An Open Letter to My Non-Church Going Neighbors

Dear Neighbors,

I am that Christian guy living next door.

You might have heard I’m a preacher, a pastor, or something of the sort.

It’s true.  I believe in what Alcoholics Anonymous call a “Higher Power”.  We United Methodists call this power “God”.

I’m the guy who stands up front on Sunday mornings in the church down the street.  When people die, I cry with them.  When people get married, I laugh with them.  When children are born, I sprinkle water on their tiny heads.  I think rituals matter to the life of a community.  Rituals provide sanity when the world feels out of control.  Church gives our little corner of the world a place of peace when the chaos won’t let go.  If you don’t believe me, just ask the any of your other neighbors who hang out here.

Despite what you see on the news or read on the internet, all Christians don’t believe the same way.  We get painted with a broad brush.  In case you are confused, I thought I would take the opportunity to clear up the record.

I think you should know some important facts:

I’ll never say you’re going to Hell.

I will tell you that God is proud of you and loves you unconditionally. 

No matter who you love, I’ll welcome you to church.  I don’t believe God cares who you love or who you marry.

I believe science and religion have more in common than Bill Nye will ever admit.

Jesus is not an American.  He doesn’t speak English.

I don’t qualify my Christianity with adjectives.  I’m simply a Christian.  

Professional atheists are as annoying as professional Christians. 

If I believed in the God you believed in, I probably wouldn’t go to church either.

The Bible is full of inconsistencies and violence.  It’s also full of amazing tales of love and redemption.  It’s not a perfect Book but it’s the defining story of western civilization.  Let’s read it together.    

Your neighbor,

Richard (the preacher next door)

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