Back in April …
I am on the back roads of Georgia, heading north out of Macon. It is Easter Sunday. One of my Facebook friends had warned me that this part of the country contains more Christian churches per square inch than any part of the world. Nothing about my drive – both this morning and the night before – disabused me of the notion. If you needed to grab some BBQ or put gas in the car or get documents photocopied, you would have to drive a long way. If it was the Lord you were looking for, on the other hand, welcome stranger.
The churches had the kind of names that drive fear into the heart of every northern liberal: Baptist this, Evangelical that. Since it was Easter Sunday, every parking lot was full. By the time I had the presence of mind to stop the car and take a picture, services were over and I had to settle for the pic at the top.
To lay my cards on the table, I accept Jesus as my role model, not my savior. I like to joke that God and I have issues. This is a better fit with Judaism, where we need to acknowledge the fact that God is messing with us and to somehow reach a state of acceptance with that.
Meanwhile, all these churches, all over the place, like convenience stores, only far more numerous. What scares me is that at least 8 in 10 of the people inside would have voted for Donald Trump. So here we have people praising the Lord on one hand while endorsing the removal of 22 million of their neighbors and countrymen from healthcare on the other. I could go on and on, but you’ve heard it all before.
Instead, I will point out that I have a way of attracting Christians into my life – intelligent caring people who are boon companions, who fill my life with joy and laughter and a sense of purpose. In my first book in The Bipolar Expert Series, I profiled four women. What I didn’t mention was that each has close Christian ties. One of them, Willa, is an ordained Episcopalian priest. Therese brings her Catholic sensibilities into her mental health blogging. Maricela and Maggie credit Jesus for getting them through their most challenging moments.
I will pick up on their stories in my third book in the series, on recovery. In the meantime, on the road, I had the good fortune to meet Leanna. Jesus is part of her life. I also reconnected with Kinike and Angela, both who are strongly guided by Christian teachings.
And one of the high points of my journey so far was the two strangers who jump-started my car in Texas, and who then said a prayer to the Lord for my safe journey.
I have no doubt that had my car broken down on the road in front of one of those churches I passed, the people there would have come to my aid and even taken me into their homes. These are good people, but how do we reconcile the God they worship with the political values they endorse? God is not complicated. Alas, human nature is …