When I was growing up, I had quite a few Christian friends. We were all followers of Jesus’ teachings.
However, I found it strange that there were differences in how we expressed our faith.
One sounded very “religious.” This friend had what I would refer to as “Jesus speak.” For example, he might say quite openly: “Praise the Lord for this day and the many blessings that I have already received.”
It didn’t matter about the audience. His way of saying things would not change. I greatly admired this about him; it was quite genuine.
I was never comfortable doing so myself. Such words from my own mouth seemed forced and unnatural.
This has never changed. In general, the way I write here is also the way I preach in church and the way I typically talk about my Christian faith.
Someone commented to me recently that I should “talk more about Jesus” in this column. He makes a great point. After all, being a Christian is all about Jesus.
That said, early on in my life, I became frustrated with communication that didn’t go far beyond “Jesus is the answer.” What I would often hear were simple clichés that were of little use to me.
I favor talking about my faith with (mostly) everyday speech. I wish to avoid overuse of religious buzz words, stuff that seems too much like insider talk. In my mind, this needs to be translated into something easier to digest.
When I began writing in the Columbia Basin Herald I asked a question of the editor. I made an inquiry as to what they wanted. The response was simple: “stories.” It wasn’t preaching lofty lessons in theology or touting proper orthodoxy.
So, for the most part, I write simple stories. I do so in hopes of challenging you to think for yourself about the “now what?” that should quite naturally follow from “Jesus is the answer.”
Seen as such, there is nothing that is off-topic.
It should not matter if the subject is Christmas lights on a tree, dealing with elderly parents, replacing worn-out silverware or finally reaching a decision to forgive a person after holding a 40-year grudge.
For me, everything is seen through Jesus and a lens of faith; you should always begin with this idea as you read this column.
I do so, hopeful that you can see, even in the mundane, what you hadn’t before.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.