From John: Here is what i wrote for a class assignment in a graduate course on nonprofit leadership. Each student was to complete a “This I Believe” essay as a way of uncovering our core beliefs as emerging nonprofit difference-makers. We are reciting our essays to the entire class tomorrow, so here’s a sneak peek at mine. i’d like to thank my wife for allowing me to use “Shay’s Corner” to share my heart with you.
i believe i did this assignment incorrectly. Ephesians 5 says “See that ye walk circumspectly. Not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time” so let me start at the beginning.
i believe my parents didn’t know what they was doing, too young to be screwing, so i spent just north of high school graduation in the womb and they had no clue what they was producing.
i came out with a lop-sided noggin. With enough room to fit more questions than answers. My head was always too big for my body.
i am the, product of debt, divorce, dysfunction, and broken dreams. But with no grounding, i always thought that the earth revolved around me. Delirious with grandeur, but the least likely to succeed.
i was that plastic-covered furniture that wasn’t even paid for yet. See my lifestyle was beyond fake–like a modesty sign on Beyonce. A know-it-all with a dunce cap facing the wrong way. Why God even bothered is beyond me.
But He stooped down, made a pit stop in West Philly and traded my pain for a dose of His grace and now i’ve been changed. And you don’t really know me, just what i read off the page. And there’s a lot of opinions about what it means to be “Christian,” but here’s what i can say.
TV, your bitter grandmother, and your inner atheist will convince you that it means…rule-keeping, not thinking, always passing judgment. Legalism, mere religion, and that a dime a dozen.
But i can tell you from personal experience it’s more like…going into the schoolyear knowing the least popular kid is you. Cuz you believe in resurrection and moral absolutes. It’s taking up my cross to follow Him daily, knowing if i do it in my own strength i’m constantly failing. Telling people i’m gonna go be with Him later, i’m an alien. It’s the noblest and hardest thing you can ever do in your life, even though His yoke is easy and burden is light. See for me it’s, well, marriage.
Now it’s true that the Bible does say that all have sinned, and our sin has a price. But being saved is not just about not getting hell, it’s that you do get Christ. See most people have it backwards. They’re so far left, that they can’t seem to get it right.
But the good news is that God loves us all. His grace redeemed me although He knew i would drop the ball. So He sent His own Son to pick up the cost—with willingly stretched-out arms He shed His blood on a cross, to bring mankind back to right standing with God…cuz building bridges is better than building walls.
This i believe, that when i’m done speaking, over half the people here will clap politely not understanding a fourth of what they heard, and i’m not exaggerating one eighth. So to the sixteenth degree, i’m hoping you see me. Treating you with Christian compassion and Generosity. Even if with your lifestyle i may totally disagree.
Cuz i believe–if Jesus were here today, He would tell hell to get out, He would literally get the hell outta here. His heart would be larger than Jupiter. For the poor, sick, the needy and just because i believe in Him doesn’t make me stupider.
For all those reasons i believe … in Better Days Ahead, that’s betterdaysahead.org. Can you believe that?