I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone a little and telling people, including those who aren’t super-close friends, and including those with whom I’ve never had a single conversation about religion or God, that I’ve become a Christian.
One of the reasons it’s outside of my comfort zone is because I was brought up believing that a person’s faith is nobody-at-all’s business but their own, and that this is a topic that simply never, ever, ever should come up in conversation with anyone, period.
Now … in reality that is a learned taboo that I violated regularly, long before I ever imagined myself as a born-again Christian. I have always enjoyed talking about God. I loved hearing about other people’s relationship with God, and about how their faith related to God and understood God.
I wanted intentionally to make space for those conversations not to be taboo. And I did that pretty regularly. But there are still plenty of people I’ve known for a long time with whom I’ve never had such a conversation.
I touched base with such a friend recently — someone I’ve known for (I think…) 15 or more years, but with whom I’ve never discussed anything about spirituality or religion.
In “catching up” my friend asked me what I’ve been up to during these pandemic times of social distancing. I kind of evaded the question at first. (“Oh, hanging in there, working from home, etc., etc.”) My friend called me on it. (“But you haven’t said what you’ve been doing…”)
So I said, “Well, I’ve become a Christian.”
My friend’s response was, “One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate about you over the years is your strong sense of truth and justice. You are a fierce advocate and a voice for those who often have none. Traits exemplified by Jesus.”
I’m not sure what I expected her to say, but that definitely wasn’t what I’d expected. It knocked my socks off (and made my day)!
The only response I could manage was to say, “Oh thank you for saying that. What an incredible compliment!”
I wish I’d been more prepared. I’m sure there are better things I could have said in response.
Note to self: I need to make it a regular part of my daily prayers that Holy Spirit guide me to say the right things whenever such conversations may occur.