Can a Christian get along with an atheist, a lesbian, an agnostic and a Jehovah's Witness? Sounds like the beginning of a joke but its actually my family......
Humor is not normally a word that is associated with being a Christian but in my family, humor is a big part of being a Christian. That and extreme tolerance.
I was raised by my Methodist preacher father and agnostic mother. I have two siblings: a brother who is an atheist and a sister who is a lesbian. I, myself ended up becoming a Jehovah's Witness, something that my father responded to with a lot more shock and disbelief than he did my sister preferring women to men but I digress a little. I'm not entirely sure how we all grew up so diverse and with such varying beliefs but we did and whats more, we all got along, mostly.
My father has, over the years, tried mainly unsuccessfully to encourage my mother to attend church with him, and on occasion he has managed the impossible and we have all gone with him, much to the amusement of the vicar who I often thought would prefer the devil himself in his church than my mother who would wear low cleavage enhancing tops and shoes that could double for lethal weapons. Add to that my brothers obvious disinterest and disgust and my sister's buzz-cut and you can imagine the various looks of disdain from all around us. My father would walk to the pulpit beaming with pride that he had all his family with him as he recited his sermons. The vicar would beam with embarrassment.
The word 'sermon' brings to mind something slightly different than the obvious. My father was/is all for adding interest to his sermons, and he has done this most Sundays using various props to illustrate his point. A couple that spring to mind are a fireman's helmet( from his days as a firefighter) and a hospital crutch ( from when he fell down a mine shaft while rescuing a horse and sprained his ankle). His most recent sermon has seen him persuading the congregation, of mainly old folk, standing on one leg while he raved about the virtues of not being a (metaphorically speaking) one legged Christian. That crutch from his previous sermon would have come in very handy for some of those folk I'm sure.
So, from the 'I'm not perfect just forgiven' sticker on his car to the 'Jesus loves everybody, even you' one on the letterbox, my father is a very enthusiastic Christian. He loves talking about Jesus, especially to the down and outs on the streets who suddenly don't seem to stay in town or down and out very long.
The incident with the drunk though really embarrassed my mother. My father had just left a bible study class one evening and as he was walking to his car, he encountered a drunk who was rather loud and belligerent. The drunk was insulting to my father who immediately did the opposite of what most people would do. He walked over to him and began to engage him in conversation about God telling the now bewildered man that he would pray for him. Which he did. In the middle of the street like a modern day Jesus. The drunken man began to cry, quite possibly wishing that he'd stayed for that extra pint in the pub.
My mother has, over the years become virtually immune to the various shenanigans of our family and my father has given up trying to turn my sister straight and my brother into a religious church goer but despite all our differences, and maybe because of them we all get along fine. I'm the only one that my father talks to about religion in the family and that's because, out of all of us, I have a strong belief in God and my eyes don't immediately glaze over when he comes over all spiritual, which is quite often and normally when I'm cooking or writing.
Our family. Mixed and diverse but always humorous.
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