5- Longing for Understanding – “The Meeting”


Why would Joe go to this meeting let alone in a church? Could he really learning anything more than what he already knew? Come on, there is their side and my side. I can be right just as much as they could be right. What difference does it make anyway?

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“The Meeting” 

Joe pulled up to Sarah’s corner about 5 minutes early so he turn right and drove around the block so he could arrive right on time. As he pulled up in front of her house, he was having second thoughts about going and was thinking about quickly driving away. Maybe he could call Sarah and tell her that a friend just called and had an emergency that needed his help and he would not be able to make it. He was about to taking off when Sarah came around the corner of the house and waved as she skipped out to the car. Hi Joe, your right on time! Getting into the car Sarah quickly commented; I really had a great time at dinner last night and have been looking forward to tonight. I didn’t think 6:50 would ever arrive. I really think this should be interesting and I can’t wait to hear what Pastor Dan has to say. He also has some guest speaker coming. I can’t remember his name, but I think he is some type of scientist. As they drove to the church for the meeting, Joe confessed he was having second thoughts about going. But somehow when we are together you put things at ease and give me the space I need to figure these things out. You always seem to have a confidence in what you believe. They both sat quietly as they drove to the meeting when Sarah noticed a slight smirk on Joes face. Hay what are you smiling about? Joe turned a shade of red as he tried to come up with an answer when in reality he was thinking about how cute Sarah looked. Sarah not realizing it was her quickly add – no mater what it is – I am glad your here. I really think you will add some intriguing direction to the conversation of the evening and I am very interested to hear how they respond. Should be a lot fun and anyway I really was looking forward to seeing you again. Joe smiled and said – right back at you.

They arrived at the church and while walking up the steps to the front door, Joe could feel his anxiety building as he was still fighting the feelings he had the last time he was here. He remembered how he was looking for some answers and how he felt he was not welcome. Sarah realizing this, looked up at him with a smile and said relax, it will be ok and we will have some fun. It is a lively group and any questions can be asked by anyone. You don’t have to believe in God or evolution to be here. We are here so we can get some answers to all those questions. Anyway, your with me and I will protect you. Yah right, Joe quickly commented with a big smile.

As they walked in Joe could see a group of kid’s around their age standing in the back joking around while some of the older folks were finding their way towards the front where Pastor Dan was standing with his guest. Hi Sarah, come join us Mark hollered. As they walked over to the group, Joe recognized several people from high school, but really didn’t know them as they were a couple of years younger. Sarah quickly introduced Joe to each of them. They all seemed to be nice as they told Joe they were glad he came and that it was nice to meet him. Didn’t you play in a band for a while one of the guys commented. I did for a while but now I just play for fun. They heard someone say the meeting was about to start so the group worked their way towards the front when Joe grabbed Sarah’s arm and said, lets sit back here a little. Sarah smiled, grabbed Joes hand and slid into the seat near the back of the pack.

Pastor Dan opened the meeting by introducing his guest speaker Dr. Bob Conrad, who quickly said, just call me Bob. Bob quickly stepped into the discussion by stating; “in the beginning there was a big bang” or was it “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Such a big question and of course both can’t be true he continued. Joe looked at Sarah and smiled remembering he had stated the same thing. Bob continued by saying that so many people make the topic very hard to understand, jumping around from one area to another, changing how objects are dated, talking about theories as if they are fact, and most important, the use of one set of possible assumptions in their scientific exploration and never other possible assumptions which has the possibility to show a totally different outcome. For many of us confusion settles into our minds and we don’t know what is true and what is not. We only know what we have been told. Many times we don’t even question what we have been told unless something happens that triggers our mind into doubt. One of the very first steps we need to take in breaking this down, is that no mater which way you believe, it takes a certain level of faith. There we have said it – it takes faith either way! Once we allow ourselves to embrace this, we are on our way to decide what we choose to place our faith in. Joe sit there contemplating what was just said, lost in his world of thought, wondering why anyone would need faith to believe in what science has already proven to be true. Then Bob stated that while many in the science world believe in evolution many others in the science world now believe in a creator. People who supported the theories of evolution have concluded that for any of this to happen someone had to put it in motion. Joe’s being someone who took pride in being able to see through a sales pitch, was taken back by the idea that he had never heard about the side of the science world that believed in creation. He began to wonder why, did he have a closed mind to this possibility? If this is true, than why is it not talked about in school, Joe asked himself.

The evening seemed to fly by and Joe tried to listen to everything that was talked about. The discussion topics covered how objects are dated, the differences between micro and macro evolution, the big bang theory, the creation theory, an old earth vs. a new earth, the population of the earth, the odds behind the possibility of anything just happening, and finally a possible alternate theory to evolution. Joe’s mind was bouncing around from subject to subject when Sarah poked him in the ribs and said; ready to go. Joe didn’t even realize the short presentation was over and people were starting to get up to leave. Sure, let’s go get a coke if you have time. Ok, but just for a short while Sarah replied. I have to get up early tomorrow and make a couple stops before work. They quickly made their way out the side door, jumped in the car and arrived at the local restaurant ordering up a couple cokes.

So what did you think about the discussions tonight Sarah asked. I’m not sure. There are so many different ideas, concepts, and theories to consider. But I would say that the biggest thing I learned is that it would take faith in either belief if evolution is still a theory. I really believed it was fact. That’s all I have ever been taught. If there are other concepts, why are we not told about them? Why are they not discussed in our schools? I know what you are talking about Sarah commented. I learned what you learned in school. But my mom and dad also took me to church where I was told about creation. Talk about confused! I really struggled with the God vs. evolution thing. Sometimes I wondered why God would let people think the way they do if he is real. Why He would give us the ability to think and not give us answers? What was His plan allowing the education world and the science world to teach evolution anyway? The difference is that I was taught both ways of believing and anyone that never goes to a church never hears about creation or at least gives it any serious consideration. That’s true Joe replied. I know I didn’t.

Sarah dropped some money on the table, smiled at Joe and said my treat! I had a good time and I am glad you would go with me to listen to Dr. Bob. I learned some things I didn’t understand tonight and it sound like you have some new ides to explore also. Yup, you can say that again responded Joe. I guess we really should get going. Morning is coming quick.

Joe held Sarah’s hand as he walked her to the door and was about to say good-by when Sarah reached up and planted a big kiss on him, looked him in the eye and said, you are so much different that I thought you were. I better be careful, I could start to really like you. Joe smiled saying, I like you to Sarah and I have a really good time when we get together. But I have this feeling that there is something more. You are a great guy Sarah said with a smile. I enjoy our time together, all the talks, the laughs, going out to dinner not to mention the great food, but I have concluded that God is real and I want to make sure that who ever I get really serious with shares my belief. It is important to me. Joe looked at Sarah, put his arm around her and whispered in her ear – I understand. Joe turned and started towards his car when he stopped, turned and asked Sarah if she would go to dinner with him Friday night. I have some place special I would like to take you. Sound intriguing Sarah replied. Pick you up at 7:00 Joe shouted. I will call you later this week. Sarah waved as Joe drove off. Sarah walked in the house wondering where Joe was going to take her. Then she slipped into her thoughts about Joe and his different beliefs, whether he would ever change his mind, if he would ever accept God as real, if he could ever become that special person she could share her life with. Smiling to herself, she looked up and said I guess this one is up to you God as she headed off to bed.

to be continued

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So where will Joe take Sarah Friday night? Did the discussions from the meeting put any credible new information on the table? Is it possible that God exist? 

4- Longing for Understanding – “The Phone Call”


As the adventure continues Joe asked himself why we have so many different beliefs and understandings in this world. Why it makes it so hard for people to relate to each other. The differences in culture, religions, sciences and how this all began seems to complicate life. Who am I? Why am I here? Who is right and who is wrong; both cannot be correct.

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“The Phone Call”

Two weeks had passed since Joe and Sarah had gone out to dinner. Joe had been thinking about Sarah but also knew she had different beliefs and he wasn’t any too sure they could ever be comfortable in taking another step in getting to know each other, if she was even interested or if he should dig deeper into her beliefs. Sarah continued to wonder if Joe would call back, if she should call him, were their differences more than either of them could deal with.

It was Friday night and Joe was out with his friend at the local Brew Pub for dinner and a few drinks. The evening rolled along and everyone was laughing and having fun. As the evening wound down, Joe left for home where he crawled into bed needing a good night’s sleep. After a short time he began to roll and toss and woke up. He couldn’t stop thinking about Sarah. There is something special about her. I could really like this girl Joe told himself. But the thoughts of all those rules, the feeling he had when he visited her church that Sunday morning kept telling him to run. Then he would see Sarah’s face, her smile and how comfortable she was talking to him about any subject that they picked. How could she be so different in such a good way. Joe finally made a decision that he would call her the next morning and see if she would like to go out again. With that resolved in his mind, Joe fell into a comfortable sleep until morning.

Later that morning, Joe picked up his phone and after punching in Sarah’s phone number he waited for her to pick up. He heard her voice; Hi, this is Sarah. I’m not available to take your call right now. Please leave a message. Joe stumbling a little as he stated; Hi Sarah. This is Joe. When you get this message give me a call. I would love to get together and talk some more. Maybe over lunch or dinner or even just a coffee someplace. Later – Joe.

A few moments later Sarah came in from outside and noticed that her phone had a message. Picking it up off the counter she hit the voicemail button and heard Joe’s message. Sitting down for a moment to think about his question, she told herself that she liked Joe, but she also had concerns that this was going nowhere. That he was set in his way and was not about to change. This was probably not a life she should want to embrace and couldn’t accept changing her beliefs after she had worked so hard to figure things out for herself just because she liked Joe. After some time had passed, Sarah found herself remembering how she felt about life not all that long ago and how a friend had taken the time to talk with her, taking time to answer questions and to just be there while she figured her life out. Feeling a little guilty about how she had just been thinking, she told herself she could just be a good friend. Picking up her phone she hit return this call.

Joe heard his phone ring, picked it up, flipping it open he put it to his ear and said hi, this is Joe. Hi Joe, this is Sarah. Sorry I missed your call. I was outside. That’s ok replied Joe. I was just thinking that maybe if you are up to it we could get together again. I still have all these questions and I think you may have some of the answers, or at least you may be able to steer me in the right direction. I also had a lot of fun the other night at dinner and would like to see you again. When were you thinking Sarah replied. I am open to any time, but some time this week-end if you think you can. I know it is short notice but how about dinner tonight or even lunch today if you are free, Joe added. Sarah hearing a sense of urgency in Joe’s voice, said she could do either but it would have to be a late lunch because she was still kicking around in her grubs. Joe quickly replied, let’s do dinner if that is ok. That way neither of us will be rushed. I have a couple of thing I could get done yet today if either works for you. Sounds good Sarah replied adding when and where. I am open to anyplace Joe commented. How about the Brew Pub? They have some great food. Sounds good replied Sarah. I will pick you up around 6:30 if that works Joe asked. Can you make it 6:00 Sarah requested. I have to get up early in the morning tomorrow. It is my week to help set-up at church.

Joe pulled up to Sarah’s house, got out and started up the sidewalk and noticed Sarah in her back yard. He rang the door bell and no one answered so he walked around the side of the house to the back finding Sarah talking to her mom and dad. She waved him over and introduced her parents. Joe this is my Mom and Dad. Hi Mom and Dad Joe replied. It’s really nice to meet you. They returned the compliment to Joe and said, we understand you two are going to eat at the Brew Pub. We really like the food there especially the nacho’s. Joe quickly replied that they were one of his favorites. They talked a little more and then Joe and Sarah headed out. While he was driving Joe was wondering if Sarah’s parents had every saw him there with his friends. They sure seemed very nice and if they had he could see where Sarah got her personality from. Not bad he thought.

They ordered up the nacho’s just because the idea was planted by Sarah’s mom and dad. Sounded good and they both ordered up a beer to wash the nacho’s down with. They talked a little about the past couple weeks events. After a few minutes Joe made a comment that her parents seemed to be really nice. Yes they are pretty awesome Sarah replied. You know they never gave up on me and stood behind me when I was going through all the issues I had while in high school and college. They were always there to answer questions, asked me some questions I didn’t want to hear or deal with, but never stopped loving me. They are pretty nice. You mean you were a little rebellious at one time Joe added. Yes, I have to admit I was and I can slip off the edge every once in a while even now. Life throws things at us sometimes that are hard to handle. You can say that again Joe added.

Remember our discussion the other night when you told me about your God? Sure do replied Sarah. I asked you about evolution and reminded you that science has proven that everything evolved. You told me you believe we were created and I think I said that they both cannot be correct. This is really bothering me and I would really like to understand how you have come to a conclusion that God created everything. Well, there is a lot of evidence that supports the idea of micro-evolution and that is generally where the major problem arises from, stated Sarah. When you mix micro-evolution with macro-evolution into one mixing bowl, everything gets confusing. You have to keep it separate. I am not sure I understand what you mean stated Joe. Well look at it this way replied Sarah. A dog can become a different looking dog, different color, size, and look. Dogs from the dog world can interbreed, but in the end you still have a dog or some highbred of a dog like mixing a dog and a fox or a wolf. They are still from one kind. In my book they are still a dog. This is micro-evolution. When that dog changes into a cat or some new animal that now doesn’t exist, we have macro-evolution. Macro-evolution is the foundation of evolution and it must work for evolution from a single cell to be true. Wow – I never thought of it that way before, commented Joe. I always just heard the word evolution and could see that it does work, so I felt that is where we all came from. Hey Joe, I know you are not to high on my church, but we are having a study on evolution and creation on Sunday night. It would be pretty low-key, not like Sunday morning services. Would you consider coming with me? I think you would really enjoy it. Maybe it will help answer some of your questions. Joe gave it some thought and said he would. In the back of his mind he was thinking answers would be good but he would also be able to see Sarah again. Meet you there or can I pick you up Joe asked. Sure. Pick me up around 6:50 tomorrow night.

After they had finished their dinner they decided to call it a night. Joe took Sarah home and walked her to the door. Sarah I really had a good time tonight. He leaned over and gave Sarah a small kiss and a little hug and said see you tomorrow night at 6:50! On Joe’s ride home all he could think about was the discussion about evolution and of course the kiss. Back and forth his mind would race. Once home he settled back and let the night sink in and slid off into a pleasant sleep.

to be continued

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Pondering Questions

Had Sarah’s parents made an impression on Joe. What was it that Joe missed? Were they just nice or are all Christian getting a bad rape? Why do some people claiming to be a Christian act so badly, become two-faced on issue, act differently depending where they are and who they are with?

Will Joe learn something new about evolution? Will he open his thoughts to the possibility that a creator exist? Is it possible that it is God? Is their really a big difference between micro and macro evolution? What are the chances of evolution happening? Will Joe be received well when he goes to church with Sarah. How will others treat him that possible know his history? Will they think less of Sarah for bring Joe and becoming his friend? 

3- Longing for Understanding – The Dinner


When we are struggling to find the answers to the things of life, many times things just don’t seem to make any sense. Even if we do continue to ask questions we find answers hard to come by. Maybe the answers we do get are not what we want to hear. We may just give up and turn our minds off becoming determined to live one day at a time. We look for that comfort we seek, keeping our boat floating in the calm waters. We generally don’t care to have it rocked too much so we stop asking questions. We have accepted life as it exist.

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“The Dinner”

Joe had just got off work Friday night and made a quick stop at his favorite watering hole for a cold one when he spotted Sarah walking the opposite direction on the other side of the street. He walked on in and sat down, ordered up a cold beer and took a good drink to wash down the work week grime. While sitting there, he recalled the conversation he had with Sarah the week before. Maybe he should give her a call and see if she would like to go out to dinner. Who knows, maybe it would be fun. So what if she works for a preacher. About half way through his beer, he told the bar tender he would be right back. Quickly he slid out the side door to the parking lot, opening his car door, he reached into his glove box and retrieved Sarah’s business card. Once he returned, he started to call Sarah on her cell phone but stopped in the middle thinking – what am I doing wanting to take a Christian out to dinner anyway. He took another big swallow of his beer and said – but why not. She is nice enough, quite cute and what harm can it do anyway. So he punched in the phone number and just a couple of rings later he was talking to Sarah.

Hi Sarah. This is Joe. Hi Joe, Sarah replied. I was wondering if you would still like to go out to dinner some evening with me, Joe quickly asked? I’m really happy you called, Sarah replied. I didn’t think I would hear back from you once you found out that I worked for the preacher. Joe quickly interrupted – well I was not sure either, but you are pretty nice and I would like to talk some more. How about tomorrow night around seven o’clock, Joe asked? I can pick you up if you like. Where would you like to eat. How about that new restaurant just outside of town, Sarah replied. I have wanted to try it and I understand it is not too expensive. Sound good to me said Joe. Do you still live at home. Yes, same place. What can I say. It does save a lot of money, but I do pay my Mom some room and board now that I am working full-time. College was so expensive.

Ok, pick you up at seven o’clock, Joe stated. See you tomorrow, replied Sarah.

The next day rolled around and before either of them knew it, they were on their way to the restaurant. As they drove along, Joe and Sarah exchanged some small talk about work the last week and just little tidbits they thought of. Joe had called ahead and made a reservation requesting a table off to the side where they could openly talk should they get into a discussion that Joe was sure would come up; at least in the back of his mind he wanted it to. Once they arrived, their waiter escorted them to their table, gave them the menu’s, explained the specials and said he would be right back with the water. He asked if they would like something else to drink and Joe looking at Sarah and asked what she would like. She replied, just water for now. I would like to decide what I will eat first. Joe followed suit. The waiter returned with the water and took their orders. Sarah ordered the Filet and Joe ordered the T-bone. Along with their stake dinners they both ordered a glass of Merlot and settled into a conversation waiting for their dinner to be served. When the waiter delivered the glasses of wine to the table, Joe finally realized that Sarah was comfortable around an alcoholic drink. With a little sarcasm in his voice he asked how her boss would feel if he was to walk in while they were drinking a glass of wine. Sarah looked directly into Joes eyes and said; you really do have a lopsided view of a Christian don’t you? He may just join us if we asked, commented Sarah. So what are the restriction of your Christian belief anyway, Joe responded. Well it is obviously not what you think Joe. If you really want to know, I will tell you anything you would like to ask. I just ask that you try to listen and don’t make pre-judgmental thoughts before I explain it to you, commented Sarah.

Joe sat back in his chair and thought about what Sarah had just said and after a few short moments he asked her how her meal was changing the subject away from religion. They both continued to finish their meal, talking a little about his love for music and her passion for horses and the outdoors.

A short while later, the waiter was topping off their water and asked if they would like to see the desert menu. They ordered desert and while they were waiting for it, Joe looking directly into Sarah’s eyes – said – alright Sarah – I have cleared my mind of anything negative and I really want to hear your version of what Christianity is about. I really like you and I feel like you will be honest with me. I would like to find out what it is that makes this difference I see in you. I have never felt comfortable enough with anyone to openly ask these questions that keep bothering me. I don’t even know where to start. So just tell me what you can about this God you seem to know.

Sarah looked at Joe and with a smile on her face she said it is easy to know God. It’s not hard. He never laid on a bunch of laws and rules just to make believing in Him difficult and not fun. He did just the opposite. Once He created everything about 6500 years ago, He just said to love one another and appreciate Me for who I am and what I have given you. Not very hard, Sarah commented. Then this world fell apart and became full of evil, so bad that He had Noah build a ship to save what was good and he wiped out the world as it was, changed things in such a way that the past is hard to identify or understand for anyone coming along after the flood, especially today added Sarah. Then as things started to go down hill again, He decided to send His Son who we know as Jesus to explain to us what we needed to do. I would guess that people forgot everything that Noah told them after the flood and people just couldn’t figure it out anymore. Jesus tried to stop all the crazy “man rules” and told everyone to believe in Him. He told us to Love God and love our neighbor just like we would love ourselves. That is basically it. We just have to accept Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness for the crazy bad things we have done in our lives and He will forgive us. We become one of His and we will live with Him forever once we leave this world. You see Joe, not a lot of rules and not very hard to do. We only have to accept His word.

Joe sat in his chair trying to grasp everything Sarah had just told him. Looking across the table he said; what about all this science and the dinosaurs and the big bang and the list goes on that tells us that we evolved which would make your belief totally wrong. I have been taught that this earth is billions of years old. How can what you say be correct? Is science wrong and God right? I am not the smartest cookie in the jar, but they both can’t be right.

Sarah looked at Joe and told him that this subject is a much longer topic than they had time for tonight. Joe quickly stated that he would like to get together again and continue their discussion. I still have doubts about everything you told me, Joe added. Sarah agreed, Joe paid the dinner bill and he took Sarah home.

As they arrived back at Sarah’s driveway, Joe look at her and said you are different, but different in a good way. Sarah reached over and kissed Joe on the cheek  and told him she had enjoyed the evening, the dinner was out of this world, the company was pretty nice also and if he every wanted to talk some more just to give her a call. Joe smiled back and said she would be hearing from him.

to be continued

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Pondering questions

– So is Sarah correct? Are there really only a few rules to being a Christian? What are those rules? What about that crazy comment about the earth being 6500 years old? And what about all those religious rules we always hear about if you were a Christian; can’t drink , can’t dance, can’t go to shows, can’t play cards even. Who made up those rules? Are they all real?

– Joe has his points. Science said they have proof that the earth is billions of years old and the everything evolved and was not created. Do the rules of science get into the way of common sense and rational thinking? Why did Joe feel so uncomfortable when he visited Sarah’s church that Sunday morning and why did he feel the people wanted him to leave when Sarah is just the opposite? Who is this Jesus person anyway? Why does Joe feel that religion is full of rules that take the fun out of life?

2- Longing for Understanding – “The Friend”


As we continue our search for answers, we contemplate what it is that drives people to become who they are, how they act, what they believe and why. We contemplate the religions of the world and how they started. Which one is the real deal. What rules are God driven and what rules are man driven? Does God even exist? What makes man side with one belief or another? Just where does one place their faith? Do I place my faith in evolution or in God? Joe has decided to move on with his life and forget about looking for answers to all those questions.

“The Friend”

Joe pulled over and parked in front of the new party store stopping to buy a six-pack of beer for the evening when the girl he noticed at the church the other day came walking out with a package of chips and some soda pop. He smiled as he walked on by when he felt her reach out touching his arm and said hi Joe. He stopped, turned around with a smile and said, wow, it’s been a long time Sarah. How are you doing? I hope life is treating you well. Sarah looked at him and told him she was doing fine and that her life was finally kicking in gear. She had landed a good job she enjoyed and was settling into life after school. They exchanged some  small talk and Joe told Sarah he needed to get going. As he started to walk away Sarah told him that she noticed him the other day at church and that she was looking for him after the service was over but couldn’t find him. Joe stopped, turning back around, he looked at her and said that you people didn’t want me there and I knew it, so I just split. Sarah’s jaw dropped, having a look of dismay she started to tell Joe that was not true. Joe stopped her and told her that he could see the heads turning and the whispers. He knew he was not wanted. Anyway you guys have way to many rules and regulations for me, stated Joe. Sarah had gathered her thoughts just a little and offered up that she didn’t know what rules he was talking about. She sure didn’t feel that there were any rules that disrupted her life. Anyway, how would you know if you don’t really check into it, Sarah added. Joe had stopped walking and after a short thought offered up an invitation to Sarah. Sarah if you are really interested in how I feel and what I think, how about you join me for a drink at the brew pub and restaurant and we can exchange ideas on this topic. Joe was sure she would not accept his invite.

Sarah quickly gave this some thought and said that she couldn’t because she had to get back to work. Joe knew he was right. However, Sarah offered that if he would like to meet there around five o’clock this afternoon she would love to meet up with him. Joe was surprised and before he could give it much of a thought Sarah started to turn away saying she had to get going or she would be late getting back to work. Joe quickly thought that it couldn’t hurt, he was free at that time and anyway Sarah was kind of cute so he quickly replied that he would see her there. Ok – latter replied Sarah.

Five o’clock rolled around and Joe had arrived a little early and ordered up a beer while he waited to see if Sarah would really show. It was five o’clock when Joe looked up and saw Sarah walk through the doors. She spotted him sitting up at the bar so she walked on over, saying hi she sat up on the chair next to him. Joe looked at her and told her he was not sure she would really show up. Sarah looked him in the eye and said without hesitation – why wouldn’t I. Joe had set the tone of the conversation into a bit of an uneasy state, but they stated talking about their high school and some of the class mates that they both knew.

The bar tender finally got around to asking Sarah what she would like and she ordered up a Coke. Shortly after he had returned with her drink, someone turned the radio up a little loud by accident which got everyone’s attention for a few seconds stopping all conversation in its tracks. It was then that Sarah remembered that Joe once played in a small band in school. She turned to Joe and said – didn’t you play the guitar and sing a little while in school? Do you still play at all asked Sarah. Joe replied yes and was really surprised Sarah remembered he had played as they knew each other but never hung out with the same crowd much. I will have to hear you play some time Sarah added. If I remember right you were pretty good.

Getting a little more serious Sarah looked at Joe and stated; alright, let’s get back to the topic we started earlier today. You said that you felt unwanted last Sunday morning when you stopped in at my church. You told me you believed that our church had too many rules and regulations. That you felt the people did not want you there. Well, tell me why would you feel that way added Sarah. Joe looked at her Coke and quickly stated that he liked the flavor of beer, that it was obvious to him that because of her beliefs she could not drink beer because she ordered a Coke. Sarah quickly responded that if she would have wanted a beer she would have ordered one. She just needed to drive home later so she ordered a Coke. Joe was taken back by Sarah’s quick response, adding that I just thought that all you religious people were not allowed to drink anything that had alcohol in it. Sarah quickly responded stating; that is the problem with so may people, they don’t take the time to find out what God is really all about. They take up a position in their mind and never investigate anything about Him and what he truly represents. I was like that once and after I decided to dig into things for myself, I found that so many thing I thought were true, were not, Sarah added. Oh, there are religions out there that have added many man-made rules and regulations and quite honestly they really give us Christians a bad name and I don’t like it! Wow – Joe was taken back by Sarah and was at a lose for words. Joe quickly changed the conversation back to talking about high school and all their old classmates. Sarah finished her Coke and said she needed to leave as she dropped some cash on the bar to pay for her drink. Joe said it was fun and they should do it again some time. Sarah smiled saying see you around and started to walk towards the door. Joe’s mind started whirling, he quickly through some money down on the bar, left his unfinished beer sitting, quickly making his way out the door to catch Sarah and asked if she would join him for dinner some evening. Sarah opened her purse and handed him her business card and said call me and we will set a date.

Joe walked to his car, opened the door and slid in. He was still think about his drink with Sarah when he looked at her business card and found that her job was as the assistant to the pastor of the church he had been at. Joe’s head started to spin and the thought of Sarah working for a church entered into his head so he just threw her business card in his glove box and drove away.

To be continued . . .

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Pondering questions

– What was it that Sarah was trying to say? That all churches are not the same? That God has only one way to act and one way to believe? That rules that are man-made are not always good in God’s eyes? That all religious beliefs are not designed by God?

– What was Joe thinking when he asked Sarah out for a drink? What was going on in his mind when he realized that Sarah worked for a church that he felt uncomfortable in? Where has Joe gone wrong in his thinking about God? If Sarah is not against drinking a beer, what else has he been wrong about when it comes to Christianity? Why would the people in that church have made him feel so unwelcome when Sarah shows another side. What do you think Joe should do?

1- Longing for Understanding – “The Party”


I continue to hear talks about the Christian religion and what it has to offer as well as all the restrictions it seems to impose on those that decide to follow it. I hear Christians tell that God is full of love while I hear the non-believer talk about how if God loved us so much, why did he let that young child suffer? Why does he let war happen? If that is your god I don’t want anything to do with him is often stated. Searching for a way to ask some key questions, a short story came to mind that could set in motion some real questions that the Christian community should really contemplate and attempt to find answers too.

“The Party”

Joe was out late into the evening partying with his friends. He had brought along his guitar and everyone was singing and dancing around the fire having a good time. When the music died down, someone began talking about things that really upset him most and several others joined into the conversation. Before long they were all sitting around the fire getting deeper into this conversation. Later into the evening several of them decided they had to leave, but Joe was still sitting by the fire. Before long he realized he was now all alone leaning against the tree he had used as a chair back. He was setting there contemplating the evenings discussions  and decided to finished his drink when sleep overtook him. He suddenly woke-up just as the sun was coming up. Getting up he shook the kinks out, gathered up his things, walked to his car and drove off. Still feeling the effects of the night and still troubled by all the discussion of the night before, he pulled off the road for a few minutes just to pull himself together. Something jolted him out of his thoughts as he could hear faint singing coming from somewhere. He rolled his window down and realized it was coming from across the street. Looking over he could see the doors of a local church were open, the same church he had driven by his whole life, and the music seemed to be inviting him in. After a little time mulling over all that was talked about the evening before, his curiosity and love for music took over and he decided to get a little closer. Opening the car door he walked across the street, walked up the first tier of concrete steps leading into the church and sat down. After some time had passed, the music stopped which he had enjoyed and the pastor started to speak. He thought he was talking about love and kindness to one another. Joe struggled to hear what was being said so he got up, walk inside and slid into the back role of seats where he was able to sit quietly by himself and just listen.

As the pastor of this church continue his teaching, he felt the discussions of the prior evening coming to the surface of his thoughts. He began to feel uneasy and felt that the pastor was talking directly to him. After some time had passed, he also begin to notice that some of the people in the church had taken notice of him. He was still wearing the clothes he had partied in all night and probably smelled a little like the beer he had drunk. While it did not bother him, it appeared to him that it bothered others around him. More heads begin to turn and people began to take notice that there was a local boy in the church who was not a regular. In fact this was the first time they had seen him there. He could see their heads turning and the looks and the whispers that started to flow from one person to another. He recognized that one of the people in the church was an old friend he had went to school with. At that point he had lost his connection to the pastors message and just before the pastor finished speaking he decided to just slip out the door and make his get away.

It was a small town and most everyone knew everyone else. Those that went to church knew most of those who did not. After the pastor finished his teaching, he offered a time for anyone who heard what he was speaking about and felt that they should come forward and confess that they had not been showing compassion for those in need, he would love to pray for them. After some time of waiting and no one making a move, the music stopped and the church service was closed. As the people were leaving they were talking and laughing.

What the people didn’t realize was that the young man who came in was still sitting in his car across the street. Now Joe was wondering what it was that they could be so happy about. After all, he heard what the sermon was about, he knew how he and his friends felt about this Christian religion thing and how they had just made him feel; that he didn’t belong, that he was not really wanted, that he was disrupting their service. Maybe that is why they were happy – he left.

Joe recalled the topics the gang had talked about the evening before and how many religious people feel that they are better than others. How so many religion have all those rules and regulations. What makes them any better than us was what one of the party goers stated! Another offered up the comment that there are so many religions and none of them have the same beliefs, so what is one to believe in anyway? Which one is the real deal if there really is one? Another stated that while some might show some love for those in need, others just act like they are better. If you don’t believe in what I believe – you are not welcome in my world. Another stated that she once went to a church with a friend and when the pastor asked where she regularly attended and she answered she didn’t, he just started talking to the next person in line. She felt she was not welcome. At one point while they were all sitting around the fire they raised their drink and toasted that they would never be part of any religious organization.

To be continued . . . .

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Questions

– What went wrong? Were the people of the church just happy people? Were the looks and side whispers only in acknowledgment that some one new had joined them and that they were happy to see Joe? Were they ready to welcome Joe if he had stayed to the end of the service? What was his old friend thinking when she first saw Joe and then he was gone? Was she looking for him after the service had ended? Was Joe just over sensitive?

– What went wrong? Were the people of this church not wanting their service disrupted? That if anyone one was coming to their church they should clean up and show a little respect? Were the people of the church thinking only about themselves and what they expected? Did they look down their nose because they could see and possible smell the party clothes he was still wearing? Was Joe correct in his feelings about the people of the church?

– Were the rules of the church written by man or by God? What had driven this church to become locked in on how everyone should act, believe, and present themselves? Or did they truly have open arms for anyone and everyone? Was Joe a welcomed person or a rejected person?