Friday, August 7, 2009

Big Shoes to Fill

My brother sent me a video clip of Penn Jillette, a multi-talented comedian, illusionist and columnist. He is an outspoken atheist but, as indicated in this video clip, has no respect for theists who do not proselytize. As I watched the video, apparently filmed for a podcast known as "Penn Says," I gained respect for a man whose lifestyle I deplore. His beliefs are founded on the insidious lies and deceptions of "The Father of Lies," and yet he challenges me to be a better Christian; he challenges me to "walk the talk", "put my money where my mouth is." He is an intellegent and articulate man, and no doubt, in a battle of wits would give me a thorough thrashing and take me out back for burial. I don't doubt that he would find me irrational, emotional, and completely unprepared for apologetic debate -- sadly most Christians are. But Mr. Jillette not only inspires me to become better prepared for rational. intelligent conversation about Jesus Christ, but he assures me of the existence of a most powerful, omnipotent God, with love and a plan for each of us.

When asked to defend my belief in the One True God, I usually stammer and mumble something about the Bible being the infallible Word of God, about the "wholeness" of the Gospel, and about my personal experience. Truth is, I am intimidated by "militant leftists," demanding facts and answers for everything. Truth is, I am human and have struggled to believe with my heart things I know to be true in my head. Truth is, and I'm sure this is true of far too many Christians, I do not know my Bible the way I should. Truth is, being a Christian is a personal, emotional, sometimes irrational experience.

I am remiss in my skills, my Bible tools are rusty, but I make no apologies for being driven by feelings and experiences. What parent is not? We love these slimy, wailing little creatures that come into our lives like parasites, drawing from us our time, our income, even our identities. What successful mogul detests the very pursuit he lives and breathes in order to gain such success? Who wants to be handed a spreadsheet outlining the reasons "she said 'yes',"? Being a Christian, for me, has more to do with what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I know to be true from personal experience. There is not a chapter or verse within the Bible that I dispute; there are, and I'm being honest, entire passages that do not "speak" to me. I read them and ask, "Why are they there?" Or I wonder, "What does that mean?" Sometimes, like with any good book, I am anxious the "get to the good parts." Nevertheless, I do not doubt any of it is "God-breathed" (2 Tim. 3:16 NIV), and "is the power of God for the salvation of everyone."(Rom. 1:16 NIV) I attend church regularly, I read my Bible (never as faithfully as I would aspire) and pray (again, not as faithfully as I would like) but it is the things that I see when I look around that tell me God is there, He exists.

Following a Saviour or devoting your life to a belief is not and should not be some one-dimensional, algorithmic exercise designed to explain away every doubt or apparent contradiction. I don't have all the facts, I don't have all the answers or explanations, for that matter, but I know they are there waiting for me, if not in this life then in the next.

And, thank God for Penn Jillette! I have been challenged to find and share as much as I am meant to know so that I too, can proselytize in love, with feeling, as effectively as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment