To the editors:
I enjoyed “My Lunch With God” by Mike Ervin in the August 28 issue. As someone who’s made a number of similar requests, I easily identified with Mr. Ervin. I’m no theologian, but I have come across a few things recently that may answer some of the questions Mr. Ervin raises.
First of all, he can relax–God is no cosmic loan shark. His nature isn’t to make the kind of “deals” described because he’s on our side to begin with. He loves to answer requests, heal the sick, comfort the wounded, raise the dead. That’s one of the central points of the New Testament–we don’t have to dress up, clean up, or shape up before we can have a direct line to the throne room. In fact, there’s nothing we can do to earn this kind of access–it’s a gift.
The one thing that God asks is that we make a decision–to accept Jesus Christ and what he has to offer or to reject him. To accept is to be “born again” spiritually, a sadly misunderstood term. The result is that one’s past, present, and future goofs are forgiven. In addition a person receives that direct line, a one-way ticket to heaven, real freedom, internal peace, and absolute acceptance.
It’s a pretty sweet deal.
From Mr. Ervin’s description, it sounds like he’s hungry for a god with whom he can really feel comfortable, one who’s relevant to today, who’s not like all the stereotypes so many of us have carried around since childhood. I’d really encourage him to take a look at Christ. While he’s not a charming woman caught in traffic, he did personify a God who’s all of the above and so much more.
Giving Christ a chance thankfully doesn’t involve a lobotomy–in fact, just the opposite. While many of the truths about God and his kingdom are profoundly simple, embracing Christianity requires keeping your eyes and ears open at all times. It’s an incredible intellectual challenge–the more you know, the more there is to know.
I’d also encourage Mr. Ervin to not be put off by the 700 Club stereotype–Christians come in all shapes and sizes, just like any other group of people. Try visiting the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Evanston, Uptown Baptist, or New Life Community Church in Bridgeport–just a few among the many, many others in Chicago–to see what we’re really like.
If one were a cynic, he or she could say that it was coincidence, but I’d say God answered Mr. Ervin’s prayer–Anna was healed. He’s given both of them another chance to think over what he has to offer.
Like any concerned parent, he leaves the light on so we can see our way home. But he won’t wait up forever!