Sometimes, I think about Jameer Nelson.
It’s okay if you don’t know who he is. He had a better than average career in the NBA that fizzled out slowly over time.
If my memory serves me right, he made the NBA Finals only once in his career. Actually, I know exactly when; it was 2009, I remember because he lost to Kobe Bryant and my favorite team. 🙂 Nevertheless, I remember that particular championship series for more than just my team winning.
What is etched in my memory about him is his famous tattoo. One of the most memorable tattoos in the NBA. On his back, from shoulder to shoulder are the words ”All eyes on me.”
A big tattoo with bold words.
The tattoo is a tribute to 2Pac and also Nelson’s belief in himself. Nelson was never a great player per se. He was never even the best player on any team. Yet still, he believed that all eyes were on him.
. . . . . . .
Not too long ago as I was preparing for my road trip, my friend Emily told me in a serious tone, I need to be very careful calling myself a Christian. She informed me that many people don’t like Christians.
“It’s not your fault, you’re fine.” Emily said to me, “But Christians don’t really make a good name for themselves. And you are associating yourself with them. People are going to watch you closer because of that title.”
It reminds me of another friend, Sarah. Sarah’s great, but she hates chiropractors. She hates chiropractors like a city person hates the country life. She’s never experienced it first hand, she won’t listen to why someone loves living in the countryside, and she’ll never get close enough to learn more about it. She says she’ll never go to a chiropractor because “chiropractors believe in weird things that aren’t right!”
They believe in weird things?
Apparently, she was talking about the chiropractors who believe they can help fight the flu, sinus issues, and other various ailments of the body by adjusting the spine.
Is that weird? We live in an era where we can stand in front of a mysterious box that shoots invisible waves into the body and kills tumors inside. I’m just going to say we’ve come far in medicine, I’m not sure if there are weird ideas that can’t find their way to existence.
I’ve gone to chiropractors all my life in different states and countries, yet I have never heard a single chiropractor say that to me. I don’t know if it’s true, but to be honest, I would be inclined to believe it! Every time I get a cold, there is one spot in my spine that starts to hurt just a bit. Each time I feel that pain, I know I need to start drinking more water and take some vitamin C because a cold is coming.
Despite never hearing from the horses’ mouths about these chiropractic wonders, there are apparently a few out there who have said it enough times to negatively affect people. People who’ve never directly heard them say it or experienced it for themselves no longer want to seek chiropractic care of any kind.
I’m no chiropractor, but it seems like there are a few ruining it for the rest of them.
. . . . . . .
I’m going to bring up a former coworker and continue with the long way ‘round to my point.
This coworker learned that I was a Christian and assumed a lot about me. He was probably, one of the most closed-minded persons I’ve ever met. He had this idea that all Christians were the same, had a cookie-cutter upbringing, and believed the exact same things across the world.
Despite me being the Christian, he knew more hymns than I do. He would sing them regularly to mock my faith.
Despite me being the Christian, he was well versed in church history and would demand I apologize to him directly for things like the Crusades, Christian slave owners, and Christian white supremacists.
Despite me being the Christian, he was the one who believed in numerology and had fears of numbers like “666” and was surprised whenever I was chill about the numbers popping up.
Funny how that happened.
. . . . . . .
Listen, I get it. I really do. Christians haven’t been the best people in the world throughout history. Heck, Christians haven’t even the best people during my lifetime. There’s a reason why Gandhi said, “I like your Christ, but your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Ouch, tell me how you really feel.
Then again, Gandhi wasn’t perfect either. There are plenty of stories about his troubled life. Other religions, nations, scientists, literally any group of people with any time of history weren’t perfect.
Apparently, chiropractors aren’t perfect either.
I believe in the work that chiropractors do. I’ve been going all my life. I’ve been to enough chiropractors around the world to know they aren’t all good at their job. Yet, I still go to them for help because I know I need it.
Unfortunately, instead of letting the individual practitioners each show their knowledge, skills, and helpfulness, people from the general public refuse to go to them. They rather stay away because they heard once, from a friend of a friend, that one of them, somewhere, believed they can help people even more through a different method.
Curse them for trying to be more helpful in a new way, right?
Chiropractors are stuck in a predicament. What should a regular chiropractor who is helping people do?
Should they stop helping people with their spine adjustments?
Should they stop calling themselves a chiropractor in hope that people will see they are not like the others?
. . . . . .
I’ll be honest, I tried that last method for a while.
I was tired of all of it.
Tired of the Christians who protest funerals of fallen soldiers.
Tired of the Christians who believe every Republican candidate is the new Lord and Savior ready to redeem them.
Tired of the Christians who said, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” (I’m not even sure what that means!)
So I stopped calling myself a Christian.
I felt trendy and edgy. I was the “Christian who wasn’t a Christian.” I was going to change the perspective of Christians by no longer being called one. Let them fix their own problems, then maybe I’ll be called that name again.
I can’t remember how long I did this. It was long enough to realize, the problem at the end of my trend wasn’t the name. It was me. No matter what I called myself, I was still making decisions that made other Christians and non-Chrisitan question my belief.
Hundreds of years ago, there was a belief in the Christian faith that you had to look perfect in order to bring yourself to God. Priests and pastors alike who dress in the finest of clothing to ensure they were representing God well enough.
That line of thought led masses of people to believe they need to “clean themselves up” before coming to God. That God wouldn’t want someone like them because they were too dirty, too messy, too unlike what they were seeing from the Church.
Thankfully, some churches have matured since then. If God wanted someone perfect to represent him, he wouldn’t choose me. He wouldn’t choose any human. We’re imperfect.
And that’s kind of the point.
Why did God have three murders write the majority of the Bible?
Why did God have a prostitute listed as one of the greatest persons of faith?
Why did God allow two men who constantly squabbled with each other to be his famous disciples?
Because those are the people he chose. Murderers, prostitutes, testosterone filled man-children, those are the people He wants. Those are the people Jesus hung out with when he was on Earth.
Those people are God’s kind of people
God is trying to say, “Hey, I’ll take them, I’ll take you, I’ll take anybody. Literally, anybody.” That’s the point.
. . . . . .
I appreciate Emily trying to protect me from people who don’t want to associate with Christians. Just like chiropractors, I’m not going to change everything I say I am just because a few of them are messing it up for the rest of us.
If people should want to focus on me because I’m a man of faith let them.
Let them see me struggle and fail, time and time again.
Let them see me get back up after each failure.
Let them see me try, and try again, despite my consistent flaws and poor habits.
Let them place their eyes on me and watch my life.
Let them see how I live, how imperfect I am.
Let them understand that God will take anybody.