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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: The God I Believe In
By Karen Wilber
01/29/08


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The first time I saw Misty she was getting ready for a party. More clothes littered our dorm room floor than I had in my lone suitcase. Misty flashed a smile and sang out “Hey, roomie” over the throbbing beat of dance music. I was enchanted.

Misty was clever and captivating, everything I was not. Her sophistication was dazzling and I prayed that a little would rub off on me. When she told me that she was a Christian and invited me to church, I jumped at the chance.

God and I were politely acquainted. I stopped in to say hello on Easter and Christmas; perhaps checked in a couple more times during the year. Misty went nearly every week. Her spirituality attracted me like an oasis beckoning a thirsty traveller.

Then one afternoon I returned from class and there was a small statue sitting atop her stereo. Misty sat facing it, cross-legged, humming quietly with her eyes closed.

I quickly scanned my small mental file of Bible stories from childhood. This particular practice didn’t register. “I thought you were a Christian?”

She exhaled and opened her eyes. “There’s so much we can learn from other religions if we open ourselves up; so many paths to heaven. The God I believe in wants us to be spiritual beings.”

“But didn’t Pastor Joe preach last Sunday that Jesus is the only way? You know, the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father, except through him?”

“That might be true for Pastor Joe, but the God I believe in doesn’t discriminate. I can’t believe that God would keep anyone out of heaven. He’s the God of love.”

I confess that I liked her God of love. Over time I learned that the God she believed in was modern, cultured, urbane. He said ‘come as you are, and don’t change a thing’. He laughed at my jokes. He winked at my behavior. God didn’t care what I did as long as I was happy. I didn’t know Christianity could be so cool.

I was running late one day when I stumbled into Misty arguing with a guy we knew from English class. Misty rolled her eyes as Neil spoke, “. . . All I’m saying is that my roommate and I have had some great discussions about Christianity. He’s a good guy and I think some doors might be opening where I can share the gospel with him.”

“And I’m saying that we all worship the same God. We just call him different names. You need to be more tolerant, Neil. You need to respect people of other religions.”

“Respect others, yes. Absolutely. But I must respect the truth, too. Scripture tells us to stand firm and share the truth with gentleness and respect.”

Misty replied with an icy silence. Neil nodded a greeting at me, turned, and walked away. I had never heard anyone put it quite that way. I knew all about tolerance. I had tolerance by the boatload. I craved truth.

Misty leaned toward me and smirked, “I’ll bet I know what church he goes to. Can you believe those Jesus freaks? They’re so close-minded. I know God can’t stand them either. The God I believe in would never be so judgmental.”

“But, Misty,” I groped for words, feeling as though a bright light had just flicked on in a darkened room, “You taught me that everyone’s beliefs contain truth. So, don’t his too? Maybe we’re being judgmental?”

“No, he’s the narrow-minded one. I feel sorry for people like that. Forget it. Let’s go.”

Suddenly, the comfortable God I’d carefully constructed vanished. The oasis I thought I’d found turned out to be a mirage. Neil spoke of sharing truth. I had to find out what Misty was so afraid of. I worked up the nerve to call Neil and he invited me to a Bible study. The group was warm and welcoming, hardly the uptight puritans that Misty despised. They didn’t offer me tolerance. They gave me respect. Let’s just say that God and I got much better acquainted that term. I fell in love with his son.

As for Misty, apparently there were limits to tolerance. She continued collecting spiritual practices, but would never set foot in our Bible study. She found another roommate for the next semester; said we were incompatible. It seems there wasn’t enough room in her life for the God I believe in.

------------------
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 NIV


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This article has been read 905 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Hanne Moon 01/31/08
Awesome entry. Very succinct without being preachy. Isn't it amazing how the golden idols fall to dust before the one and true God?
Lynda Schultz 01/31/08
Well done, you wrapped the truth up in a very engaging package.
Joanne Sher 02/02/08
I just love the voice - I was engaged throughout, and the lesson was well taught without being preachy. Very well done.
Sheri Gordon02/04/08
Such great truths in here -- awesome job with the topic. And your dialogue writing is very good.
Kristen Hester02/04/08
Great story. I like how you illustrated some important truths. This is very relevant.
Jan Ackerson 02/05/08
Super! I'd love to see this as a discussion-starter for teen or college-age groups. I think we'd be amazed at how many people share this brand of religion. So sad!
Tim Pickl02/06/08
You captured the spirit of the misled college student perfectly--the culture of the Big Lie to accept all ways to heaven. Jesus is The Way... Masterful writing!
Joy Faire Stewart02/06/08
The emotions are so vivid I cared for each character. Was glad MC found the truth. Excellent on topic.
Holly Westefeld02/06/08
Yes, all too common these days, that new religion of tolerance.
My favorite line was:
"The oasis I thought I’d found turned out to be a mirage."
Betty Castleberry02/06/08
Sooo much truth in this. All of this New Age stuff scares me. It has led so many astray. I loved this:
"God and I were politely acquainted. I stopped in to say hello on Easter and Christmas; perhaps checked in a couple more times during the year." This is very true as well.
Well done.
LauraLee Shaw02/06/08
i>Her spirituality attracted me like an oasis beckoning a thirsty traveller.

It's sentences like this one that captured me throughout this piece. YOu grabbed me with good descriptions and voice throughout. Love the happy ending, except for Misty.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
Hmmm, there is certainly some food for thought in this piece. Misty came alive for me in this piece, she was real and so were her faults, I liked how Neil presented his beliefs without shoving it on her too and I'm definitely glad that her 'roomie' was able to see the lightbulb of truth. Nice work! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
This is such an important message in this "get along at all costs" world today.
Some would call it philosophy, but as you more aptly put it, it is truth - pure and simple. As CS Lewis stated, when it comes to Christ being the way, the only way, He left no "wiggle room."
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/08
In a very special way, you presented timeless truth as it stands against the gods of "tolerance" and "feel good." Your descriptions were excellent.
Corinne Smelker 02/06/08
Wonderful analogy. Loved the line about craving truth, it speaks volumes.
Dee Yoder 02/06/08
It seems it's intolerable to try to be tolerant of the Christians who believe the Bible is truth and you've captured that cultural POV well. History has shown that the best way to ostracize a whole group of people for one reason or another is to "demonize" their behavior so society has the excuse to remove or punish that group. Though we seem to be moving in that direction with Christianity, I pray God opens eyes to this behavior.
Debbie Wistrom02/06/08
I liked how you used the title throughout the story. I loved this line "Her spirituality attracted me like an oasis beckoning a thirsty traveller."
Keep it up.
Sheri Gordon02/07/08
Congratulations on your EC, Karen. I really like this piece.
Dee Yoder 02/07/08
Congratulations, Karen!! Very good story!!
Joy Faire Stewart02/07/08
Excellent writing and deserving to be a winner. Congratulations!
william price02/07/08
Congrats on your EC!!!!!! Excellent job. God bless.
Sara Harricharan 02/08/08
***Congrats!***
Catrina Bradley 02/12/08
I've heard Misty's very words from the mouth of a teen. A very much needed message. Great writing too. :) Congrats!