CNN and the atheist woman who did me in

Pablo Twose Valls @flickr.comMusicians, looking like a praise band, lined the stage. The audience cheered as the  leader yelled, “Are you ready to be more mindful?”

The CNN video captured scenes from a “Sunday Assembly.” Not a church. A non-church attended by atheists.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, documenting this new phenomenon, reported that more people are leaving religion than ever before in history. The growing numbers of atheists and agnostics are forming their own non-religion by gathering on Sundays for inspiration and fellowship—without God.

A man’s philosophic expression filled the screen. As one of the assemblers, he explained to Spurlock that they met together to “focus on something bigger than the individual.”

Then a close-up of a middle-aged, blond-haired woman. Her voice trembled with emotion as she spoke. “We don’t need God or religion. We need to know we are here for each other.”

I was done in.

She mentioned the one thing Jesus asked his followers to do: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12 NIV)

She also pinpointed the main thing missing from my life. Like many Christians, I drive to church on Sunday morning, sit in a row facing the front, listen to uplifting music and inspiring sermons…then leave and do it all again seven days later. But love my fellow believer? I don’t even know them, let alone love them.

I wondered why the blond woman fought back tears. Perhaps she was exhausted and broken from religious people who say they follow Jesus but in reality they judge others, spreading condescension and shame. I know most Christians are kind, but somehow we’ve become known for who we hate, not for who we love.

Had she been a victim of judgment or exclusion?

Sadly, Christians are also not associated with caring about the poor and those on the margins of society. What the media reports is our preoccupation with passing laws to protect our privileged political and economic positions.

Had the blond woman been a single mom? On welfare?

She indicated the one thing she needed above everything else: she needed to know there were people out there who loved her and who would walk with her through thick and thin.

That’s what I need too.

And I need to know how to give that kind of love back to my fellow man.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:35 NLT)

Maybe Jesus knew something. Maybe he wired us to need this.

“God,” I prayed. “Help me! Help me step out and love others—especially my fellow believers. What can I do?”

I sensed His reply:

“Join me—I’ve got people everywhere for you to love. And you’ll know more of my love as you take action. Don’t forget the blond-haired woman—her words and the emotion behind them. And pray for her and the Sunday assemblers. I’m up to something. It will be good.”

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photo credit: Pablo Twose Valls



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