me on Facebook you are descending into an intellectual pig sty with an educated hog that love muck fights. And the more you wallow with me the more I love it. And it isn’t about flinging poo… I don’t want rhetorical fallacies and personal attacks. I want logic. I want critical thinking. I want strong arguments and data and evidence and expert opinions. I want you to prove me wrong using reason and logic supported by strong evidence. And failing to do that disappoints me. I really don’t get that you are being hurt. That you aren’t having fun and that this is damaging our friendship. I am too happy at the time, doing what I think Facebook is designed for.
So when you unfriend me… I am absolutely and horribly hurt. I don’t get it. And you have broken the Sabro first rule- breaking connection. Connection is supposed to be stronger than arguments and differences. And you broke that… over muck fighting in a muck pit that you crawled into voluntarily… Our bond is primary. Muck fights, not even secondary… but supposed to be for fun, right? Every time it happens (Tim MacDonald and Mark Foster) I am both shocked and hurt… because I am absolutely that clueless and immature.
The second point had me thinking about Kiki Oleson… Christendom’s unconventional and wisest worship leader and Jared Gustafson a dude that LOVES Jesus in the most outrageous and unconventional ways. And the way they have silenced me with awe on Facebook with their amazing insights into the spiritual realm. It occurs to me that they both “get” it.
I became a Christian because long ago, when I was a confused, disconnected, and unloved teenager… I fell in love with Jesus. I didn’t join a religion. I didn’t “like” his teachings, or the set of rules and standards. It wasn’t about buildings or stained glass windows, or Christian Rock songs with catchy hooks. This idea that a person/god loved me enough to die to save me caught my eye. That narrative- of salvation and forgiveness… along with this gentle, people loving and serving message… I fell in love with that. (Cue the Jason Gray song… because those lyrics say it all.)
So in my car alone driving down the 5 in the dark… my belly full and happy with Harris Ranch tri-tip. Fighting fatigue with chocolate coffee drinks and by singing along with my iPhone play list, I get to rock star or laugh or cry or driver dance with no one watching. And as the light faded, the Beach Boys handed me a bit of truth…
I, I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air
And even though it was dark and the smell of manure and stale cigarette smoke still hung with me in this car… I could see that sunlight (cue lens flare) and smell that perfume. I’m young again. And I remember what that young puppy love felt like. It seemed at the time one of the most honest, simple and beautiful first verses of pop songdom. And the rest of the song didn’t matter. (Press repeat so I can hear it again.) Happy moment.
And then Jars of Clay… the song bringing me tears…
Sitting silent wearing Sunday best
The sermon echoes through the walls
A great salvation through it
Calls to the people
Who stare into nowhere
And can’t feel the chains on their souls
He’s more than the laughter
Or the stars in the heaven
As close as a heartbeat
Or song on her lips
Someday we’ll trust Him
And learn how to see Him
Someday He’ll call us
And we will come running
We’ll fall in His arms
The tears will fall down
And we’ll pray
I want to fall in love with you
I think about it for another couple of songs… (When love walks in the room, Everybody stands up. It’s good, good, good… like Brigitte Bardot!) About my “religion.” My “relationship with Christ.” And it is about connection. I think about three fast songs and one slow with a fade chorus… And the sermon and altar call… and everything that brings certainty to an uncertain world.
I think about dogs… because it is National Dog day. And how when I walk my dog I can hear people in houses yell at their barking dog, who probably in their doggy head thinks that not only they are doing what they are supposed to do, but that the master is joining in the activity and by saying his name, over and over, praising him for the effort.
As the miles pass I think about those who correct me. Who fix me. Or who at least try. And I bark back at them… thinking that this is what they want.
It is about love. About falling in love. About standing up when love walks in the room. About connection to the one true God, the creator of the universe… falling in His arms and tears falling down… and the way the sunlight plays upon his hair, (maybe) and connection to everyone else, those other lovers of God and those He called “the least of these.” It is about seeing that bit of God in everything and everyone and loving it.
And that certainty that brings some in… the bumper stickers and big bibles, going to the right church, and always doing the right thing… like being a super fan of the ultimate team with that certainty of rules, of conduct and ethics, of truth, of being eternally loved and saved locked in for me is somewhere down the list.
And for those who’s relationship with Jesus is more about certainty… about doing it exactly right and being right. About being conservative and anti-abortion and white and Republican. And never cussing. Follow the rules. Do it right. And correct those that aren’t right. Waving a flag and rooting for the home team… And owning a gun. Tithe the exact amount. Pray the right words. And mowing the lawn. And home schools and being on the right side of this culture war where we are being oppressed and assaulted by liberals… I don’t think they will ever get the messy unconventional people who fell in love and every day just want to fall in love again and again and again.
We are goofy. And we don’t look right or do the right things… and we do it anyway. Because for us… it was never and can never be about anything but falling in love.