“I believe in God. I believe in Zen. I believe in Karma. I believe in myself…”~ My Daddy
I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I have prayer templates. Template 1: “The Telegram Prayer” (i.e. “Thank you Father for waking me up. Amen.” “Bless this food. Amen” “Stop me from smacking this idiot. Amen” Template 2: “The Bargain” (i.e. “Dear Lord, if you get me through this I promise I will never _________________”) Template 3: “Begging” (i.e. “Dear God, please let me get home without this car breaking down. I know the gas light has been on for 2 days but payday is tomorrow.” ) These templates are that of a lazy/”lukewarm” Christian. What is a “lukewarm” Christian, you ask? It is a term, I find offensive but one that I must admit describes me from time to time. Scripture speaks of the “lukewarm” Christian quite often but the bible quote I never forget is the following:
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would rather that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
When I was about 16 yrs old my friend who lived down the block from my house was having an argument with her mom. Her mother was always a firm and somewhat serious woman. She was thick and German with a slight accent. When she was angry, thunder couldn’t compete! I don’t remember what my friend did but I vividly remember her mom saying, “I have had it with you. You are hanging from my throat and I am going to spit you out!!” I had never heard a parent say anything like that before. It stunned me. My friend was unaffected but I was crying! All I could think to myself was, “Damn! That’s some hurtful s*%t!” So now as an adult, when I do something wrong, I imagine the Creator saying that to me. I imagine being discarded by God. It’s a scary feeling.
Why am I “lukewarm”? Probably because I’m still “finding myself” (that location cannot be found on google maps but for those of you who made the attempt…thank you.) I’m 27 so if my calculations are correct, I’ll probably find myself around age 89. Cool with me! As long as I have a legacy for my children, as long as people still say “Shaun’s deep”, and as long as at least 1 person sort of kind of gets me…I’m good! Why am I “lukewarm”? I was a baptized practicing Catholic up until age 19. I am soooooooo grateful for that foundation but I wasn’t encouraged to ask questions about FAITH and DELIVERANCE in Catholic school. In fact, I will be bold enough to say that compliance, obedience and fear are the fortified teachings of my adolescence. My favorite part was confession because to me it was like going to a therapist for free and I was an odd child so I had a lot to talk about. Also, they would always burn incense after you said your assigned number of hail mary’s.
Why am I “lukewarm”? Blame higher education. My first year at Pace University, I had a tree-hugging,incense burning, bike riding,emotionally damaged, hippie! To date, he’s the best professor I’ve ever had and he challenged me to read more, become a more open-minded person, appreciate everything I have in life, and never judge a book by its cover! That year, I read “Assata” by Assata Shakur, on my own free will. I studied Emerson and Thoreau (if you don’t know who these people are then its time to do yourself a favor and hit the library.) I read, “The Forest People” by Colin Turnbull and I swear I wanted to wear loincloth and live off the land like the pygmies!!
The things I learned led to me becoming more “worldly.” Good church folk know that being “worldly” is frowned upon in Christianity. By definition it means you are “contrasted with heaven or spiritual life” (dictionary.com) but the second definition is “experienced, knowing, and sophisticated.” I was a walking oxymoron! I went to church every Sunday, had sound Christian values, and knew all my prayers and old negro spirituals just as my mother taught me. On the other hand, I wanted to learn about other cultures, history, I respected other practices of Faith and knew that it was ok to be different. I couldnt ignore the obvious similarities between Greek mythology, Egyptian history, Native American Proverbs, and The Bible. We are all so different and yet we are all the same.
“Lukewarm” isn’t good but its the most comfortable temperature for most people. I wash my hair in lukewarm water. I take a lukewarm bath because hot baths hurt and dry out your skin. I like my food lukewarm. However, I am well aware that walking the fence doesn’t produce impressive results. The most successful people are those who make decisions and step outside of their comfort zones.
In conclusion, I’m still “finding myself” but I’m getting “warmer” in life’s game of hide and go seek! I converted to the United Church of Christ in 2004 and I have some uncompromising beliefs. I started this post for a completely different reason though. I kind of went on a tangent (sorry.) I started this post because I have some template prayers to address:
- Thank You God for curiosity.
- Thank You God for a significant other who tries to understand me and relate to me and love me no matter how hard it must be.
- Thank You God for my family. I’ve seen other families on TV and I know you gave me a good one. 🙂
- Thank you God for my health. The hardest thing I dealt with this year was Memorial Day in the ER for Strep Throat and that’s not too bad. Plus, I really like those hospital socks!
- I promise to use my love for writing more often to profess your grace and favor.
~By: Shaun M N