Dear Atheist

Dear Atheist,

I overheard you the other day, proudly proclaiming the end of God.  You were pretty certain of that ‘fact’.  A couple of your table-mates nodded in mutual defiance, but the others looked away.  They were uncomfortable with your ‘facts’. No, they did not speak up.  They let it slide by and quietly claim their allegiance to the invisible God they seldom meet, but still believes exists, just in case. Maybe that is why you wonder if anyone really believes in God.  No one has ever shared their story with you.  Pity.  Their stories make doubt seem doubtful.

You said religious people are hypocrites, showing-off their goodness. But, take this from the pastor who knows, they come wearing all their faults, worries, and guilt. No, they don’t shout these from the pews. Most keep their faults to themselves, but I bet you do, too?

Folks come to Jesus like a patient goes to the doctor-to find healing and peace.  It seems healthy, forgiven Christians may actually live longer than atheists.  Maybe forgiveness, hope, and a new lease on life are good for the body as well as the soul?  Staying connected to Jesus is how we stay sane.

So, let me confess the truth: we Christians mess up more than we succeed, but this world needs us to keep trying. Why? Because–there is more to life than our cell phones and political stances. The world need us to be the Jesus we follow-to treat people with dignity and respect, love the unlovable, and be the peace.  Jesus came out swinging with love and healing. What a contrast to the world today.  Like I said, we don’t always get it right, but wouldn’t it be a better world if we did? 

I’ve learned over the years that most atheists are really angry agnostics, indifferent Christian who struggle with the church people who failed them in the past. Jesus isn’t fond of their actions either, but he is willing to forgive them.  Are you willing to forgive?  Is that what is keeping you away from Jesus?

Yes, some folks are not fans of the church—at least the one they think  they know.  They don’t feel welcomed, don’t fit into the homogeneous crowd or haven’t been there for so long that it is just plain awkward to jump in now. I wish they would, because we are trying hard to change that. 

So this is what I’m going to ask my folks to do—share their story with you, explain the crazy time that God found them, or how their faith carried them through when belief in humans failed.  I want them to share how they try to love like Jesus and how they fail, but they try again.  I want them to share how Jesus takes hold of their soul and gives them the courage to stand up to injustice, fight bigotry, love diversity, and find peace in loving the stranger. I want them to be bold in their faith and dare to show their passion so folks like you see the real Jesus, the One that also stood up to an unjust world and loved it anyway.  I want you to see forgiveness, transformed lives, and hope that defies understanding.  Most of all, I want YOU to see JESUS in them. I want you to see the invisible Son of God alive in the visible Body of Christ called the church.   

God’s grace will do the rest. 

From one who knows,
 
Pastor Terri