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Dear Friend,

Right now, I  should be going to bed before returning to classes tomorrow after a bout with the flu (not fun, I don’t recommend trying it) but I really want to get a few thoughts out. Just as a warning… I’m going to put some things out there that you might not agree with. Don’t freak out, let’s just go out for coffee sometime and talk about it, I want to hear your side of the story.

In my last post I talked about living out one’s faith… this is, I believe the biggest struggle people of faith have. How do we do this, how do we live our lives in a way that glorifies God EVERY moment, of EVERY day? Well, I tend to look at actions, how do our actions show those around us God’s love, but this isn’t the whole picture, is it? I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is feeling frustrated with the lack of balance in how the church operates? I don’t really have a good way of expressing what she was trying to say, mostly because I’m not sure if I fully understood it, but also partially because I don’t think she really saw where I was coming from in the conversation… In any case, she reminded me of something important. Words.

I don’t like tracts. I probably never will. I just don’t  think they are capable of expressing the complexity of God’s love, or Christ’s life accurately. Yes, I do think that there have been people for whom tracts have made an impact, but I struggle to see how something so impersonal is the best way. I also don’t like fear-based conversions. I don’t think using fear should EVER be justified in introducing Christ to people’s lives. I don’t have all the answers, not only am I one person, but I’m a young teenager with limited life experience, and I’m human, meaning extremely fallible… but I don’t think anyone on earth can decide who God loves or doesn’t love (mostly because I think God loves everyone, but back to my point) and I don’t think it’s right to tell people that they’re going to hell. Whether it’s true or not. I thought the point of free will was that God wanted us to love Him/Her (I refuse to choose) because we wanted to not because we had too… if we tell people they are going to hell unless they love Her/Him and their only reason for following Christ’s teaching is so that they don’t burn in some “lake of fire” then that’s not love… that’s coercion and them trying to save their eternal life. God’s love is selfless and our love of God should be selfless too.

Despite these trepidations (I think I might sort of be making up words now), and my fear that when we try to “Save” the nations and convert everyone in the universe to Christianity we’re missing a big chunk of faith… I understand that words has to be part of living for Christ. Now When I look to Christ’s life I don’t see pieces of paper handed out on street corners or Bible thumping pastors, but seeing how Easter Weekend hadn’t happened yet, I recognize I have every chance of being wrong… what I do see is a Christ who lived, and told stories of love. I want to be able to say that living a life of love is enough… but will it work if we don’t explain why we love?

Maybe this post is where I begin sounding like a crazy person, whose ideas on faith are, I don’t know, different… But if I’ve got it all wrong, and God really wants me to be out on the street corners handing out those blasted tracts, then I can only hope there is forgiveness for my type of love.

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo