There are times we need a little uplift.
A Short Story: “Stay Beautiful.”
The day was full of errands, a little of this and a little of that. So I’m entering a busy intersection and will have to stop at a lengthy red light. There he is again, I sigh, with an inescapable groan to myself. The same young man is on the same island, and I will be parked next to him for a few minutes. He knows how to do it well, panhandling with a smile — with a Chihuahua in his arms that has a cute neck-kerchief. I’m third in the row and have the car’s windows down due to my car’s AC being on the blitz.
He’s in his late twenties, has a great smile, black curly hair to his shoulders, black beard, and is dressed casual-messy. He chats with me a little and I mention his pet, he sees I’m not offering any cash but continues to converse with me until a pickup truck pulls up behind me. He smiles at me as he starts to leave and then says, “Stay beautiful” and down the line he goes.
He is friendlier than most, and I find myself smiling at the words he just said to me, “Stay beautiful.” I like them, of course they make me feel beautiful like I’m not in my sixties or in a car that is hotter than the blazes that makes me perspire. The words are like “Take care.” But they feel better to me. I have been down in the dumps and those two words lift my spirits.
God uses people like that to cheer us up. The cashier that says, “Thank you, Miss” when you usually hear, “Thank you, Ma’am’” makes my day brighter. The friend that says, “I’m praying for you,” encourages my heart. Words and smiles, greetings and good cheer, even from a panhandler on a street corner, can improve our outlook and make the day sing.
“Stay beautiful, ya’ hear.”
What is Christian Lite?
The other day I was cruising in my car on my way to see my folks while listening to Christian radio. The topic was fairly light, on the bright side. Now, I’m not one to knock positive thinking for it has helped me improve my game. Listening to the program was nice but it failed to make me think in a deeper way. The words “Christian Lite” immediately popped into my mind. My thoughts said, “That was a form of Christian Lite.”
The thought surprised me. Where did that come from?
I’d never thought that thought before, like “I’ll have a cup of Lite Roast, thank you.” Then I spent some time trying to define what I meant by the phrase, ‘Christian Lite.’ The conclusion I came to is that it is the type of surface-y material that encourages us to be happier or kindly satisfied but rarely motivates or initiates change in us or a desire to grow. Some people would call it “feel good” Christianity.
I think it does feel good, and has its place, we need to be encouraged. Positive encounters and gracious gifts do that for us. I thank God for them and God does give us tangible gifts. We need words that make us smile and make us think of good cheer, person to person. There are times when a hug, smile, casual comment, or act of grace can help us as humans connection one to another. We shouldn’t be dismissive of this. That is when Christian Lite can be of benefit.
Christian Lite stays light and shouldn’t be all there is to our faith. It is a compartment. It doesn’t penetrate into the deeper areas of faith and often fails to highlight the true message of faith.
. . .
As people of faith and of Christ, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and God, are parts of what we do and say as we minister to each other. If this part is hardly ever or is never mentioned, then it ill defines what defines faith and how faith is believed and the actions that stem from faith. A few spiritual publications have become quite “lite” where one has difficulty finding God’s name anywhere in their pages. Some songs are this way. The foundational truth is missing from the message.
We need more than Christian Lite.
Like my opening story in this post, God was mentioned, but He wasn’t the purpose of the article. I wrote it as an example of Christian Lite, a story that has a grateful or encouraging sound to it. It did cheer me up, and the rest of my day was brighter because of it. Who knows? Maybe God did have a purpose in it. I prayed for that young man and thought about his words, stay beautiful, throughout the day. Who doesn’t want to “stay beautiful”?
The subject must be defined for it to be substantive truth.
Christian Lite is useful in encouraging ourselves. However, it needs some buffing up and anchoring to Christian truth, an aligning with the Word of God, for it to become more than ‘lite.’ For us to anchor this ‘good feeling’ with substance means that God is the divine source from Whom the joy originates. Good words are good words, and they have their place. However, if they are contrary words to spiritual truth, ones that disagree with Scripture truth, they cannot be called Christian Lite, for they aren’t Christian at all.
Spiritual depth will require accessing the Source of joy; going to God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three have a part to play in the creation of spiritual depth. The Word of God is another key component for there to be true spiritual living, and it is foundational to spiritual knowledge.
Enjoy Christian Lite but go deeper. Rejoice in the God of our salvation.