Abraham, Cars and a Drunk Man

November 7, 2005

“The pastor is a man of God. He’s a great teacher of the Bible, please come visit our church.” This was Wednesday night while having dinner with a couple of friends. OK, sure. We’ll go.

I decided to have a good attitude. I had listened saturday afternoon to a great sermon by Rob Bell about going to church. High spirits.ย  I’m wondering what I’ll encounter. Mysteriously I’m all positive.

On our way there we encountered this bicycle race and had to find weird alternate ways to get there. We’re late. Doesn’t matter, better late than never.

We make it there and soon as we get out of the car a drunk man walking on the sidewalk says “Where’s the church?” “We don’t know I said, but come look for it with us.” He does!

So Ronald’s walking with us looking for a church in the fourth floor of a bulding. (That’s the name of the guy that was drunk). As soon as we go inside this one building we’re sure it’s church. In the lobby there’s lots of nice people. Smiling. Everyone’s smiling. We ask where the church is and they warmly tell us where to take the elevator. We’re going up. Ronald’s still with us.

We go in. The church band is playing some songs. People are singing. I don’t know why but I’m feeling so positive. I’m feeling it’s such a good sign that before making it to church we get the chance to bring Ronald with us. I mean a stranger who’s been drinking is standing next to us. It’s gonna be great!

While we sing he says to me “I want to be with Jesus. I was a christian for 6 years. I need to get back with Jesus again.” I said the father was already embracing him. The prodigal son hadn’t made it home and the father was already running to kiss and embrace him. Ronal’s crying.

Singing’s over. The pastor comes up and grabs the mike. Those that have come here for the first time stand up. We stand up. People bless us. They pray for us. Smiles and a really honest warm welcome. I’m sure this is a church I like now.

We sit. The pastor starts preaching. He says people in the church have been blessed this week. New jobs. Promotions. A raise. Opportunities.

Turn to Genesis 22. Abraham gives Isaac to God. Won’t you give all you have? Won’t you give your money? The pastor feels that God might be asking this december great things from his people in this church. Some their car. Maybe to some all of their Christmas Bonus. What are we to do? Abraham gave Isaac. What are we to do? Complain? No. Giving in the altar is a blessing. So hey, maybe it’s your house or all your possesions. Give away!

My wife’s starting to get uncomfortable at the long 5 minutes the pastor’s been talking to people about how the sacrifice of Abraham relates to giving money to church. And Ronald (who for me is the important character) gets really pissed off. Drunk-style pissed off! He says “This pastor’s fooling these people. I’m drunk but I know the Bible. He’s foolin’ them. I don’t like this church. I’m leaving.”

I’m hoping the pastor would shut up with all that car-house-bonus-christmas-money talk so that Ronald would stay and listen to the preaching. My hopes are gone. He’s not stopping. He’s all exited about all of this. I leave church with Ronald. My wife’s inside.

Outside I talk to him. I tell him I don’t like this church either but that’s not what’s important. Don’t loose your focus. We came to seek God. Remember you want to get back to Jesus. Yes, yes he says. We pray. Let’s go back inside he says.

We come back inside and all of the church is filling these long papers. They looked like government papers. Ronals picks one up and says “God doesn’t care about these things. God doesn’t need to know all this information about people. I can’t stand this church.” There we go again, I’m leaving church with him again.

We go to the lobby. We buy coffee and eat a sandwich. We talk. While I sit there I can’t believe that this was a man who 25 minutes earlier wanted to go to the front of the church and have people pray for him. It didn’t happen.

I get his phone number. I’ll be calling him and see what happens. I don’t go to church. I’m not sure where to take him or what to do.

Man was I frustrated. I went back upstairs and half-listened to the never ending preaching of a man I wasn’t paying attention to. I have no clue what he said.

Church is over thank God. Our friends come on over. “Did you like it?” “No” says my precious honest wife. We didn’t like it. Thanks, bye.

Money. Money. Does it have to be about money? What would happen to a church that literally asked for no money? I’m sure they’d do fine.

The rest of my sunday wasn’t that cool. I got depressed. I really thought during worship that it was a church I could maybe attend. I can’t stand it that it’s usually so frustrating to go to church. I’m still not sure why I keep going.

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8 Responses to “Abraham, Cars and a Drunk Man”

  1. Darla Says:

    thank you so much for sharing this amazing story. this reminds me exactly of why we’re not “in church.” it sounds like you were the church sunday for ronald. there are many people who would have passed him by, embarrassed to take him into the church. a lot of people would have snuck out after ronald made a scene in the church. a lot of people would not have taken the time to have a cup of coffee and sandwich with ronald. a lot of people would have told ronald he needed to clean up his act before he could be in the presence of God. a lot of people wouldn’t have gotten his number. i’m sorry you and your wife didn’t find what you were searching for, but i’m glad ronald found the answer to his question, “where’s the church?”

  2. dionpugil Says:

    Thanks Darla, now one of my main concerns is “what the heck am I going to do?” Still I’m trying not to care to much about what to do. I used to live for so many years so stressed out about “what to do” as a christian. Hopefully I’m through with all that stress.

    And yep, it’s sad… I guess I’m gonna get my MP3 player started and listen to “Still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Darla Says:

    do you mind if i send this story to a couple of my friends? i think they would love to read it. oh, also, did yeri get my email? i sent it out on saturday, i think. i’ve been praying for her (and you)! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. dionpugil Says:

    Please do so. Everything here is Uncopyrighted ;-).

    I’ll tell her to check her email. Like I said, my wife hardly ever uses my computer. ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for sending it and praying.

    God bless you.

  5. Anne Says:

    Dion,

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. You are such a man after God’s heart, and I was humbled by how you were Christ to Ronald during that service. My prayers for your search to find the right home to worship in. I’m an hour south of Rob Bell’s church, so you and your wife and welcome here anytime you come to the States. (And please come visit my church too – I so love it.)

    Anne

  6. dionpugil Says:

    Anne thanks so much for your invitation. I’d love to visit someday. God willing it will happen.

    About 3 and half years ago the U.S. Embassy denied me my tourist VISA, so I can’t go to the States right now. They said “Look, it’s not that easy to get into the states after 9-11.” Anyways, I’m over that now. I wanted to joing Al-Qaeda at few years ago. (Just kidding!)

    But someday when I get my VISA back I’ll hopefully be able to visit some friends. I’ll make sure I stop and worship with you in your church. Oh and of course drink some Costarican Coffee. -yummy!

    About being Christ for him, man, well I sure didn’t think about it that way. I was just hoping that Ronald could find a church he’d like and get on his feet again.

  7. Linda from the Ooze Says:

    Reading your and Anne’s blogs are inspiring me more than most other things I read because you are being Christ to those God is putting in your path. Sorry you didn’t find a good church and I pray you and your wife do, Gaston. Who knows, maybe you need to start a church in your home.

  8. dionpugil Says:

    Linda, the only problem is that I’ve always been sort of against the random opening of new churches. It’s one of the things that bug me about the protestant church. Anyone can start a church anywhere and anyday.

    Thanks for visting.

    ๐Ÿ™‚


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