It was Christmas Eve at the Hallmark store and the elderly cashier didn’t even look up when I said hello. I thought she might not have heard me. “Merry Christmas!” I said. Still no response. “That stuffed animal we’re buying is for our new baby — she could come any day now.” The woman barely looked up and coldly said, “You got anything else?” “Nope — that’s it. Just a little Christmas present for my new baby.” The woman charged my card and didn’t speak. “Well have a merry Christmas,” I said with a touch of irritation. She didn’t respond….
I was in a bad mood on my way to church last weekend, and it had everything to do with the woman driving in front of me. She was going about five miles an hour down a one-way street in Washington, D.C., while looking at her phone.
One time, I met a D.C. traffic-directing cop in the line at the mall and I remarked how dangerous her job was. “I mean, people in D.C. drive so crazy,” I said. “You could get killed.” “Oh no,” she said, “don’t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for the people in parking enforcement. They get screamed at, spat on, cursed out – you name it. It’s horrible.”
One time I was talking to a friend and she mentioned that when she first started following Jesus, the Lord greatly used sermons from a certain TV preacher to help her grow in her faith. Personally, I wasn’t impressed with the televangelist. Granted, I hadn’t actually listened to any of the preacher’s sermons, but that was beside the point. Everybody in my circle agreed that the preaching was little more than motivational speaking with scriptures thrown in.
An eight-year-old girl broke my heart on the metro last year. Her name was Briana.
A few years ago, I had this new coworker who came off as weird — really weird, and within a couple of weeks of his arrival, a lot of people in the office were making comments about him behind his back.
I pushed the elderly woman in the wheelchair and started our conversation but I knew I had to whisper. For this college sophomore, the workplace had become a tricky arena in which to talk about Jesus.
When I was in high school, I attended the funerals for two classmates, one of whom died in a tragic shooting accident. I have a vivid memory from his funeral: sitting in the packed funeral home listening to Michael W. Smith’s song “Friends are Friends Forever” as teenagers sniffled and wiped tears away.
My first lunch with my friend Tim did not go well. He was a new guy at church and we worked in the same area of the city, so I figured it would be a chance to make a new lunch buddy. About ten minutes into the meal, I changed my mind.
There are very few sports events I’ve ever cared about, and when there’s an exception, it’s a big deal. The last time it happened to me was in 2001.
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.
The other day, I was just minding my own business, trying to get to work, when a woman in a black Lexus brought out the worst in me. I was trying to park in a garage in downtown Washington, D.C., which is a challenge. I have little time to get to the garage after dropping off my daughter at school, and if I’m a minute late, the price goes up from $14 to $21. Time is of the essence.
Well, I learned my lesson: If you want to tick off a bunch of people and lose some subscribers of your personal blog, write a post that encourages readers to appreciate the positives in a church like Hillsong NYC.
I didn’t expect an article from GQ magazine about a megachurch to get me choked up, but recently, it did.
Last year, I went trick-or-treating for the first time in my life. Up until that point, as a matter of principle, I never even handed out candy on Halloween.