So a funny thing happened on the way to the forum…
If you get that joke, consider yourself a musical theater geek.
(You’re in good company here) 🙂
Clearly, I’m in a mood tonight.
This weekend was one for the books, y’all.
Let’s just say, I ended Saturday night at a Brazilian dance bar/tin roofed lean-to/shanty in the heart of Brooklyn that was cash only, blasting latin pop music, and decorated in a way that would make Bob Marley proud.
But surprisingly, that was not the most noteworthy part of my night.
Rewind about 6 hours. At a beer hall with my friends. We were with a group of about 20, but I found myself at an intimate table in the back with 3 of my friends and one of their colleagues. Three boys and two girls.
And I found myself and my gal pal ( 🙂 ) listening to a heated debate the boys were having about…religion.
“Religion is dead in America.” “It’s nothing more than organized hope.” “It’s designed to just control people.” “Full of bigots and racists.”
Yeah. It was uncomfortable. Tense. One guy was sticking up for faith, and the colleague was on the attack.
I mean, my friends are New Yorkers. They are not “religious.” I would refer to them as secular. Nothing wrong with that! I love them, they respect my faith, I don’t try to push it on them, it’s just kind of a non-issue. So I was quite surprised when this passionate argument was breaking out across the table.
I stayed out of the debate…but it definitely stuck with me.
And in the cab ride back to the city, I couldn’t help but replay that conversation in my mind.
“Religion is dead in America.”
There are times – and this is one of them – that I have to remember where I live.
New York City is not a microcosm of the United States as a whole. It is an entity unto itself. A unique beast, if you will.
This really struck me – visually – as my cab was crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s like this other-worldly, threatening, mass of buildings rises from the water. The island of Manhattan is a force to be reckoned with. From the backseat of my cab, I truly appreciated how stunning it is, especially at night with the twinkling lights. Outside my window was an iconic snapshot.
But it is not a snapshot of the rest of the country.
Religion – and faith – is not dead.
I’m just living in a city where it’s harder to see.
But, I’m going to be really honest. Thinking back to how that conversation played out, I felt really convicted.
I could have refuted their claims and fought back and really presented my case. I could have sent a strong message. I could have done or said a lot of different things….but I didn’t.
I just kept my mouth shut. I rationalized it in my head that, Oh, I’m not even in this conversation. They’re talking religion and politics…not something I want to entangle myself in.
But coming home, I realized…I am part of the problem.
How am I living my faith?
Sure, my friends know I go to church every Sunday and that I am a Christian. But Jeez Louise, my friend’s colleague hangs out with us for one night and proclaims that “religion is dead?!” Clearly, I am not doing my job very well.
Maybe I need to be a little more outspoken. I always say that I try to show my faith in my actions rather than tell my faith in my words. But perhaps I need to speak up a little bit.
Politeness and being quiet, that doesn’t encourage others who may also feel like they’re alone in their beliefs and therefore can’t speak up.
I don’t know where this is going…I kind feel like this is the scene from Les Mis where they’re barricading the Parisian streets singing, “Do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men…”
Boy, I really am a musical theater nerd.
I’m not trying to start a revolution here. But I do feel personally responsible for this guy’s perception that faith is dead.
So I’m going to take a long, hard look at how I’m living my life. Because, Leapin’ Lizzards, if someone can literally be sitting across a table from me and proclaim that, then something’s gotta change.
Wearing a cross necklace just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
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