So, I actually have a minute to sit and write on my blog.
I want to write in part because I don’t want to start on the 80+ emails in my inbox and party because I just want to prove to all 3 of you out there that I can still write on my blog.
Last week we had got the chance to go to Madrid and to a conference just outside of the city for 4 days. Along with another CA friend, we drove the 6-7 hours through the north of Spain to get there. I was happy to take the long way because in the 2.5 years we lived in France, we barely saw anything outside of Paris. And, to my delight, the drive was beautiful: mountains, mesas, castles, villages, snow, cherry trees, fields, canyons, Montserrat…Spain is a diverse place.
While in Madrid I went out with a few CA guys to a burger place (obsession) in Malasaña (a really cool neighborhood where our friends the Krulls live). That night we got into a pretty significant and lengthy conversation with two girls about Jesus, the church, and their experience growing up in a catholic environment. While Spain might be diverse geographically, the story of a control, shame, and guilt heavy religion is all too common. There is a lot more to the story, but in the end we were able to communicate that following Jesus isn’t about following a tradition or a set of laws that put you either in or out of the group going to heaven. It was an honor to being able to say to them that following Jesus is about waking up everyday, doing our best to hear God’s voice, to follow Jesus, and to live the way He would if he were alive today (aka Jesus living through us). I hope a light bulb went on for them…I hope that in some way the shame, guilt, and oppression of their past experience with Church went away and they could be freed to see Jesus for who He is…and to no longer see him as a dying man hanging on a crucifix who started a religion that made them feel bad about themselves.
I had another conversation a couple of weeks ago with a Catalan guy and after I told him what I am doing here, he immediately said, “You have a very hard job.”
He’s right. We do have a hard job, but it’s not an impossible one. There is a hunger for spirituality here and there are people that are open to Jesus when we free Him from stereotypes, painful religion, oppressive human control, and the non-relevant traditions of men. It is the Jesus who has been resurrected into life, defeating sin and shame, empowering us with wisdom, grace, and truth that I want to follow. I want to follow a man who has been freed so that I can be free. I think many others in Spain want the same thing….