Thursday, February 23, 2012


We were just closing the door to the garage and a dark blue minivan pulled up behind us and slowed to a crawl. With a whir, the woman driving rolled down the automatic window and leaned out, beckoning my wife and I over to her. It was one of the managers of our apartment complex, and as we got close to the van she held out a hand to give us something. Looking around, she dropped a small plastic-wrapped bundle into Ferial's hand, and said "It's purple power. My brother grew it!" Then, she quickly pulled away. Ferial opened her fist to reveal a little folded bag of purple tinted marijuana, which I have since learned is of high quality and considered a connoisseurs cannabis. 

We were stunned. We just stood there, staring at each other, giggling slightly...

For the record, we do not (and did not, at the time) smoke weed. Quite the opposite. We led worship at our church, hosted Bible studies in our home and were looking for a good opportunity to tell this woman and her husband about Jesus. 

Now, one might argue that smoking marijuana is no more wrong or harmful than drinking a beer or smoking a pipe, and that the scriptural mandate to not be drunk could be extended to include a stipulation for the use of marijuana, not to get high. I'm not here to argue here nor there, and I'll be happy to enter into this discussion once weed is made legal in the United States. Until then, it's illegal, which, in this case, makes it wrong...(perhaps I should brush up on my understanding of the speeding laws...)

The point is, perhaps this woman didn't realize we were Christians, "churchers" as we used to call ourselves. If she did, she didn't seem to think it made much difference. She thought we were cool...that we were just like her...and as strange as it may sound, we considered this a compliment. We loved that our neighbors didn't see us as any different than them. We thought it made us relevant and accessible. We thought that it was a witness, that if they saw us as normal, then perhaps the would see our faith as something they could accept. During this time, we had a number of neighbors who we would interact with regularly, and nearly every time, when one of them found out we were Christians, they'd look at us with this shocked expression which seemed to say I had no idea, and they'd say something like, "Wow...for Christians, you guys seem pretty"  

Recently, I was reading from the Sermon on The Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. At one point, Jesus says, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden..."

It's impossible
You can't hide a city on a hill. It's a city!
Passersby can't miss it.

In other words, it's obvious.

I wonder, though, if it's obvious in me. If I don't come right out and say it, would the people I come into contact with know I am a Christian? It's fairly apparent that many of the people with whom I rubbed shoulders in the old apartment complex didn't. Judging by the way I dressed, the way I talked and the way I lived, they didn't see anything different...

At first, they didn't, anyway. I am the type of person who will often come right out and say it. I want you to know. I like it if you're surprised that I am not Ned Flanders or a Westboro supporter, but I do hope that once we've talked about it you think to yourself, yeah...that makes sense. I can totally see that.

Oh, so you might be wondering....whatever happened to the purple power? 

We ended up giving it to a different friend who could...appreciate it better than we...

So, maybe we were "cooler" than I thought...


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