Sometimes I peruse the Christian Living section in Books-a-Million. I hate those times.
It stresses me out to no end. I walk along, hoping for a little inspiration or, at the very least, a book without an Amish girl on the cover. (Does anyone else notice that those Amish girls always appear to be wearing mascara and tinted lipgloss?)
I always start to panic a little after reading the blurbs of a couple books. I read about how American Christians have a fast-food mentality towards their faith. And my soul kind of twitches. Like, "Yeah, that was totally me three years ago. Right, God? Right?"
And then I start to look at all those book titles that contradict each other. Like How to Become a Millionaire God's Way on the same shelf as Shaine Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution.
And my mind says, "Quick, Heather! Decide: do you want to be a radical or rich for Jesus?" And my heart starts racing as I put them down, only to notice Kisses from Katie out of the corner of my eye, the book about the teenage girl who gave up everything to move to Uganda and mother orphan children. And I don't know if I'll ever be able to read that book because I just know it would make me feel like a selfish, first-world piece of crap.
Everyone has their own opinion, condemnation, solution. At what's worse is that they're all Christians. They ALL have God on their side. So who's right?
It stresses me out. I always walk out with my theology completely screwed up. (Especially if I happen to pick up a book by an atheist trying to disprove Christianity. I am not confident enough to flip through one of those books without murmuring, "Oh...snap" at every point.)
Maybe I'm just not mature in my faith.
The Bible has been around for a long ol' time. And there have been a whole lot of people reading it, people with different ideas and worldviews and upbringings and experiences. A verse will speak different things to different people. And I've got to learn to accept that no two Christians are exactly alike. No Christian has this whole thing figured out. Not even C.S. Lewis? We're all just fish flopping on a dock, longing to be in our true home, doing the best we can with what we've been given.
So I take some truth from Shaine Claiborne, and I even take some truth from Joel Osteen (sometimes). Because it isn't their truth to begin with. Their ideas are their own, but those glimmers of truth behind their words? Those are from God. Even though it might not seem like such different theologies could possibly be attributed to the same God.
God's cool like that. He's not frustrated at our differences, like I am, scurrying around a bookstore wondering who's right. He made us all unique. On purpose.
I'm still trying to learn to listen to God instead of people. But I'm also learning that God's people are a reflection of Him. Whether they're living like every day's a Friday or giving the shoes off their feet to the poor.