I wore a purity ring until I was 23. For those who don’t know what a purity ring is, it’s a wedding band sometimes worn by young, unmarried Christians. The ring is meant to remind yourself and everyone else that your heart belongs to Jesus and your virginity belongs to your future spouse.
Several years ago, I attended a church retreat during which I wrote and performed a skit that I now regret. It was basically a stand-up routine in which I played the part of a megachurch pastor, and to be fair, it wasn’t all bad. Some of the skit was just gentle ribbing of big, seeker-sensitive churches. But there were other parts that included not-so-subtle backhanded insults and biting sarcasm. Those parts got the biggest laughs from my audience, and therefore, I considered the skit to be a big success.
A massive evangelistic event was afoot in Washington, D.C. There was all-day activity, preaching, and Christian contemporary music. And there were Christians, lots of Christians. I stepped onto the Metro one night after work, and I soon realized some of the attendees of the event were on the train. In addition to looking like fanny-pack tourists, they were wearing Christian-themed t-shirts. Two middle-aged women in the group were quietly talking about their strategy for sharing their faith with strangers on the train….
For a lot of my single years, I was hopelessly awkward. No doubt, there were still attractive things about my personality (or at least my mom says there were), but overall, I was kind of weird.
Up in Washington, D.C., there are plenty of ignorant folks who assume evangelical southerners like me are judgmental, closed-minded, and prejudiced in all kinds of ways. It’s sad and frustrating, but it’s reality, and I’m sure my friend Macie Anderson has been on the receiving end of it as well.
I am conversationally fluent in Spanish, but under the right circumstances, speaking Spanish can be scary for me.
Last November, I was riding the bus home on a cold winter night, and I noticed a chatty, elderly, African-American man as I walked toward the front. He seemed to be the only person who was interested in what he was saying, and I felt suspicious.
To all my Vacation Bible School Teachers: My girls began attending their first Vacation Bible School yesterday, and throughout the day, I was excited for them. They’re only five and three, so they can’t really appreciate why I love VBS so much. But let me make it clear: it’s because of you.
The other day, I arrived at the bus stop where four ladies were indiscriminately passing out New Testament Bibles. When one of the ladies offered me a Bible, I tried to decline. But she was insistent, so I tried to change the subject.
At some point in my mid-twenties, I got disenchanted with the predictable Easter Sunday ritual. It just didn’t make sense to me: one Sunday, things were relatively normal; the next Sunday, the crowd doubled in size, we focused on the resurrection of Jesus, everyone was dressed in pastel-colored outfits, and afterward, we did an Easter egg hunt. I’m not trying to be offensive, but I just felt like it was a cultural ritual that had lost its original focus (at least it had for me).
The other day, I was swimming with my daughters at the indoor community pool when a woman with a little baby swam closeby. My daughter Renee said hello to the baby, so I asked, “How old is he?” “It’s actually a girl,” said the woman, “and she’s seven months.”
Nabeel Qureshi was raised in a Pakistani-American family and grew up a devout Muslim. While he was in medical school, he read the Bible for research in his debate against a Christian friend, and this began a journey that eventually led to his becoming a Christian. He shared his conversion story in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and he also works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries telling his story and providing encouragement to those who seek to share their faith with a changing world.
The other night, I was a block away from my house when I saw an older, heavy-set, white female with a cane stumbling down the sidewalk, trying unsuccessfully to hold onto three bags of groceries. I rolled down my window and asked her if she needed a ride. “Oh, yes, yes,” she said with a New Jersey accent, slurring her words and almost crying. Her dyed, jet black hair was wrapped in a scarf; and her eyes peered out from behind thick, black mascara. She appeared to be seriously drunk.
My wife has gone Craigslist crazy lately and is finding all these great deals on furniture for our new home, which is great, but picking up the furniture can get complicated. The other day, she told me she wanted to get this armoire from a moving sale, and I resisted. Well, anyway, I lost that battle, and the next thing I knew, I was setting Google Maps to find a gated home in the boonies of Maryland. This was the beginning of what will go down as one of the roughest Craigslist purchases in history.
The other day, I met a D.C. traffic-directing cop in the line at J.C. Penney, and I remarked how dangerous her job was. “I mean, people in D.C. drive so crazy,” I said. “You could get killed.”