Love Him out loud

In December 2001 I had never heard of blogs or podcasts, but I did have a weekly column in the Green Bay News-Chronicle, as fine a newspaper as I’ve ever known, God rest its soul. This is what I submitted for Dec. 18, 2001, a week before Christmas.

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As dreams go, this one was pretty vivid, not for any of the imagery but the intensity of the emotion. I can’t remember the specific details, except for four words.

I dreamed a little traveling drama group had just finished performing a piece that was full of joy and finding meaning in life.

Someone asked the actors why they were so joyous, and they began to talk, quietly and almost apologetically, about Jesus Christ, looking furtively back and forth as if afraid to be discovered talking about the subject in public.

“Wait a minute,” I said, and this is when the emotion welled up. “Why are you acting like you’re ashamed that Jesus has made such an important difference in your life? There’s no need to hide the fact. If you love Jesus, love Him out loud.”

I awoke from the dream with those words literally echoing in my ears: Love Him out loud.

Now, I am not someone who wears his faith on his sleeve. Unless someone asks me, or if I let slip that I’m excited to hear about a Christian musician who is playing a concert somewhere nearby, the source of whatever joy, peace or optimism I convey usually remains unspoken.

It’s a shame that we have developed this societal attitude that it’s not polite to mention or celebrate God in civil conversation. Something of the richness and freedom of America is lost when we allow ourselves to be intimidated by people who claim to be offended or belittled by public displays of faith in God.

I enjoy learning about the different ways that we have to get us in touch with the Creator.

I love that the Oneida Nation built its public school in the shape of a turtle, illustrating its tradition that the Creator built the world on the back of a huge turtle. I wish we would celebrate the rich melting pot culture of America by inviting all religious traditions into our schools, not shutting them all out.

I have never been offended, and I do not feel belittled, when Catholics finish the Lord’s prayer before what I as a Protestant have always been taught was the last line: “For thine is the kingdom …”

I do not feel threatened to know that others believe Jesus was a great teacher but not the Messiah, or even that He did not or does not exist at all.

All I know is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude about the birth that we Christians have come to celebrate every Dec. 25, and the death and resurrection that we recall every spring. My journey of faith brought me to a personal relationship with a living Jesus.

The important thing, I think, is that we believe in something bigger than ourselves. That search defines who we are as individuals and as a people, and I pray that what you have found along your journey fills you with as much love and peace as the Christ has brought to me. If not, check Him out. If so, love Him out loud. 

A spirit of love does not have room for hatred of other faiths, other traditions. Such a simple concept, taught by almost all faiths, and yet so often tossed aside: Love one another.

Don’t be afraid, in a spirit of love and respect for others, to say what has made a difference in your life: Love Him out loud.

One thought on “Love Him out loud

  1. Love him out loud! Amen! You are loved; I am loved; we are all loved by Jesus. Praise God for such amazing love.

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