Please Father, protect me from the extreme right wing of dogmatic Christianity that preaches that there is something spiritually wrong with me because I do not feel extreme conviction at the idea of drinking alcohol. Please deliver me from my brothers in Christ, who stand and point at me (with 3 fingers pointing right back at themselves) to condemn me for having friendships with sinners, for not being as conservative as they are, for not condemning anyone who partakes of alcohol or cigarettes or who listens to non-religious music and dances, for not wanting to loudly and dogmatically evangelize anything with two legs and a pulse. L-rd please give me your peace and fill me with your love to the point that it cannot help but overflow into the lives of these people. I earnestly want your help in this L-rd. I am in a desert, begging for a sip of the water of life that will allow me to love my brother instead of being disgusted by the words of his lips.
I do not want to slander my brother or hate him or condemn him as I am being condemned by him. I want to show him the same love that you have given me for those who do not believe in you. It is so much harder for me to have love for a fellow Christian who behaves in this way than it is for me to love a non-believer who is only acting according to the flesh by which he is bound. Please soften my heart L-rd and forgive me for hating my brother and judging him according to my prejudices. It is easy to see why non-believers so often hate Christians, but I ask that you would forgive me of that attitude and change me so that I cannot see why anyone would hate another person who is not blaspheming your name. Please forgive me for being equally guilty of the same actions that I am condemning.
Always the Cynic
Two years ago, my friend and mentor (and now brother in law) Ben was giving a talk to a group of Campus Life staff at one of our “three story evangelism” training seminars. I will never forget what he said.
“When I first heard about ‘three story evangelism’, I was not completely sure if I bought into it or not. It was not until I saw Andrew Bishop, who is extremely critical and cynical of everything, whole heartedly embrace ‘three story’ that I knew for sure that this is good stuff.”
I have just finished reading Donald Miller’s latest book, and I am about to start reading it again. I talks about stories in a way that is real, but that still inspires me to make my own life into a better story.
Reading this book has really helped me to take a look at my life and start evaluating the stories that I am living. I have realized that most of the stories that I am living are really not great stories so much as great adventures. They are mostly fun and interesting and challenging, and I believe that they help me to grow, but they are also mostly self serving. Most of my life is done because of a desire to gratify my own curiosity, rather than a desire to serve others. There is, however, one exception. My time with Campus Life is the best story that I have lived. It is the best thing that I have done with my life, and it is something that I greatly miss. I want to live more great stories like that, rather than devoting my whole life to personal adventures.