Friday, August 8, 2008

but, I AM a Christian!

       Today Emily and I went to the famous Pike's Place Farmer's Market.  The last time I was there, I was with Christine and I think it was about a hundred years ago.  It's funny, I had really short hair then, too.  Anyway, the farmer's market is famous for these funny, entertaining guys who throw fish up into the air and make jokes.  They always draw a crowd because it's such a commodity.  It also is lined with gorgeously vibrant produce of all kinds and flowers--tons and tons of flowers!  I had never seen rainbow-colored roses before, so I took this picture to show all you guys.  It's looks like you could eat them.  

     There are also a good amount of musicians with their guitars spread throughout the area and one guy stood out, in particular.  He was rather short and hefty with kind of messy tight curls, a la Crusty the Clown.  And what song do you think he was covering? A Whole New World, from Aladdin.  Yeah, he sang that duet all by himself.  I am sorry, but he was such a far cry from the beautiful and exotic Arab princess--or even Aladdin, before he was a prince, when he was poor and just a street rat--that it bordered on ridiculous, but he certainly tried it.  You gotta give him props for that.  
      And last night a group of us went to this place called the Purple Cafe.  It wasn't nearly as purple as you'd imagine; in fact it wasn't purple at all, but we all did get to sit around this enormous wooden table that looked fitted for kings and queens, so that was cool.  There were three of us, me, Kevin, and Brandon, who had the same hair--so I wanted to capture the moment.  Luckily, I have a face like a girl, I guess.  

      I have been living with my good friend John this week.  Don't go thinking it's anything remotely inappropriate because I can assure you in all honesty that it isn't.  He cracks me up and we have a good time.  A lot of mornings he will turn on the televangelist, Joyce Meyer, who he has confessed to me that he really loves.  I find this very interesting because he is not a Christian.  Anyway, we were listening to Joyce and she was saying that we need to be the kind of Christians that do not react to our circumstances, but rather act according to who God is and be consistent about it.  She said that we cannot act like the devil on Monday and try to take authority over him on Tuesday--which made both of us laugh, especially.  

    She also said that some Christians have given all of us a bad reputation, which made John say, Yeah, I really don't like Christians. Immediately, I asked him, But, what about me, John?!  He nonchalantly replied, Oh, I don't consider you a Christian.  Just like that, like it was no big deal to just write-off my faith.  But, John, I said, I love Jesus! To that, he simply said, So do I, but I don't consider myself a Christian.  But...I AM one! I said, in one last-ditch effort to convince him of my life's faith.  Nope, he simply replied, I just consider you deeply spiritual.   

     Well, I am not totally sure what to think of that.  I think, coming from John, it may be a compliment.  I think that he does not see Christians as positive or something that he wants to align himself with--and maybe I am simply different from the Christians he has known.  We talk about God a lot.  He knows that I have a relationship with Him.  It's not that he doesn't think I love God; he just doesn't want to call me a Christian, which again, is interesting.  

     There have been times when I haven't wanted to call myself a Christian, either--or at least, not when it is the same word that people use to describe themselves when they are actively starting groups like God Hates Fags or promising that Jesus will return in 1999.  And the crusades were not anything to be proud of.  And let's face it, Americanism--even democracy--are not the same thing as following Jesus, yet many people say that America and what we do are Christian.  At least, it is easy for the muslim and buddhist and everything-in-between nations to get that impression; that if you want to have a relationship with the true Creator, you have to dress a certain way, buy certain things, become a little more western.  A little more like us.  

    However, I know that I am a Christian.  I just thought my conversation with John was interesting and thought-provoking.  

  Oh, and actually John just walked in and got on his computer and said this to me: Ugh! I am getting all these stupid emails alerting me about Christian singles in my area--tell your people to stop sending me that s*#@ and leave me alone!  Lol.  I guess I've been re-inducted. 


ClaudiaC said...

I just came back from seeing Joyce Meyer in Hershey, PA on Thursday night and on Friday morning. She was so funny! She talked about faith versus fear. The scripture she used was when Jesus and his deciples were crossing the lake in a boat and a storm came up. She said that many people in life are going forward with God, but when the "storms" come they want to retreat and return to where they came from. She said that "in the middle" is where we need to trust God, use our faith (speaking truth), and continue on. Although many times the middle looks like we took a step back in the natural (think of Moses when he left the palace life and lived in the desert for 40 years), when we actually took a step forward in the spiritual realm. She also said that God knows how to get you to "the other side", His timing is perfect, and the best way to keep the enemy from harassing us about it taking so long, is to be positive and apply your fait even if it's just saying out loud "I will trust God"! It was great to see her live!

Anonymous said...

I think I should be more concerned about taking on the name "Christian" because it aligns me with Christ, I want to be His. I don't think I should think about how taking on the name "Christian" may align me with others with the same name who do not appear to be walking with Christ. If you had a brother or sister who you believed was not living up to the family name would it make you refuse to keep your father's name? I'm sure in your heart you answer that question with a vehement "No!". You probably considered how that would hurt your father and the rest of the family. So I think it is the same when we say this to our Heavenly Father. He wants us to look at Him, not what others are doing. If taking on His name brings us suffering, even scorn for taking on the name "Christian" then we are like Him in His suffering.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Hmmm, anon, maybe you didn't read thoroughly. I do tell people I am a Christian-and this is solely because of Christ. It is no secret on this tour that I am a Christian--and never has been. I do not, however, want to be grouped with people who align themselves with that name and show very un-Christlike behavior. I do want to be aligned with Christ--and this is the absolute truth.

I am so grateful to have a God who looks at the heart, who knows me thoroughly, and knows that I love and follow Jesus. People can really get things wrong, sometimes--as I do, regularly.

Also, the name "Christian" is just a name. It's the fruit that I am more concerned with...The early followers of Christ weren't even called "Christians," they were simply followers of the Way. I think there are people who know God, who love Jesus, and have never even heard the term "Christian."

I also think that hiding behind an anonymous comment and telling me how YOU would act maybe comes off much less helpful than you imagined. If you are so very taken with names, why not leave yours?

And Claudia--how cool you got to see Joyce! Love her!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I wasn't criticizing you. I know you did stand up and profess to being a Christian and that is wonderful! I was giving some food for thought for this comment you wrote, "There have been times when I haven't wanted to call myself a Christian either.." I think we have all had this feeling at times and so I was sharing some thoughts I have had on this subject. I was trying to share some thoughts to encourage you on in the way you are going. I'm sorry that came across as criticizing you. Forgive me? You are being a light for Him in this world.

Pop said...

I'm not sure there's anything at all weird for a thinking, sincere Christian to want to clarify the word "Christian," particularly since the Nazis labelled themselves Christians, as do many in the KKK and some abortion clinic bombers. I'm ok making as certain as I can that I as a Christian am not identified with any of those groups. This is not to make any comment whatsoever on the status of their salvation, that's not the issue and is not anyone's to judge. The issue is the label. If it happens that I get to tell someone I don't know that I'm a Christian, I try to turn the occasion into an opportunity for a lively and precise definition of that term--what it does not and what it does mean to me. As we converse honestly, often God makes some interesting, good things happen.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think I should think about how taking on the name 'Christian' may align me with others with the same name who do not appear to be walking with Christ." I would like to clarify what I meant here earlier. I believe what I was trying to say was that I don't want to be so afraid of aligning myself with the wrong group that I never proclaim myself as a Christian. I totally agree with "Pop", as he so eloquently stated, that it is good to clarify the term "Christian" when I name myself as one. And yes Jessica, you are totally right that we should be more concerned with the fruit. I guess I was just expressing some frustration over the fact that it seems many people do not think of all the good things and people that are associated with the term "Christian". Namely, Jesus Christ but also how about Amy Carmichael, Martin Luther, Gladys Alward, Billy Graham, Mary Slessor, and George Muller? Those who did and do wonderful deeds in the name of Christ? Why is it that all the negative things associated with the term "Christian" must come to mind first? Do you not find this frustrating?
Please forgive me for the harshness of my earlier post.

Mom said...

Interesting discussion! I know that for some of my Messianic friends, who are definitely saved, it is extremely important to them not to be called "Christians." However, they obviously are deeply in love with Yeshua. I personally like to tell people I am a follower of Jesus. So much harm has been done in the name of Christianity! I love my family in Jesus. But "Christian" was the name given to followers of Jesus at Antioch; it's the Greek name. In the mid-east, Christians are called "followers of Isa." Jesus has a big family with many names within many different ethnic groups.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Anonynous--sure, I forgive you--but I still don't know who you are;-)

THanks for clarifying and being so quick to respond--and with such humility. I really appreciate that so much--it shows your heart. There are certainly amazing people who are Christians and Jesus is the most stand-out of all, to say the least!

Mom-I love the line about Jesus having a big family with many names and many different people groups!

Patty said...

I had a friend bash Christians and I say, "But I'm a Christian!" and she said "Well you aren't THAT kind." I asked, "well, what kind do you mean?" Here response? "One who believes the Bible."

Um. Well. There you go.

Of course I DO believe the Bible, but I just don't bash people's heads in with it I guess.

It's a difficult place to be, in the performing arts. Sometimes I wonder if I should be performing in certain shows, due to what I think it improper content, or just plain lies. Do you ever have to consider that, or do you remove yourself from that issue? I've not figured out how to resolve it.

I realize, though, that nothing is inappropriate to some folks. So maybe it's not a problem.

Sorry to drop in on you like this. I found your blog through your blogging on the OC Register.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Hey Patty--

Please don't apologize for dropping in--it's nice to see your comment!

To answer your question: Yes, I do sometimes struggle with what is appropriate or not appropriate for me to do in this business. So, I can totally relate. Here are some gardening tips I have learned along the way, though I in no way can tell anybody what to do...

First of all, I trust God's Spirit in me to lead me into righteousness. Sometimes overused, fancy words like that can almost loose their meaning to me; but I have realized that righteousness is just a way of saying the right way for me--and God has a good plan that involves the absolute best for me.

Next, there are things that I would do to tell a story (play a certain character, sing a certain song) that I would not do as myself, necessarily. Just look at the Bible, there are many things in there that are not G or even Pg--but much "worse," so to speak; however, they serve the greater good of the story, so they are important.

Also, I have friends and family members who I trust to tell me if I am doing anything crazy or reprehensible; they keep me in touch with the person I want to be and keep me accountable.

So, there you go--maybe this helps and thanks for stopping by!