This morning I ventured through the windy cold air that has settled here in Georgia to the vet’s office for Maggie’s basic shots. After Maggie had greeted every person and every animal in the old remodeled house, it was our turn to see the vet. Funny how a 115 pound dog standing up with her front paws on the reception desk moves instantly to the front of the queue. The vet shook my hand and asked me what I do for a living.
The words choke in my throat, but finally I say, “I’m an author.” It still sounds weird to say that and it isn’t really what I’m good at and it isn’t what I want to be doing full time and I am really struggling with who I am. But he is too busy fending off doggie kisses to notice that he has hit a nerve. So he asks, “What do you write?”
“My expertise is scripture and spiritual disciplines.”
“You are a Christian?” he says with just a hint of disdain slipping into his voice.
“Not that kind of Christian.” I spoke the words out loud, shocking even myself.
Well, we were even. He hadn’t intended to expose his disdain for Christians and I hadn’t intended to expose mine either. But it caught his attention. He stopped playing with Maggie and turned to look at me – to size me up. He decided that I could handle the criticism he was going to levy on me. After a moment he says, “What the hell. My brother-in-law was gay and died of aids.”
His brother-in-law had grown up in “that kind” of church and had eventually run away from it. On his death bed he wanted to speak to a pastor. Not a single clergy member in town from any denomination would come to see him. But then they happened by accident upon a renegade priest who not only came once, but came every single day afterwards without the slightest hint of fear or judgement.
When he was done with the story, he looked directly in my eyes and asked, “So which kind of Christian are you?”
I am the kind that comes feasting and drinking, I am a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and those whom “that kind of Christian” calls sinners!
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they said, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (Mat 11:19 )