A series of unfortunate events; Sam and Don

The other day in my hometown a storm of heavy rain and fast winds came in and came out, the resulting storm lead to power being out in my house (as well as others). So I decided to get up and go for a walk, camera-in-hand of course! 🙂

I was walking up one block and there was this tree that was knocked over completely, roots and all, and as I was getting ready to photograph it a guy came out of his house. Don* started chatting to me about photography, to which he shoots with the Canon T3i, the same make and model I do, so it was a connection point. After a while he was placating and essentially kissing my butt photography, but then…he started to proselytize to me!
Now interestingly enough, I already know Don but apparently he has forgotten about me (it’s been a while since the last time we interacted, I didn’t have long hair or a ‘stache then!) but he weaved into our conversation about photography about how I am going to hell :crickets: and told me to go to a website he created (not going to drop the link, not sorry!). He didn’t share the Gospel message with me, I don’t interact with him, and yet he still feels the urge to tell me I am going to hell… I am glad I got the brunt end of his hell spiel and not someone else, Lord have mercy on Evangelicals who share of hell before they share of God’s love and grace. Writer’s note: I went to the website and it looks like it was made in 1998, a few random lightning bolt gifs and the pièce de résistance…This was your life! A Jack Chick Tract, oy vey iz mir…:-(

After I left that street I found another fully uprooted tree lying across a street in my area, that’s where I met Sam* who also was shooting photos, and with a Canon T3i no less! Sam told me if he had his way, he’d organize people of Aurora to move the debris to assist the city workers who were absolutely busy beyond belief that day, and afterwards we could all kick back and eat burgers and drink brews. I told Sam that I liked his idea a lot, it would be great to pull together and then commune with one another.


Now I don’t know Sam’s heart, but there was more of a pull on my heartstrings interacting with a guy who was for social justice, tangibly doing something to make a difference, than my encounter with Don who weaseled in a message of I’m going to hell despite not having a relationship let alone a friendship with me. I think that’s where followers of Christ get it wrong sometimes, we’re quick to pull the you’re-going-to-hell trigger and we’re left with a smoking gun. I usually abide by St. Francis of Assisi’s words of “preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary.” I live my faith out in action, in my being as well as doing, I want to love on this world so much that people will get soaked by the love of God through what I do. Love compels me to do this, God’s love to be precise, and I think that goes a lot further than telling people they’re going to hell.

*names have been changed

Becoming a Christian is the easiest thing to do*

*but for the one who chooses to follow Christ, it gets dramatically more difficult…

In my younger years, I wore a shirt that said this:

It amused some, and irked others and being in a Roman Catholic neighborhood where the school is up the block and the church is a block behind me, and one neighbor flies the Vatican/Papal flag off his front porch…needless to say it got people talking.
Some people took it literally; “why yes I wear a cross around my neck, its encrusted with diamonds and is 22k gold”
Some people were confrontational; “what do you mean by that? What are you saying about me?”


Becoming a Christian, whether you think its wrapped up in a prayer or just an audible confession to God to save you because He alone can save…I won’t mess with that, even tho I think the Western church has tidied up the package and have reduced it to a “say the prayer, get out of Hell” card.
But from there on out, if you choose to be a follower of Christ, if you choose to read the Bible especially the parts written in red…it’s the most difficult thing you can do.

Commands to love your enemies, to pray for those persecute you, to take care of the hungry/orphans/widows/naked/imprisoned, to recognize that wealth is fleeting and it’s not all that important…for starters.
So I ask you the reader, you who align with being a Christian and perhaps being a follower of Christ, does the cross you choose to wear look like


Is it something that takes all your energy to carry it, do you struggle, is there a pull for you to die to yourself and live as Christ did?

Wearing His cross will ruin your life, the Gospel message (unlike what K-Love sells via radio) is not family friendly, it will devastate you and utterly ruin any idea of living a normal life, and some will still face death by those who persecute followers of Christ…but here’s what it can do.
It can change the hearts of individuals, and since everyone has a heart (no matter how dark or hard it is, everyone has one) it can lead to change on a large and sometimes governmental level. It can bring restoration and reconciliation between others, it can make people who have hated each other good friends, it brings life to those who have been dead and so much more!

For those skeptics who are burned or have been burned by Christians and have tainted the Gospel message as a result, I’m sorry. I’m there too even if I’m on the inside. My apologies might seem shallow, and if you want to talk about it feel free to message me…

In closing, I want to say that if you choose to take the road of following Christ it will cost you everything and your identity will no longer be your own. You must die to yourself so that Christ can live through you. It is an adventure that doesn’t end, it is a journey with many twists and turns, it is the most demanding thing anyone can do…but the dividends that you might not see now you will see someday.