Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mustard Seed

Did you know that I found my soul mate?

Relax, that's not news. I've known her for almost ten years, and two years ago she married the most wonderful man who is so, SO good for her. I want to move to San Francisco and be their next door neighbor!

But the reason I bring it up - is because I want to tell you a little story she relayed to me today. (Bear with me - this story is scattered all over the place!)

For Valentine's day, Kikr's husband gave her a lovely little necklace. It's a circle of glass surrounded by silver and inside, it holds a mustard seed.

Some of you read that description and already have an idea what it symbolizes, and have probably left to search for a similar necklace for yourself! That's okay. I'll wait.

Okay, back? Let's move on.

Kikr visited her doctor today - it was only the second visit with this doctor but she really likes her. If you've ever found a doctor or any other health professional that just puts you at ease and seems to connect with you - you'll understand how happy she is to have found this doc.

She feels that this doctor understands her, they relate well. They're simpatico.

Then as doctor was examining my friend, Kikr's necklace caught her eye. Finally when she went to listen to her heart doc asked, "What is that?"

Kikr told her it was a mustard seed.
"A mustard seed? Why?!"
"It's a symbol of faith. It's a reminder that even the tiniest bit of faith can achieve great results." Luke 17:5-6, Matthew 17:20

Kikr says she felt in that instant that their connection was gone.
She felt that the doctor immediately changed her view of Kikr - suddenly Kikr was one of 'those' people.

"And you know what?" Kikr asked me, "It only happens to Christians. If you're a Buddhist, the response is, 'Oh that's great. You're so enlightened.' If your Jewish, that's cool. But if you are Christian, you're one of 'those' people. I am so tired of it."

I agree with my friend's observation.
I think that is a chief factor in politics right now... if you identify as a Christian you are lumped into a category that describes you as closed-minded, ignorant, and uneducated. Apparently educated people can only think the same way.

I'll even say it doesn't work the other way around. If we meet someone who is of a different faith, or of no faith - we respond with "Okay. I'd still like to understand you. I will walk with you."

Or do we?
I feel that I do. I have a friend who is an atheist, and while I don't agree with him - I embrace him. With him I have some of the most wonderful discussions about faith.

Maybe not all Christians behave the way my friend and I do. (now, I'm not saying we're superior.) Maybe others have encountered Christians who immediately tell them they are wrong to have no faith, or wrong for not believing in Christ. Maybe they tell them they are destined for hell.
I personally don't know any Christians like that, but maybe they are out there. And if they are - well - they are bad PR!

I will admit that will point out wrong.
My atheist friend who is the midst of a divorce, told me he had reconnected with his high school sweetheart - and that they were having an affair. She's still married (and his divorce isn't final) They both have children.

I was not shy about telling him that what he was doing was wrong. He didn't like to hear it, but he heard me out. And I could only tell him what I thought, and how strongly I believed it - because I am his friend. If I had dismissed him when I met him - told him he was sinner right then - he would not have stood for my lecture!
He's given up the affair - and we are still friends.

How do you present as a Christian? Do you feel tagged by some people, or always embraced?


Jenni said...

I had a similar response from my doctor (funny that it was a doctor!) when she asked what I was reading - it was Chronicles of Narnia......

~ifer said...

I absolutely feel tagged by some people when I tell them I am a Christian. As sad as it is to admit this, the Christians that get the PR and the news stories are the ones that are usually acting the least like Christ of all. The bigots, and hatemongers, and intolerants are USUALLY what people think of, and that breaks my heart.
I have had times where I wanted to stand up and shout "I am not like those people!". Just because they call themselves "Christian" doesn't mean that those seeking to live like Christ approve of their actions.
Sorry for the novel of a comment, but this is a topic that is on my heart of late.

TRS said...

That reminds me.

When I first met Mr. Burns and we were in that - Oh my word I found a fine, fine man - mode -- I had a picture of us on my computer at work. One of my coworkers asked about my new boyfriend, and I pulled up the picture to show her just how wonderful he was.
She noticed the cross around his neck and asked, in a warning tone "Is he Christian?"

I recognized the tone. It was like - "Look out! He's one of THOSE!!" It ticked me off a little. So in response to her tone I replied, "Well, yeah. He's Catholic, just like me. A good Catholic man is so hard to find!"

I made sure to put that in - so that she'd know some of us are looking for people of faith!

Anonymous said...

TRS I fully, understand, try being known as The Preachers Kid, they aren't the best, they are always the evil ones, but, were not. We are just like everyone else. We are human and normal, growing up I use to tell people my dad helps people. But, then as I got older Im a christian and my dad''s a preacher, totally, said, wow! preachers kids are the worst, where did they ever get that? Or like you said, oh! your one of them,IM with you totally dislike being labeled.

Anonymous said...

Aright. Not here to start controversy. I was raised in a Born Again Christian household. My father was a pastor, until I came out of the closet, when he stepped down from the ministry. I'm not here to debate religion, I just don't ascribe to the same one as you do. That being said, I have many friends of different religions. My best friend is actually born again and I was at her baptism. Honestly, I think that there is a stigma that is associated with Christians. There are many fanatics out there who use the blible and Christ's teachings to suit their own purposes, and I think that is where the stigma comes from. That and to be honest, as a non believer, it is hard to deal with people who try to force their beliefs on you. Not saying that everyone is like this, but the ones that are, ruin it for others. I have no problem when someone is trying to witness to me, but when I say thank you, but no, that is my decision, and people should respect that. My best friend finds this hard to do. Something that many christians forget, is that your life is supposed to be an example of christs work. you can shout it from the rooftops as much as possible, but if you dont walk the walk, or even make the inner changes that are supposed to come with being saved, then people are going to see through that. The change is within, and then translates to the rest of your life. I am not attacking Christians, I am just saying that some of the fanatics out there ruin it for the true christians. The reason you don't see it in religions such as Buddhism is because of the fact that you don't really see that many Buddhists radicals. But, believe it or not, their is a stigma associated with Muslims, Jews, and other religions that have fanatics as well. I think assumptions in ANY case are wrong. Anyway the point of this book I just wrote is to defeat the stigma by showing the world that Christians are normal people. Jsut be you and live your life!

TRS said...

T!nk - You make a great point! I agree. That was part of the point that I made, is that although I don't personally know any Christians who attack others - that is the stereotype I have to fight.
I'd rather judge people by their own actions than by the pigeonhole they might fit into.

I do have one Catholic friend who is quite an evangelist - even telling me what I should and shouldn't do. (ex - I'm allergic to fish so I don't always make a big effort to avoid meat on Lenten Fridays - and she always gives me what for. small example but Grrr. )

I have a few gay friends and tend to support their rights for civil unions and joint health care - etc. --- and she always wants to tell me how wrong I am.
So I turn around and tell her how wrong and judgmental and unfair she is!!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad there are many christians in my life who are like you. My best friend is a born again christian and although we have different view we have learned to coexist, and thats what its realyl all about! Have you heard of the ove "Lord save us from your followers"