I am sitting in a pediatric dentist's office in Florida this morning. My littlest boy had a dental emergency and they were able to squeeze him in for an appointment.
I actually wish I could go to this dentist. The waiting room is decorated like a theme park and the waiting room is loaded with video games. There's also a Disney movie playing on a big screen TV in front of all these comfy seats.
The group who works here knows what they are doing with kids. They use the most state-of-the-art equipment, and have obviously studied how to minimize the negative feelings children have with going to the dentist's office.
When I was a kid, my dentist was a no-nonsense guy with a sterile office and a waiting room stocked with decades old National Geographic and Reader's Digest magazines.
Once the guy went against what nurse was telling him and brusquely injected the wrong side of my mouth with Novocain. He eventually admitted his mistake, thankfully, but I walked out of there over an hour later unable to feel anything in any part of my head.
I am glad for my son's sake that there are dentists out there who have advanced in their understanding of dentistry, and who are doing everything in their power to make it a positive experience.
I wish that the majority of Christians approached their faith the same way.
Unfortunately, far too many of us are afraid to grow and expand our understanding of God. We take the interpretations, traditions and expectations that we were handed, and assume they if they good enough for us, then they should be good enough for everyone.
But there is a world full of people out there longing for a better story. And if we want to be the kinds of Jesus-followers who actually attract others to join with us in our journey, we're going to have to allow the Gospel to transform us, mold us and shape us.
Jesus told his followers that they should be "salt" and "light" to other people. In other words, people who don't really get the whole God thing should see God better when we're around. And they should taste the God-flavors in the world better when they are with us.
May you learn what it means to be salt and light today as you seek to know more about God and what it means to truly follow Jesus.
Allow yourself to hold on to your beliefs tightly enough that they are not wrenched from you by force, but loosely enough that they can be open to transformation.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.