I made my way to the Christian Living section and ran my eyes over the numerous titles, checking off the different criteria in my head for my next read. Read it, I'll skip it, not for me, looks cheesy, looks boring, read it, cheesy, mega cheesy, for women, for teens, cheesy.
I began to notice a pattern in the subtitles and back covers. Nearly every author had claimed to have God figured out. Many had a five step plan to getting God to answer every prayer, or was a reaction to another trend with ideas that denounced other books or movements in the bloated Christian consumer culture. Many seemed to be saying "this is why so and so is wrong and I am right." Believe this, follow me, I know the TRUE Jesus.
Every author seemed so sure of the variation of truth that they were selling and every confident proclamation was leaving me further and further behind.
Personally, I often feel like I'm treading water in a sea of self doubt. I question every thought, every idea. I look to the Heavens and wonder what exactly does it mean to be human. I felt like every confident author smiling from their perfect pictures inside their dust jacket probably wouldn't like me. They had everything figured out while I search for truth in vast mystery of God.
I don't need nine steps to effectively following God. I just need to follow...as scary and fluid and messy and beautiful and ugly as that can be.
I am a man of many flaws. And I accept that. I even think God thinks I'm beautiful in my flawed flailings. I even have come to love my flaws and can see Jesus peeking through the cracks in my less than perfect surface.
If you refuse to show vulnerability, if you try to look perfect and polished and like you've got everything about life and God completely figured out then you've already lost me. If you present a perfect image and personality claiming to have cornered the market on truth, that you and your people are right and everyone else is wrong, then I'll feel manipulated and afraid of you. Afraid you'll rip open my scars and laugh because I'm not perfect like you pretend to be.
If you invite me to search and stumble and try and maybe fail and maybe succeed. If you invite me to search the heart of a loving and mysterious creator with you then I will go with you to the ends of the Earth. Arm in arm, we will go together.
In my dreams I am a writer. In the blessed "someday" of an unknown future I've written a book. But in an honest question to myself I ask "does the world need another Christian book?"
I don't have the answer yet, but I say to all listening: let's go together, let's search the surface of this thing called belief, let's find the seams of our faith and push beyond to deeper more frightening and beautiful truth. Do I have it all figured out? Not by a long shot, but I know the Father's heart is real and burns with a fiery passion that is both terrifying and awe-inspiring.
Let's build each other up. Let's unite over what we have in common rather than what separates us. Because what a hurting and desperate world needs more than anything else is love. What a hurting and desperate person needs more than anything else is love.