My prayer for you is that God would continue to do whatever he has to do to keep your eyes fixed furiously on him as the source of all your joy, all your peace, all your rest, and all your revelation.
A lot of people are surprised to find out that I go to church with all my best drinking friends.
And I'm surprised at their surprise.
The Christian church is for everyone, and I'm sick of this idea that you have to have your act together to go to church somewhere.
So here's some new permissions and qualifications for going to church:
1. You don't have to stop drinking. In fact, you don't even have to be completely sober on Sunday morning. Go drunk if you want. It's ok.
2. You don't have to stop smoking - anything.
3. You don't have to stop looking at porn.
4. You don't have to stop being racist.
5. You don't have to be white to go to a white church, and you don't have to be black to go to a black church.
6. You don't have to be reconciled to your wife, your kids, your parents, or anyone.
7. You don't have to dress up, or cover your tattoos or remove your piercings.
8. You certainly don't have to stop cussing.
9. You don't have to vote republican, or democrat, or even care about politics whatsoever.
10. You don't have to be straight, or married, or never-divorced.
11. You don't have to have a clean criminal record.
12. You don't even have to be in this country legally.
13. You don't have to stop being angry.
14. You don't have to love Jesus, or be a Christian, or even believe in God.
15. You don't have to ask God to forgive your sins.
16. You don't even have to admit that you have any sins that need forgiving.
17. You don't have to take communion or be baptized, or say any kind of weird prayers.
18. You don't have to stand up, sit down, raise your hands, clap, sing, or even stay awake the whole time.
Come angry, tired, lonely, confused, frightened, suicidal, drunk, stoned, full of rage, careless, reckless, weak, anxious, nervous, sad, scared, and skeptical. Come bruised, beaten, and stupid. Come prideful, perfect, and pain-free if you want. You can come to church the exact same asshole you are today. Sit in the back and be angry, or sit in the front and cry, or stand in the lobby panting like a madman, but don't stay away because you don't think you're good enough.
And don't let anyone tell you you're not welcome, ever.
The moment a church turns someone away out of shame is the moment they need to lock the front doors, grab an axe and chop the cross off their steeple.
Jesus came with grace, and I'm sick of church people taking that power away from him and keeping it for themselves.
From this point forward, there will be no more withholding of grace in the Christian church for all eternity.
You are welcome, just as you are right this second.
Be confident in your assuredness that the grace of Jesus applies to you, your neighbor, and your mortal enemy, whether you like it or not.
In spite of all our fakery, Jesus' program remains firm. He saves losers and only losers. He raises the dead and only the dead. - Robert Farrar Capon.
I've been thinking lately about how good isn't just the absence of bad, but more specifically the presence of good. Darkness can't exist where there is light. Cold can't exist where there is heat.
The absence of darkness isn't light. It's nothing. There's no such thing.
Light is the only thing that can dispel dark.
Or rather, light is the absence of dark.
Good health isn't rejecting bad choices, it's actively making better choices.
One doesn't get healthy simply by giving up sweets. You have to also eat vegetables.
Anyway, the point is this: I'm probably not going to quit using tobacco just because it's bad for me. I have to get healthy enough to not want tobacco anymore. My own resistance is pretty good, and it's worked from time to time in the past, but what's even better than abstinence is indulgence - indulgence in something else. Something better.
The only way to quit using cocaine is to buy a sailboat.
Does that make sense?
It seems like it does. To me anyway.
The sailboat is such a daily endeavor, and so much of a fun giant hassle, that you just don't have time to track down the drug anymore.
I've never used cocaine, and I don't own a sailboat. But you get the point.
You gotta change your perspective.