Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." - John 8: 31-32
Most of my close friends are not churchgoers. They may nod in religion's direction now and again, but generally, when we gather for a social evening, the conversation doesn't get around to my line of work very often. And of course, in my insecure moments, I imagine that they scratch their heads and wonder why – yes, in God's name – I do what I do.
One night over a friendly dinner, after a second glass of wine, it happened. I don't remember how the topic of religion came up, but one friend finally, hesitantly, said, "I grew up in the church; I just wish someone had told me somewhere along the way that those stories in the Bible weren't true."
Part of me was heartbroken. Yes, someone should have told him that – gently, and with a guiding hand. But part of me wanted to say, "Well, how old were you when you figured out, all by yourself, that ‘The Little Engine that Could' was both not true, and absolutely true?"
Why didn't I go ahead and say that? It might take a third glass of wine for me to screw up my courage and challenge him thus. But I hope not.
O God, sometimes, you give me the courage to ask the hard questions. Maybe you could give me the courage to help those I love do the same? I'd like to do some of my work while I'm at play. Amen.
Alan Parker is the Pastor of the United Church of Craftsbury, Craftsbury Common, Vermont.