Clint Eastwood made famous the saying, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I know mine. I’ll even list them for you.
There are three things I won’t do in a retail store:
1. Speak Italian to order a Starbucks hot chocolate. This is America, darn it. There are three sizes here. Small, medium and large. Not tall, venti and grande.
2. Self-check my groceries. I know it sounds snooty, but I didn’t go to college to check groceries. Besides, the computer voice flusters me.
3. Use accurate information to obtain a store’s discount “preferred card.” I don’t need the avalanche of junk mail, spam and marketing calls they bring, so I use the name “Ima Snooty.”
There are also three things I won’t do in church:
1. Hug people I don’t know. It’s not a theological thing, it’s an INFP thing. INFP is the personality type from the famed Myers Briggs test. Ten percent of us are “INFPs.” The “I” stands for introverted. (See http://tinyurl.com/norrispersonality.)
2. Fill in the blanks of the sermon outline enclosed in the church bulletin. These “fill-in-the-blank” outlines are something akin to karaoke for sermons and were made popular by famed evangelical Rick Warren for ADD baby boomers.
3. Clap to the beat of contemporary church music. Actually, I’d like to clap, but I’m rhythmically challenged. So, I have to make a choice: sing or clap. And since people tend to get hurt when I clap, I stick to singing.
On a serious note about faith, I will never:
1. Tell you that you are wrong about your faith. Some Christians are fond of quoting John 14:6 concerning Jesus being the only way to God. The problem is, if you are reciting the verse to other faiths, you are not sharing your faith, you’re shouting your condemnation. (A few weeks ago, I quoted someone who disparaged the Mormon faith and some readers assumed my agreement with the sentiment. I do not. It was poor writing on my part, and I apologize.)
2. Impose my faith on you in a public situation. Vis-à-vis, a public prayer when I know that the audience may not be of my faith. Because, if I only pray what
doesn’t offend me and you can only hear what doesn’t offend you, then we dilute both of our faiths.
3. Argue with you. I’m not going to argue cloning, abortion, the death penalty, theology, politics, evolution or the existence of God. I will, however, engage in a thoughtful examination of the issues. Maybe it’s the INFP personality, but my dad taught me that it can take more courage to walk away from an argument.
That’s enough of the negative. Let me tell you three things I will do:
1. Be an example of struggling faith. “What is that?” you ask. Struggling faith recognizes that no one has faith completely figured out. God is too big to be contained in one religion. We can learn things about faith from people of other faiths, and even from people who profess no faith at all.
2. Follow the direction of I Peter 3:15: “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are and always with the utmost courtesy.”
3. Finally, if you ask me, I will pray with you. My prayers will be in plain English without the Old English “thee’s” and “thou’s.” However, given my ADD, it won’t be a grande or a venti prayer, just a small one.