Hello! This is for all those new Christians out there. You wouldn’t believe how happy I am that you’re here. Congratulations and all that. You’re probably feeling better than you have in your entire life and searching for a good church and buying the new 365 day devotions. Heck, you might’ve even bought the Jesus fish decal to put on the back of your car.
But I have a few things to warn you about before you get any more entangled in this crazy business. For me, it’s too late. I’m sucked in. But for you, there is still hope. Nobody tells you about these little downsides, so I figured that that makes it my job.
First of all, the people you will meet as a Christian and as part of a church family are just plain old insane. They’re awesome. Way too awesome for words. And unless you “awesome up” you’re going to feel like you’re in the presence of giants. Their knowledge of the Bible is beyond your comprehension, and they seem to have six more hours in their average day than you do because they get so much done. They packed meals for Thanksgiving and did the stocking stuffers for Christmas and are going to a mission trip to Thailand after they help out at the homeless shelter. It makes you wonder what kind of wacky time travel technology these Christians have!
And your family? It just got ten times bigger. You are now everybody’s sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or child. There is no reversing this process. You now have the coolest family in the entire universe for the rest of your life, which is just peachy. I have a friend who calls just about everybody his sibling or parent, and at first I had no idea if he actually had any biological family at all or if it was just people from church.
While we’re on the subject of family, these people will love you like no one else. You’re feeling down? Hugs and comfort along with a middle-aged woman carrying a casserole of mysterious origin to your doorstep within the hour. Happy? We’ll share your joy (seriously, what does that even mean? It’s my joy. I’m not sharing it with you.) Feeling guilty? Forgiveness is waiting for you. It’s downright mad that anyone could have that kind of love unless it was given to them by an all-powerful God…oh wait.
May as well just forget about losing ten pounds. You go to one single potluck and it’s all over. I swear, that dessert table has its own gravitational pull! No one can resist it. Also, what’s up with having the dessert table be six times bigger than any of the other food tables? It’s like they want you to die from obesity.
Remember the days when you could sit around on a Saturday morning doing absolutely nothing? Those are gone. You sit tight doing nothing for more than thirty minutes and your conscience will itch you like a bad mosquito bite. You could be spreading God’s love to someone at this exact moment. A soul could be saved if you got of your butt right now. You could potentially be planning the Christmas dinner for homeless people…if you actually were doing something with your life. It gets so bad that suddenly, while you are doing something you believe to be productive, you drop what you’re holding and stare emptily at the wall as you realize that if it doesn’t add to the glory of God’s kingdom it is completely meaningless. “What is this…why am I not glorifying God right now? What am I doing EATING?”
If you’re somebody who swears, it suddenly becomes four billion percent bigger of a deal when you do so after you become a Christian. Before Christianity: “*@#*~!” Yeah, whatever. After Christianity: “#!^&!” All of the sudden shots are fired, sirens are wailing, mothers are rushing inside with their children, glass is being shattered, and a tornado appears over the horizon to come suck up your soul. Enjoy your moments of verbal freedom, my friend.
Let’s talk about arenas for a second, just as a side note. Let’s say you got tickets to a football game or concert or whatever. You get there, big smile on your face, as you stare at this arena. It’s huge. Millions of people could fit inside it. Then, suddenly, you cock your head slowly to the side, staring at the numerous seats, and wonder what it would be like if there was a preacher standing in the middle of the field instead of a group of cheerleaders. Sanctus Real instead of a secular band. Now, any time you go to a place meant for entertainment with many seats, all you’ll be able to think about is what it would be like if it was filled with Christians praising God. Big events = ruined.
I could continue, but I think you get the picture. It isn’t all empty tombs and rainbows. There are some serious downsides.
I just hope you know what you’re getting into.