Picture*photo credit http://lorenaangell.com
I walked into the bookstore and breathed deeply. There's something about the mixture of smells in a bookstore that always moves me and turns the rusty cogs in my brain. The perfect mixture of coffee and paper, ink and ideas.

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.

7/25/2013 11:19:03 am

Two things:

First, I feel like I'm writing something similar to this right now. Hopefully, it'll be posted tonight.

Second, I hate C.S. Lewis for saying, “The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature.”


But, geniuses can get away with being annoying, can't they?

David Helms
7/26/2013 02:24:54 am

Freaking C.S. Lewis, man. That is annoying because it's so true. That statement can be expanded to all art, less "Christian" art, more Christians making good art. I finding myself drifting from wanting to participate in the bloated Christian Consumption Complex but who else would want to read thoughts on a Jesus centered spiritual life?

7/29/2013 11:45:13 pm

Great post David. I realize that I'm a bit late to the comments but... the message of unity really speaks to me. The idea of searching the heart of a loving and mysterious creator is, I think, what draws most young folks to the faith. We are all searching for something (answered prayers and more of... something) and what's needed is more people willing to speak (write) the truth and assist people in their search.

David Helms
7/31/2013 03:30:50 am

Thanks, Hutch! I feel like the disunity is what keeps people away. I have a dear friend who calls himself "agnostic", when we discuss faith and truth I know deep down he knows the truth, he just fears an "us vs. them" mentality.

7/30/2013 03:25:53 am

why do people do that - pretend they are perfect -? i have not read much of C.S Lewis but i have experienced first hand, pastor - congregation talk right to our face on how ''lame'' we are for being so inadequate, flawed and messed up. And i'm thinking that's why i'm here... its me that Jesus died for, for us imperfect humans. And that's okay. These so-perfect men and women of God need to point us to Christ and not to themselves.
All we need is love.
thanks Dave.

David Helms
7/31/2013 03:32:52 am

That is so very true! Jesus dies because we cannot fulfill the law on our own. I am so sorry you had a pastor that called you lame. Our quirks and flaws make us unique and I am convinced that God finds them lovable and not revolting.

7/30/2013 03:16:46 pm

This is a great statement: "Let's build each other up. Let's unite over what we have in common rather than what separates us." The church is called to work together to advance the Kingdom.

David Helms
7/31/2013 03:34:05 am

Thanks Dan! Moving together in unity is the only way we can advance the Kingdom.


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