Tricks of the Trade?

Hi Friends...Happy Official Day of love and happiness. If no one has told you yet today that they love you, let me be the first...I love you. Really, I do. And I love that we share life together in this little place called a blog. Thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

And I feel full of thankfulness and love for people today. I have to say that I have been totally blown away by the overwhelming response we have gotten from people regarding our song on I-Tunes this week. Wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you for spreading the word and for leaving so many amazing comments on the feedback page. We either have a lot of amazing fans, or our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings have been very busy this week!

This morning I got to do three radio interviews for stations in California, Oklahoma, and Each one of these stations made me laugh and smile. They are so supportive of the music and the new album and of us as a band. To think that people I have never met would embrace me, and make me laugh and smile has made me happy today. I just want to tell the world thank you and give it a big hug. George lasso's the moon. Jenny hugs the world.

I woke up with birds chirping, the sun shining, air in my lungs, and people welcoming me into their I am listening to Coldplay, eating a cupcake with loads of pink frosting and sprinkles on it, and finishing up the book Eat, Pray, Love for my book club tomorrow night. What a brilliant and lovely day.

My mom called me this morning and asked how I was dealing with the "negative feedback" about the album and the song on i-Tunes. A typical mom question. Making sure I was ok and being strong and just seeing if I needed to cry or anything. I thought that was sweet of her. I imagine that is what Tony Romo's mom does with him (and if you don't know who this is, forgive me, I am a HUGE football fan and he is the quarterback for my team, The Cowboys, i reference him quite a bit).

First of all, there have been very few negative comments on the whole. Compared to the positive feedback, it is so small, it is hardly on the radar for us. But one comment did stick out to me today that I can't shake. The person said they loved the song up until the bridge when it turned into a Christian song and it tricked them. They said they hated it when Christians tricked them.

I interpreted this as a general accusation on the followers of Christ, not just me or our music, it was not personal. And I have thought about the comment a lot today. That this person has lived a life around people who follow Jesus and instead of finding honesty in them they have obviously found people who try to dupe them, win them over, or trick them into following Christ.

Today I woke up and read 1 John. My favorite book about love in the Bible. The thing about Jesus is this. He just loved. He did not lie, dupe, trick, or bribe people into following him, because he did not have to. He did not scare them with threats of hell and damnation, he did not bark out legalistic standards of living and guilt people into his arms, and he did not write songs or messages that threw in a secret "Jesus/God" twist at the end to trick them.

He spoke of a new law. The law of love. The law of the heart. He talked to everyone. People of faith. People not belonging to any faith. People who were outcasts because of adultery or because they were thieves. He talked to Rabbis and Priests, moms, dads, children, fisherman, city counsel leaders, tax collectors, the poor, the diseased, the rich, the arrogant, the broken, anyone, and everyone. Jesus was not inclusive and he never meant for us to be either.

On the off chance the person who left the comment ever reads this blog... Welcome. I believe in God because I hear his voice, he speaks to me, and I am convinced with all my heart and soul that he loves me dearly as He does each person in our world. For the times you have felt duped, and tricked by the church and by Christians, I am sorry. I have felt duped at times as well. But the truth is, Jesus never duped anyone, and the truth of my faith belongs to a God who is so Holy, gracious, and powerful that he does not need to use those methods to draw the world to Him. Jesus did not sugar coat things or use guilt, manipulation, elitism, hell, or good works as means of forcing people to follow him. He did not use quizzes, pamphlets, or street marketing to "convert" people. He did not play tricks. Games. Or pay people off with untrue promises to win their allegiance. And neither should we. I believe God will find you outside all of those things and instead draw you to Him through his love for you and through his sheer Holiness.

My Jesus got to know people. By name. He built relationships. He left the doors wide open for people to follow him if they so chose to. He invested in people. He talked to every person, of every walk of life, with every skeleton in their closet, and his straight-forward invitation to each one of those people was love.

I guess today as I have thought about love, and as that comment has rung in my ears, I have thought about how we are supposed to engage people with the gospel we believe in. What came to mind was a story Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz) told a few months ago at a conference, about a girl who approached him in the park and after introducing herself immediately proceeded to ask him, a devout man of faith, if he died if he was going to heaven or hell. His response was something along the lines of, "Wow, that is a really deep and personal question, about my faith, and what I believe in as a human. So I guess you want to be my friend? I'd love to have coffee with you and get to know you better." The girl looked puzzled and said, "No, no, I just wanted to know if you thought you'd go to heaven or hell if you died today." To which he replied again that her question was the most personal question in the world and wanted to know if she was inviting him to be her friend. In a state of confusion the girl looked at him with a puzzled face and a lack of words. His ultimate response was, "This is a matter of life and death, it is deep and personal, and if you want to know this about me, surely you want to be apart of my life? Otherwise, it's a bit much to ask someone you do not care about and are unwilling to be friends with, don't you think?"

Wow. Brilliant. I believe that is what Jesus himself probably would've said! Because Jesus doesn't need us to dupe people for him. He needs us to love people. Just live our lives open to the world around us, with no agendas, pursuing relationships, and being entangled in his love all at the same time. People will see that. That is real. There is no need to dupe when that kind of love exists.

God is about love. And love is about truth. And the truth will set us free. So may we endeavor as believers to consume ourselves with the basic love and honesty that Jesus modeled on earth...not fancy tricks.

For what it's thoughts on love today.

Happy Valentines Day from me to you!