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"I Am An Atheist," She Declared.

Updated: May 14, 2020

"As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions." ~ Romans 14:1 (ESV)

Many years ago, I was in school with a lovely lady who was raised in the Mormon church.

Through the years, I've seen her go through many different phases of introspection and spiritual evolution.

We haven't spoken in a long time, but the other day on Facebook, she posted a status that, among other things, said... "I'm an atheist... be gentle, please."

I had a flurry of thoughts and emotions. But, the one I would like to point out is this... Who are we as a people that she would need to ask for kindness and gentleness at expressing her doubt? Or, even her certainty in another direction?

Whatever happened to "Love your neighbor"? Obviously I cannot speak for her native community as I'm largely unfamiliar, but am posing the question on behalf of G-d-fearers everywhere.

Though a different point, this reminded me of a parallel moment in one of my very favorite movies. If this is the first time you've heard me mention it, it probably won't be the last.

The film is, The Inn of the 6th Happiness. (There's a pretty big issue with the film, namely that Gladys Aylward, the woman about whom it was made was not a fan of what Hollywood did with her story. Just as a wee disclaimer, but I love much of it still.)

The protagonist of the film, and even more so the woman in real life, was an epic listener and obedient follower of G-d. She left England and made her life as a missionary in China, long ago.

At one point, another figure in the film asks her if the moment hadn't been an ideal opportunity for making converts, if she hadn't neglected her missionary work. Her response is to ask if he thinks it's about "collecting converts the way a child collects pretty stones?" Then continues by explaining that to her, it's about "Making each man know that he counts, whether he believes in Christ, or Buddha, or nothing."

I suspect sometimes we get a little confused about the how and maybe even the what when it comes to being His representatives in the world. I suspect that's why my friend had to ask for gentleness when making her "confession."

Just as Gladys knew "collecting converts" was not her job, rather planting seeds with love and allowing G-d to manage growth and harvest, perhaps our job is to love while shining light, sprinkling seeds and salt as we go... fully acknowledging the failings of that particular mixed metaphor with apology.

I believe G-d wants His children to feel loved and supported. Whether they claim Him or not.

I believe that being truly loving toward others, especially those with whom we may not agree, is the best way to express His love.

I knew a woman growing up... a beautiful beautiful Texas rose. She exuded southern charm and grace. She also shone the Light of the Father in an exquisite way I find hard to describe. Even when I wandered, she was an ideal of faith I was able to look toward and think, if I could be a Christian like that... I never saw her force her faith on anyone. Her conversation of His presence in her life was always such a beautiful open one, filled with lovingkindness. If I'm being honest, I still aspire to be like this woman in my faith walk, and I know she aspires to be like Him, so it's okay that she's one of my earthly role models and examples... and she's still there for me today. The reason I tell you this is, if we all found our way into exhibiting that kind of grace and openheartedness and love...

I just wonder what G-d might accomplish with that kind of honey.

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt..." ~ Colossians 4:6a (NIV)

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'" ~ Matthew 22:37-39 (KJV)

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." ~ Luke 6:36-38 (BSB)

May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.

Bonus song of praise...

Sharables! ...and, hey, thanks for sharing.

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