Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who do you sound like?

There's a phenomenon that I find fascinating. I'm sure in psychological circles it has a name. I don't really need to know that to maintain the wonder of it. The phenomenon is that we all begin to sound like the people we spend the most time with.

Over the past five years at Cypress I've discovered that I've added so many phrases to my daily "speak" that are not uniquely mine. They probably aren't even unique to the person I learned them from. But they have become mine. It's not unusual to hear me - or several other staff members - ask someone to "tease that out for me." Or to refer to a person or situation as being "golden!" And some oldies but goodies still show up from time to time, such as "And we're back." A couple of our staff members actually will play a game where they have entire conversations using "staff-speak" which is mostly credited to our boss.

This phenomenon is fun and interesting to me. There is a similar phenomenon, however, that I find truly sad and frustrating. It was illustrated in bold strokes for me recently at a wedding I attended. I found myself sitting beside a complete stranger. This complete stranger had no idea that I was a Christian, that I attended church much less was actually on staff at a church. He proceeded to tell me how his brother was a "sinner and was caught up in the ways of the world and that he had confronted him and told him that he had to change his ways or he would be headed for Hell." That's the short, slightly edited, beautified version, but you get the point.

I was aghast! (what a great opportunity to use such a cool word!) Inside a large part of me wanted to look this man dead in the face and insist on knowing "so, how did that work for you?!" I couldn't imagine anyone being compelled to want to get to know Christ based on an introduction like that. Of course, the only slightly recovered Baptist-girl in me won out and I just asked "really?"

But since then I've given lots of thought to that conversation. I wonder, do we as Christians, sometimes get so caught up in our bubble that we only let ourselves hear each other, develop our own language and eventually fail to realize what we sound like? Did this man really not care for his brother as he said? Was all that mattered to him about his brother really whether or not he ended up in heaven? What about love for him here and now as well?

Now, don't get me wrong. I definitely understand longing for our family members to be in heaven. I guess I will just always believe that there is a loving way to say things. This didn't sound like love was involved at all.

Isn't that how people are supposed to know we're Christians anyway, by our love? Or is that just some song?

1 comment:

Chris said...

I got this little note on my hand deal and decided I should tease it out a bit more. It's really remarkable when see it all under the umbrella of grace. Deal? Deal!