My friend Tina and I have been studying the Bible together for several years. We started when we both lived in the Scottsdale-area and have continued via Skype from Colorado and Georgia. Our (mostly) weekly study is a regular reminder Christians of all denominations can come together to discuss scripture.
By contrast: Tina is a godly woman. A woman who is respectful, graceful, conservative and wise. She doesn’t drink. Or say swears. She’s what my mama would call “a lady.”
I’m lucky if I don’t swear like a sailor in the presence of clergy or children. (Just this weekend I just spilled a glass of wine on a picnic table in front of friends. A glass I’d traipsed across a very busy Scottsdale restaurant wearing 4-inch wedge heels and had yet to MOTHER F-ING TASTE. It was approximately 1000 degrees outside, my hair was flat and sweaty and I’d worked a 10 hour day. That (*&(*&(*&&^%&% cold wine was all I wanted. I managed to say as much through gritted teeth at voce alto before seeing tiny toddler ears at the next table. Ooof.)
I’m of the ever-so-flawed-variety of Christian. You know. Human.
Thankfully, my klassy demeanor doesn’t keep Tina from wanting to be my friend, although I do occasionally catch her wincing at those thoughtless times I take the Lord’s name in vain, or blog about a night of debauchery. She’s a great influence in my life for many, many reasons — one of those friends who makes me want to sit up a bit straighter.
We are currently studying the book of Acts. While in Oklahoma recently, I picked up a Bible study that happened to include a devotional on Acts 4:1-33. The scripture focuses on the power and importance of prayer. This ends with, “And a great Grace was upon them all.”
I’ve heard attending church is the equivalent of being a member of a spiritual country club — one wrought with the same exclusionary snobbery of a collars up dress code. What the book of Acts is reminding me is a simple religious principle: our daily acts add up. We are all cracked. We get the chance with the dawning of a new day to make better choices than the day before. There is no exclusion in the forgiveness of Christ — regardless of your church attendance, vocabulary, sexual persuasion or compulsive need to share your life via the Internet. This life is one big test to see how loving and kind you can be.
Sometimes, those acts won’t be so patient. One might even describe some behavior as petulant and shitty. (Like, this one friend I have who occasionally has road rage and swerves like a maniac in traffic with her middle finger proudly flashing through the sunroof at those ridiculously slow drivers in the fast lane.)
These are part of life too.
Safe to say I could use more grace. (My mama would love the opportunity to one day call me a lady.) Until then, I’ll just keeping hoping today’s acts are a bit kinder than those of yesterday. And that I keep the finger holstered.