My friend, let’s call him Mango, is one of those hip young Christian types. He’s got no problems saying — with sincerity — “I’ve accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as My Personal Saviour,” he volunteers in the local church youth group, and he believes.
At lunch on Monday, Mango, our mutual friend Sly (also a pseudonym) and I had a rollicking good conversation about Jesus, God, belief and the like. Mango and Sly shored up the “God is Good, God is Great” front, while I took the “you realize you guys are all deluded, don’t you?” tack.
This hospital gig was just the kick in the ass I needed.
You see, people facing death dont give a fuck about your interpretation of II Timothy. Some take the bloodied, but unbowed road, but most dying people want to pray with the chaplain. And they dont want weak-ass prayers either. They dont want you to pray that Gods will be done.
Hell no. People want you to get down and dirty with them. They want to call down angels and the powers of the Almighty. THEY ARE DYING and the whole world should stop.
I threw myself into it. I prayed holding hands and cradling heads. I prayed with children and old men. I prayed with a man who lost his tongue to cancer. I lent him mine. I prayed my ass off. I had 50 variations of every prayer you could imagine, one hell of a repertoire.
That’s compelling stuff, and the blog that goes with it similarly interesting and well-written.
I’m not ready to start drinking the holy water (you do drink it, don’t you?), but it is does make me realize that closing my eyes entirely to the hardcore Christ types might mean that a lot of wheat is getting thrown out with the chaff.
So, Mango, you can consider yourself to have executed the Lord’s work today.
Next week at lunch I’ll return the favour when we discuss my Bolshevik heritage.