Like most people I have the most clarity in the morning. Literally in the first fifteen minutes, lying in bed, life makes sense, my delusions fall away, and I believe, perhaps more than I will for the rest of the day, in God. I don’t know what it is about morning. I’m sure it can all be explained through brain chemistry.
The only other time I get that feeling of clarity is when I hear the gospel. I’m not talking about the gospel of Jesus you get on religious television, or the gospel presented that is really more about the person presenting than the gospel itself.
I’m talking about the intrinsic idea there is something beautiful about life, but it’s not quite right. And the idea God is somehow making it right, and I can somehow be a part of that through a relationship with Jesus. This absurdity makes sense to me every time I hear it. And it hasn’t stopped making sense to me, though I’ve gone through waves of cynicism. Paul says the wisdom of God is the foolishness of man. And I can see both the foolishness and truth in the gospel. I’ve wanted to disassociate from all things christian because, at least in the media, we are so often represented by the ridiculous. But I’ve never been able to walk away from that simple message of the Gospel of Jesus.
A couple years ago I sat down with about twenty-five friends and asked them each five questions. I asked what they thought of Christians before they became one, then I asked when they realized there was darkness in life, then how they realized there was darkness in themselves, and what it looked like to have God break into that darkness. Then I asked what their life looked like now.
A film crew from South Africa filmed the interviews for the better part of four days. When they got home, they clipped together many of the answers and I was amazed that the clips, while coming from many different voices, had a common narrative as though it had been experienced by an individual.
I must have watched this clip twenty times in a row, one day, each time just getting more and more comfort. Of course it has some of the vocabulary of religion in it, but if you can get passed that, I think this piece is the story of what it means to be human.
The Open Table is a small-group book that anybody can buy to introduce the gospel to anybody else. Its designed so people can start a little small group, inviting folks over for dinner for about six weeks. There is a DVD that you can get as well that stimulates conversation.
My old and dear friend John MacMurray and I wrote the workbook together. If you are looking for my usual writing voice, kind of entertaining and fun, this isn’t your book. I tried to get out of the way on this one and just answer some questions. John did a terrific job putting together the scripture references and basic outline, and I wrote over the top of that. Anyway, you can find out more here.
Here is the video I was talking about. I’d love to know what you think and feel as you watch it.