Dear Angry Christian,

I got your email. Or your voicemail. Or your public de-friending announcement. Or your backhanded, possibly legalistic, comment aimed at me while I was in the room.

I’m being sincere when I say I want to know where you’re coming from. I mean, I understand that you may not like the crowd I’m attracted to spending time with, the things I write, or the clothes I wear to church. Is there something more?

Fair Enough.

Thanks for your input.

Smiley Face.

Small tension-breaking laugh.

Can I tell you something I’ve been thinking about?

Really, I need to confess it to you anyway: I admire your passion. You really love what you hold on to. I struggle with my passions sometimes and I often wish I could be as bold as you are. Seriously, I mean it. You have a belief about the way things should be and you’re sticking to it. Bravo.

On the other hand, I think it’s possible that I have caused some confusion about my own sentiment. That’s my fault. Listen, I don’t mean to cause congregational or even kingdom dissension. I promise I mean no disrespect by the way I dress. And the things I write and the people I love? Well, maybe we just need to talk about that more.

As far as dress for church is concerned, I guess I’m just going to need to be real with you. When I read the New Testament I see that Jesus was homeless and hanging with other homeless people while the traditions and showiness of the pharisees did nothing but draw attention to the darkness of their own hearts. My generation does not have the formal attire that yours might have. I may not be invited to as many things because of this confession: You know how many pairs of jeans I have? One. And I wear them every day. Why? Because I would rather spend my money on advancing God’s kingdom through missions and feeding poor folks by buying them a goat or a paying for a well to be dug in a village that does not have access to clean water. I wouldn’t feel bad if my homeless king saw me that way. Not even a little.

And if you dress formally for your Sunday morning meeting and you sincerely don’t feel like a pharisee, that’s awesome. Again, I need to give you props. I couldn’t do that without feeling like I was trying to make up for my secret sins. So, again, I admire that about you. I just can’t do the same.

Regarding the crowd I might hang with that makes you nervous- For that you need to know that I don’t avoid conflict. I like hanging out with people who disagree with me. Actually, I find that most people, once you get to know them, have a lot of basic things in common. We might touch on what we disagree on every once in a while, and those are usually very healthy conversations. But we don’t have to constantly belabor the point of our differences, either. That would make relationships very difficult.

And a few times I see that probably I or just my generation in general may have rubbed you the wrong way when we questioned your motivation. I want, so badly, for you to know that when something is questioned it doesn’t mean we’re saying the idea itself is wrong all the time. It is very possible that our questioning means we want to understand it more. We want to make that belief our own. I’m not OK with taking just the face value- I want heart value, soul value.

It’s only then, when I can chew on the thought process and really get a bit of the flavor, that my passions light up.

So, don’t get mad, Little Buddy. Help me- help my generation- understand things a little more clearly.

Thanks for speaking up. I appreciate it. Conversations are good. Let’s keep them going.

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