Friday, December 23, 2011

Bucking Stereotypes: The Not So Boring Christian

The term Christian doesn't flood the mind with images of someone who would be first on a A-lister's party-of-the-year guest list.

For the most part, Christians tend to have a reputation for being stick in the muds, what with the list of "thou shalt not's" carved into rock first by Moses in the Old Testament and then onto our hearts by Christ in the New Testament's Sermon on the Mount.

No gossiping. No drunkenness. No gossiping. No adultery even in our daydreams. No murderous thoughts about that guy who just cut us off in traffic. Scripture might as well have said, "no least by the world's standards"

Definitely not the like the life of a party. Boring. Safe. Unadventurous.

But appearances are often deceiving, and this is one of those times.

I would love to transport you into my family's Christmas gatherings, a group of Christians having the kind of fun all in attendance will remember, laugh about for years to come.

After the fudge, cheese balls, shrimp dip, and dirty rice--our fun? It's found in an unusual place--a rollicking good game of Bible Trivia. My family rattles the windows with joy. Literally, as in we talk about how much fireproofing is in the walls between us and the next town house because our laughter is so loud and frequent.

It's been six years since we played last. Not since my Grandfather's passing months before my sister in law Liza's "I do" to my brother, not since my three children, and not since cousin's new boyfriend added to the head-count have we unfolded the rainbow board.

My face tightens and cracks as I write this and remember watching the boyfriend's surprise at how much fun a bunch of older Christians playing a boring old game about the oldest book on earth could actually be.Somehow, the game has always pitted the men against the women. An outsider would think that couldn't possibly be fair, what with the men having three seminary degrees amongst them and the women nothing but a personal dedication to ladies' Bible study.

Still, until this past Tuesday, the overall score over the years was women: 4 , men: 3. The women lost by one point, so now we're tied again. Love of the Word, luck of the draw, and a good memory are all that's required.

Taunting the opponent with good-natured ribbing is pretty much a given, as are a few running jokes (such as answering "Belshazzar" to every not-a-clue name of an obscure Bible character) or poking fun at the game's impossible questions by crafting our own like "What is the name of Methuselah's turtle?" (No, don't look; he didn't have one)Although he's too young now, my five-year-old, Wyatt, seems like a Trivia guru in the making. Just tonight, I doubled over with stifled giggles as I listened to him replay with the Little People a few of this afternoon's passages from the already-much-loved The Story for Children.

I laughed as I heard him recount "Wyatt's version" of the Bible stories where Abraham and Moses are contemporaries of King Herod. Husband and I knocked heads in laughter when we hear him rename King Herod (the one who killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem) "Herod the Cutter." Yep--I can see that being useful in a future round of Bible Trivia.

Side splitting wake-the-children laughter. Heart joy. The Word at the center of our gathering.

Now that's the best kind of fun Christmas party around. You don't know what you're missing unless you've been there, too.

Photos: All 21 of my family together for pre-Christmas fun (minus boyfriend taking the photo)
My cousin, Kimberly (who needs a Christian husband with something more than "the personality of paste.")


  1. Under 'Welcome' you said "I’m so glad you stopped in! Please know your dropping by is no coincidence. Instead, God has directed you here,with that in mind could not all victims of violent crime be directed away from their aggressor(s) or does god only direct people towards web sites, no wonder religious people are sneered at!

  2. Dear Anonymous:

    I stand by my belief that God can direct people wherever He desires in order to draw them to Him, and that's what this website seeks to do. I don't claim at all to understand God's ways, but I do know that if we could only glimpse what goes on in the spirit world around us each day, we would likely see God saving us from harm more than we ever would guess. Hurting us is not His intent. The problem is that we live in a fallen world where He allows mankind freewill, which permits suffering. Sometimes, we suffer as judgment for our sin, sometimes we suffer to ultimately bring Him glory, and sometimes we suffer so we will realize our need for saving faith in Him. His Sovereignty is nothing to sneer at and nothing we will ever completely understand.

  3. jennifer,name's dale,it wouldn't let me use my name ,so i put anonymous... what i don't understand about you and every person of 'faith' is how you seem to know just who god(the many versions)is,what 'he' does and does not like to have never met god, nor spoken directly nor god to you,so why claim to know god and how 'he' thinks,you have no proof of god's existance at allonly in the bible and nowhere else(feelings don't count) well it must be true,it's in the bible and how do we know it's all true because the bible sayes so,circular reasoning!...suffering for this and that!! what nonsences,why bother having judgement day at all. of course you'll never fully understand god ,because bible god does not exist nor is there likely to be a god, as intellectually speaking,it's not logical to play games with peoples lives if there is such a place as just can't expect everyone to believe the same story based on no evidence other than some old book.
    it's interesting how _EVERY_ religion requires you to have 'faith', so you can go stick your head in the sand and hope god will look after you.

  4. Hi Dale. Yes, ultimately, it's a matter of faith, but I disagree with your comment about faith requiring you to stick your head in the sand. My God doesn't ask me to check my brain at the door. If anything, He asks me to seek and find, to ask the hard questions. Time and again, I've seen archaeology, historians such as Josephus, and even science prove what the Bible said was true is actually true.

    And you're right that it boils down to me believing the Bible is from God. But that's not something I just blindly accept either. Consider that all but one book of the Bible was accepted by the church only 150 years after Jesus' death; that cannon is unchanged two thousand years later. Consider that while only 7 manuscripts of Plato still exist, there are 5,760 Greek manuscripts and 10,000 Latin manuscripts of New Testament writings. Of these 16,000 manuscripts, 94% of the text is exactly the same. Where there are differences, scholars attribute 3% to scribal errors and the last 3% don't cause variation in true meaning of the text. In a time when everything was handwritten, those statistics are almost inconceivable and are something no other religion but Christianity can claim.

    Consider reading former atheist journalist Lee Strobel's "The Case for Faith" or "The Case for Christ." He set out to disprove Christianity but was converted instead.

    Keep asking the hard questions, Dale. I do wish you the best in your search for truth, wherever it may take you.

  5. Dale again, i read what you said, thanks for your input.
    Regardless of how many times the bible is correctly copied means nothing if it's wrong in the first place(consider all the killings in the name of god and directed by god,jesus was not one for killing(jesus is god?? massive contradiction!!)
    People join and abandon religion, so what does that prove about one(or a million) atheist who changed his mind? i watched a video on youtube,on the atheist experience channel and the male caller claimed to have been a born again christian for 52 years until he changed his mind, what does that prove? also nothing. the story of jesus is not new,the buddah's much older story has similarities, healing people and a miraculous birth, also a group of astrologers predicted that the young prince would grow up to be either a great emperor or a great spiritual leader. (i copied this next bit) "The Brahmans said, ‘Be not anxious, O king! Your queen has conceived: and the fruit of her womb will be a man-child; it will not be a woman-child. You will have a son. And he, if he adopts a householder’s life, will become a king, a Universal Monarch; but if, leaving his home, he adopts the religious life, he will become a Buddha, who will remove from the world the veils of ignorance and sin". how could they know what sex they child would be and what he would do with his life? it's a prophesy that came true, does that make buddism true? christians like to point out that the 'prophecies that came true' are evidence for biblical authenticity.
    I think you should be asking even harder questions about what You believe.

  6. Hey again, Dale. You're completely right that just because an atheist becomes a Christian doesn't mean that the Bible is true. I just thought you might like the book from a journalist's standpoint because journalists are typically skeptical and not based at all in feeling, which I know you reject as irrational.

    I like the Buddhist quote. I just see it differently, as the other cultures who have similar stories of a Messiah coming as proof that God has made all cultures aware, has put eternity in their hearts, even those cultures who don't have the Bible. I see it as Him preparing them for the gospel message so that when they hear it, their response is "yes, this is the truth we've been waiting for." I honestly can't perceive as logical any religion that says man can become a god; just looking around at mankind's depravity, that just seems totally irrational.

    C.S. Lewis' book "Mere Christianity" begins by proving that A god (not the God of Christianity) exists. Then, he goes from there. I find Lewis' argument asks the hard questions. Even if you're anti-Bible and anti-Christianity, I think you would enjoy the book.

  7. dale here,cheers again.bye for now.