My Christian Friends, I Know I’m a Good Dude…Please, Open Your Mouth
I am a “good” dude.
You know me.
We’ve known each other for years.
We went to college together. We roomed together. We served in the military together. I introduced you to your wife, was the best man in your wedding. We were stick buddies in flight school. We were ranger buddies in ranger school. We rode motorcycles together.
Remember those days in Panama City? Well, some of them anyway.
We went to war together. I fondly recall marching lockstep into battle with you on my right and you on my left. We bled together. Remember our lost brothers. Remember the bright desert heat, the blazing desert sun, the brotherhood, the camaraderie. I’d have taken a bullet for you, no question.
I am your father. I am your brother. I am your next door neighbor. I am your commanding officer. I am your first sergeant, your supervisor. I am your best friend from high school. I am your old boyfriend who told you whatever I needed to get from you whatever I wanted.
I am a “good” dude.
You know me.
It shouldn’t be this way.
I’m a good dude, right?
You and others would describe me as a good “f’in” dude. “Smith is good people.” My resume speaks for itself.
I come from a wonderful and loving family. No dysfunction here, at least obvious dysfunction. No divorce. No abuse. No addiction. Only affirmation and affection.
I am a high-performer, a self-starter, a mover and a shaker. I graduated near the top of my class from college and have steadily risen to the top of my field. I got promoted below-the-zone and have excelled in leading men in combat. I am unflappable in battle. Nothing seems to bother me. When everything goes to heck in a handbasket, when others around me seem to crumble and fall, I always keep my cool.
I am physically fit, an avid cross-fitter, cyclist, marathoner, triathlete. I ride a chopped up Harley-Davidson. I drive an awesome car. I have an awesome house.
I am a family man. I have a beautiful wife and family. I love them. They love me. I work hard to provide for them. I sacrifice so that they can have a better life. I sometimes work 70, 80 hours a week so they may have what I never did. I take my family to Disney World each year.
I exude confidence, competence, and charisma. I am engaging. Chicks dig me. Men want to be like me. There seems to be nothing I cannot do or accomplish. I am generous and caring and I love you, my friend, my brother, my son, my sister, my daughter.
I think the same as you, look the same as you. I am what you aspire to be. I’ve got my stuff together. Man, do I have it together.
I have everything.
I have everything and more.
Yet, I have nothing.
It really shouldn’t be this way. I have so much, but sometimes it all feels like it’s slipping away. I cannot explain it.
I own a jet ski, but I have no peace.
My son has a college scholarship, but he hates me.
I am an upstanding member of my community and haven’t been intimate with my wife in months.
Something is wrong and I just cannot grasp it. No matter how hard I try, how much I pursue, how well I do, how much I gain, how high I rise, I ultimately lack joy. Even after I’ve arrived. I’ve obtained what I sought after and found it to be lacking, forcing me to reinvent myself. Maybe a new car…or a new spouse will satisfy my longings.
My emptiness consumes me.
I cannot see.
You look just like me.
We both pay our taxes. We both love our families. You’ve never murdered anyone nor have I. We are both morally upstanding citizens, so why do I feel like I do?
I know you go to church and sometimes I sense you want to talk to me about it and you’ll probably tell me that religion is good and that I should become religious and that going to church will make me happy.
Yes, I know you’ve invited me a couple of times, but I just don’t see it. I cannot see how going to church will change anything.
And I like to sleep in on Sundays and watch football in the afternoon. It’s the only day I get off, sometimes, and I don’t want that taken from me too. And I like to play golf and Sunday’s are the only days I get to do that.
Besides, you “Christians” are just so hypocritical. The last thing I need is some wimpy dude in a robe telling me how to act and all the things I’m doing wrong, all while he’s asking for my money. Okay, I get it…God needs my money. Really? And I’m probably better than him anyway. Who is he to tell me what I should do?
And what about God anyway? If God is so good, then why is there so much suffering in the world? If God is so good, then why did my mother die from cancer? Why was my father killed in a car accident? What about bone cancer in children?
Kind of seems like a crutch to me, this whole religion thing…
…which is why it’s kind of surprising that you’re into all of that. I mean, I know you, or at least thought I did. You’re my brother, my best friend.
Do you know something I don’t?
I’m tired of sports and weather.
If you have something to say, just say it. Please.
I get it.
I love football. You know I do. I love the Buckeyes. Even without Urban Meyer or Dwayne Haskins, we could win the Natty. Maybe I’ll get up for a game this year, but is there more?
Yes, our camping trip got rained out this weekend, but Saturday looks nice. I haven’t cut the grass yet this year, but need to. I’ll get the lawnmower out of the shed and get it started, but is there more?
No, I didn’t get the promotion at work and my boss is still a complete jerk. I’m not sure I want to work here that much longer and I don’t think I’ll be able to retire early like I had wanted, but is there more?
Do you love me?
Do you love me enough?
You went on some sort of a mission trip, to an entirely different country, to talk to strangers. What about me?
I am your father, your sister, your brother, your friend. Do you love me enough to risk mild discomfort? Do you love me enough to, as you say, step out in faith? I’m waiting to hear from you. I need to hear from you. Do you know something I don’t?
Do you know about hope?
Can we have a conversation that matters? I’m getting desperate…maybe I don’t have that much time.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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