Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Pope Is Cool

Aren't these dewy leaves pretty? I just love
nature.  And my iPhone.  

I caught the 60 Minutes story on the Pope this weekend, and something happened that I didn’t expect: I got super emotional.  There I was, sitting in my living room watching what amounts to a Pope Documentary for crying out loud, and I started tearing up.

Why? The Pope is cool.

I was completely awe-struck by the incredible example he’s setting not just for Catholics, but for humans.

I was also moved because Christianity is an extremely personal and contentious topic for me.

I didn’t just grow up in a we-go-to-church-every-Sunday Christian family, my dad was a pastor and worked for a Christian youth organization and my mom was a Christian education teacher—both at the school I attended.  My reputation preceded me: I was the “perfect” and “really holy” kid. 

You have no idea how many adults told me: You’re so lucky!  How amazing to have these strong Christians as parents and to have all this spiritual knowledge!

Nope.  Not how I felt at all.

Confession: I hated it.

Being constantly surrounded by that world, I saw some good examples of Christians, but I also met a lot of annoying ones.  The following are all true stories: 
  • The Hypocrite: Hey teens, don’t have premarital sex, ok? Yes I’m unmarried and pregnant with a guy I met in bible study, but you know, do as I say not as I do.  
  • The Judge: I won’t tell you to your face that the east coast liberal school you’re attending is evil, so I’ll just fax an appalling article to your dad’s office and let him scold you for your horrible choice.  
  • I Only Speak Christianese: Good morning beloved daughter of Christ, may the Holy Spirit bestow upon you many blessings on this glorious day that the Lord our God has made! (Translation: Good Morning Kalei, have a great day!)
  • So Freaking Boring:  You should be ashamed that you want to see Pretty Woman. I only watch uplifting movies that are pre-approved by my pastor. 
As a teenager, it made me think: so wait, what’s so great about being a Christian?  And so I ran (sprinted would be more accurate) away from that life.  I didn’t want anything to do with it.  

Fast forward 20 years.  After a “successful” life that seemed perfect on the outside, I hit rock bottom- my marriage ended, I lost my job, I didn’t have a place to call home, I became deeply depressed and didn’t see a reason for living.  

It was only then, when I was stripped of everything, that I reconnected with my faith. And I realized that God was with me all along, waiting for me to come back.

In this new chapter of my life, I’ve prioritized two things:
  1. Be real.  
  2. Love. 
I found pretending to be exhausting.  Don't get me wrong, being human isn’t easy.  And let me tell you something else, being a Christian can be hard.   But it’s been so freeing to be authentic about my struggles.  It's so freeing to just be me. 

I’m no theologian, but I believe Jesus was all about Love.  Love him, love others, love ourselves.  Kinda simple, really. 

And somehow, through our imperfect, messy humanness, it got twisted.  We thought it was ok to pretend, judge, hate, mistreat each other. 

That’s why I’m so grateful for Pope Francis. He’s inspiring a new conversation about what it means to be a Christian, because he’s living it.  He loves everyone.  He judges no one.  He serves the poor.  He’s humble.  

And he’s human.  

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Philippians 2:1-14 MSG

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19


  1. Sometimes I forget we grew up in the same house because we had such drastically different experiences... good thing we both turned out SUPER awesome anyway :-)

    1. It is amazing...not that we're super awesome of course, but that we all lived under the same roof and had such different experiences. I'm so grateful that we can talk about it now. :)

  2. OMG this was MY LIFE too. I keep forgetting how similar our early years were. And I've reached the same conclusion. It's pretty simple, really. Thank you for this!

    1. Christine, I know! We PK's are a special, special bunch. I'm so happy you relate, thanks for your support, as always. :)