Outlaw Faith

My sister-in-law and I ended up washing dishes together again. Again. I will explain.

I write this column each time hoping all ages will listen in, but I write as a baby boomer experiencing the daily love of God. I write believing what the Apostle Paul said is true, “God is at work in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

One of the dangers of the boomer season of life is we forget that promise and, instead, we dwell on what has been. So, I have intentionally set out to write about the gifts of a generous God who is at work constantly. What a privilege. Those gifts can be great and small, ongoing or one time—and all are gifts of grace.

You may chuckle at this, but one of the chief joys of this season of life is my in-law relatives. Why, I don’t even know a funny mother-in-law joke (though I like them). Last weekend, some of them came from Colorado and middle Tennessee to visit my father and mother-in-law in Athens. I not only “married up,” but I married into a wonderful family that made me one of their own.

I could tell you about each of them with great joy, but because I am uniquely lifted up by her so much—and I threatened to write about her in this column—may I tell you about my outlaw sister-in-law?

Karen is outside the expected, orderly way most of us relate to each other. She is most passionate about things that transcend usual baby-boomer discussions and life. Like an outlaw, Karen is on the run from baby boomer cultural preoccupations and controlling expectations. She wants to talk about Christ and the things of Christ.

Dish washing is our special time. These can be intense, passionate discussions. We talk about the thing we most have in common: our faith. “What good Christian book are you reading?” “What are you learning these days?” She’s far better at initiating this than I am.

Here’s the cream that rises to the surface with Karen: Lots of things are really good and important, but Christ and the kingdom of God are the most thrilling. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked about the idols of our boomer generation that substitute for the absolute delight and splendor of being in relationship with the God of the universe who made everything for His pleasure and our good.

Karen, I still remember, when, as a very young new follower of Christ you sat me down one night to talk about faith and life and Jesus. I was thrilled, and now that I think about it, that night set me on a life-long course of encouraging others to engage in growing together in Christlikeness called disciplemaking. You still do that.

Who has God brought into your sphere of influence that you can lift up with Christ today?

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