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I have two provocative statements I want to make, which will probably raise your eyebrows. Statement No. 1: I’m wild about three women I know, but not in the way you might think.
Statement No. 2: The kingdom of God is like the commercial for Viagra.
First, the women. They’re friends of mine, although we hardly ever go out together.
Even though I spill my guts in 750 words or less in the newspaper each week, I’m not an easy person to get to know. I’m quite closed and self-absorbed. That’s why I’m wild about these women—they are, too.
That’s what we talk about. We talk about how much we love ourselves, but that deep down we really love God and want to love him and others more than we love ourselves, but that it’s not in us to do it on our own. We talk about wanting God to change us and about being terrified of that, because we know if God changes us, we’ll have to change, and change is uncomfortable.
One of the women I’m wild about is a preacher, although she’s really just a mom and a wife. But when she starts talking about how awesome God is, I could listen to her for hours.
One of the women I’m just getting to know, which is scary for both of us. Of the two of us, people think we’re both people-people, but we’re not. Ironically, that’s what connects us to each other. I can be honest with this woman. Christians often tell each other “I love you”, but even though I’m wild about my friend, I told her that I wouldn’t say “I love you” to her because right now I mostly only love myself. She said she feels the same way, so it’s cool.
The third woman says she doesn’t love God, but I have my doubts about the degree of her not loving. She says she knows that God is wild about her and is pursuing her, which, she says, frankly irritates the daylights out of her.
She used to be bad, she says, but hasn’t had time for it lately, although she was able to squeeze in a bit of badness recently. Except, she says, it wasn’t fun because she felt guilty for it, and that made her nuts.
“Wherever I go, I keep running into Jesus!” she says.
I try to tell her it’s a good thing to keep running into Jesus. Deep inside, I think she knows that.
That brings me to my second provocative statement. I was trying to come up with an analogy for my third friend about how the kingdom of God isn’t boring and that belonging to Jesus isn’t about keeping rules and yawning in church. She’s had a lifetime of that. Instead these days she’s looking for life and liveliness and purpose, beyond rules and principles and commandments.
So, I told her, “The kingdom of God is like the commercial for Viagra.” The one in which everyone notices there is something different about this one guy. Something has changed, but they can’t figure out just what. All they know is that he’s got a spring to his step that hadn’t been there before.
Belonging to Jesus puts a spring in your step, and when it happens to you, people notice. It makes you whistle and want to clap. It makes even the most self-centered person you know wild about others. That’s because Jesus is wild about us first.
That’s pretty provocative, don’t you think?
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.