Maybe I’ve been
going about this writing business all wrong. When I first started to blog many
years ago, I felt like it was important for me to be totally transparent about
my walk with God so that readers would realize that they are not alone. That we
all make mistakes and make screwy decisions at times, but that doesn’t change
God’s love for us. He is always there just waiting for us to ask Him for
direction and guidance. Just waiting to comfort us when we come running back
after a colossal failure on our part.
Maybe I’ve been
going about it wrong. Maybe by opening up myself to the world with my thoughts,
emotions and opinions, I have in turn opened myself to divulging things that
make others question my dedication to God and to His work. Maybe by being
totally honest about how I react and feel at a given time, others have wondered
if my faith was pure and how any church in “their” right mind could have
possibly licensed and ordained me to the ministry. And if you have been reading my blog for
enough years, you may recall the horrors when people in my Baptist church
discovered that I actually had several tattoos and then when they saw me make
the Sign of the Cross during communion. Maybe if I weren’t so honest with my
readers about my journey with God, I wouldn’t have been criticized by some
brothers and sisters in Christ and asked to remove some things I have written.
But, that wouldn’t be me.
This I do know…. I
am not your standard, typical Christian when it comes to my living my life. Some
folks would say that I’m a quirky Christian. But, never mistake the fact that I am a
Christian. God is the most important thing to me and I honestly wish to follow
Him with all of my heart and being. But, I see Christian living as a very
practical thing. I choose to follow God. I choose to do His work here on earth.
I choose to act as I feel God leads me, not necessarily according to some particular
doctrine or church creed and, certainly not according to how people thing I
should. It’s just between me and God, as long as I don’t cause harm to Him and
to others along the way. And, yes, I do often make the Sign of the Cross during
Communion and at other times because it is part of my way to worship.
So, let me make this
as clear as I can. Let’s consider this my Statement of Beliefs…. (i.e., the
gospel according to Jimmy).
I am a Christian.
I love the Lord our God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I believe
in Jesus and in His love for me and want to tell the world through the gifts
given me so generously. God is not my daddy, my papa and certainly never would
I address Him as dude. He is my Father. God is to be treated with the reverence
and awe deserving the Creator. I believe, as a general rule, churches are far
too involved in entertainment and not enough involved in true worship and
ministry. I don’t care if you do hymns or praise songs as long as they are
scripturally sound and not just words and repetition for the sake of a nice
tune. You can spin from the chandeliers and spit quarters from your mouth as long as God is honored (well, maybe that's a bit much, Jimmy). I believe in the literality of the verse “being all things to all men so
that we may save some.” Churches need to think outside the box to reach people.
I have only been in two churches in my life that have truly, truly done this.
One is the Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta where I was first
introduced to a weekday ministry program for the community and I fell in love
with it. The second church is where I currently attend, the Heritage Hills
Baptist Church in Conyers. An amazing church with amazing people who constantly
think outside the box of “church.” These two churches are reaching out to their
respective communities in ways I could never imagine…..and winning people to
Christ. After being hurt very badly in a prior place of service, I have begun
to feel healing and that I can trust people once again. Part of my life of practical
Christian living is to just be nice to people, treat them with love and
respect, stay away from ‘churchy’ words that alienate and confuse, meet their
needs where possible, don’t badger them into religious discussions until the
Spirit tells me they are ready and just believe in them.
Did any of my
ramblings make sense to anyone besides me? Just some things I needed to put
down in writing for my own peace and understanding, and if you can get anything
at all from it, then, well, all praise be to God.
And for today my
friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.