Today I was sitting in a Panera Bread eating my lunch. This man came up to me and asked if he could sit with me and chat. Not wanting to offend, I said yes. Turns out he was a “Christian Minister” and what follows is part of the conversation…
Minister: Are you a Christian?
Me: Well, what do you consider a Christian?
Minister: You live your life in accordance with the Bible, you follow the teachings of Jesus, you go to church, you tithe to your church, you follow the bylaws of your church – and you spread the word of God everywhere you go.
Me: Well, by those standards – no – I am not what you would consider a Christian.
Minister: Well then – what are you?
Me: I’m a human being.
Minister: NO – what religion do you believe in?
Me: I believe in human kindness. I believe we are all one people – all deserving of love, respect and kindness.
Minister: So – you have no faith?
Me: I have an abundance of faith.
Minister: But you don’t go to church, you follow no religion – how can you have any faith?
Me: Some days it isn’t easy – but most days I believe in the goodness each of us have within ourselves to help others, to love others, to show respect and kindness toward one another.
Minister: You’re a dreamer.
Me: As are you.
Minister: If you don’t follow the teachings of Jesus, you are damned to walk the road that leads to hell.
Me: I don’t believe in hell.
Minister: Well, what do you believe in?
Me: Love, Kindness, Goodness, Tolerance, Respect,
Minister: You need Jesus in your life.
Me: How do you know this? You don’t know me at all. You know nothing about my life, you know nothing of what I do in my life – And yet – you judge me.
Minister: I’m not judging – I’m telling you, you need Jesus.
Me: And if I don’t have Jesus?
Minister: You are on the road to hell – there is no saving your soul – there is no hope for your life…
Me: I live a good life – I’m kind, I’m loving, I’m tolerant and respectful and yet – you’re telling me if I don’t have Jesus – nothing about my life matters?
Minister: Jesus can save you.
Me: I don’t need saving.
Minister: You are on the road to hell.
Me: Well – my road is paved with good intentions.
Minister: You need Jesus
Me: You need to leave now…
This – this is what makes me crazy. This man had never seen me before – and God willing – will never see me again. And yet – he felt he had the absolute right to tell me my life didn’t matter unless I had Jesus making all my decisions. This man was an ordained minister – supposedly a man of God – telling me my life didn’t matter. He certainly did nothing that would entice me to follow his religion. If anything – he convinced me I don’t need to go to church to be a good, loving, kind, caring person.
I have people of all religions and no religions in my life. I love them all, I respect them all, and I do not judge them. I respect that this is what they need in their life to get them from day to day, and I would never tell them their life didn’t matter – every life matters.
Apparently, I’m on the road to hell – I wonder where that intersects with the yellow-brick road?