Tag Archives: how to share my faith

10 Rules To Follow If You Want To Survive The London Underground

 

london-underground-tube

Whenever I’ve told people that I live in London, especially those living up North, I’ve usually been met with the same disdain and horror.

“London?!” they cry, “How do you cope living there?!”

Cope? What’s there to cope with?

Well, if you didn’t know, it’s ‘smoggy, dirty, dingy and overpriced’, full of ‘rude’ inhabitants that walk with such strength it’s though they’re trying to shatter the earth beneath their feet, and with such pace, one could assume that there’s a devastating hurricane in the not-too-far-distance. 

I love LDN. I’m not a die-hard Londoner who can’t imagine living anywhere else – I imagine myself in different countries all the time. However, I think I am privileged to have found my place in such a vibrant city, with each ‘end’ having its own culture, even cultures that exist within cultures. I’ve learnt how to whine like a Jamaican, doba’le like a Nigerian, sing along to a few Bangra tunes, drop a couple words of Twi – I’m sure you get my drift.

As cliche as it sounds, there isn’t a city quite like LDN. Growing up here has resulted in a spillage of other cultures into mine; we live in dynamic city (and I’m pretty sure my ability to twerk dance to Rihanna’s Work would be overall mediocre if I’d grown up on the outskirts of Cumbria).

It’s not all good though, is it? Those who have the misfortune of travelling into Central London every day are well aware that LDN is indeed overcrowded. Between the commuters near punching you in the face in order to reach a seat before you, that awkward walk behind a slow moving buggy and that annoying person who keeps getting their clothing trapped in the door (how do we know? The driver keeps announcing it to the whole tube), I’m sure that we can all agree that the daily commute into LDN is a truly treacherous experience.

Here are a few rules to be aware of if you are new to the LDN underground and are appalled by what you’re experiencing.  

1) It’s okay if you haven’t showered, feel free to put your armpit in someone’s face. We accept that you’ve had to get up early everyday this week and haven’t showered since Sunday.

2) It’s perfectly acceptable to discuss your love/sex life in a full, yet silent, carriage. We are all dying to know that new thing Luke has been trying out.

3) When there’s no space, create space. Pushing people aside in order to fit you, your sweat, your rucksack and your desperation, on the already packed tube, is fine.

4) A couple that commutes together, stays together. If you want your relationship to be successful, travelling together everyday is essential.  And of course, we all want to observe your lengthy, saliva-filled goodbye before 7.30am. Approaching the stop at which one of them has to depart often feels like the dramatic ending of a scene from a romcom (“It’s time now…I have to go…I know, I know…But I’ll see you again…I won’t be long…”) so please, feel free to entertain us.

5) Hundreds of people queuing to access an underground station isn’t a safety hazard at all – do not be alarmed.

6) It’s okay to be pressed up against a man you don’t know. The lights are dim enough and the fact that we are all using headphones anyway (please see number 7) means that there’s already music playing in our ears (although it might not be the same song). Feel free to have a cheeky whine.

7) Headphones are essential because the silence is too loud.

8) Judge the ‘seek assistance’ people who definitely knew they didn’t have enough money on their oyster card to travel to work but were moving in faith, tapping away, hoping that the god of TFL would create a miracle.

9) You will feel an immense surge in panic as you realise that you’re approaching the stop you need to get off at and there are copious amounts of people blocking your pathway to the outside world. Don’t worry, they will part for you. Or you will push them aside whispering “sorry, sorry..I’m sorry” as you pass.

10) Someone will tell you about Jesus

How strange it is that we never use our daily commute as an opportunity to share God’s love with those around us. We don’t know what the person beside us is going through, whether they desperately need someone to listen to them for a short while or to hear 5 simple words: You’re going to be okay.

Sharing the love of Christ is hard at times – how do we share our faith without seeming fanatic or delusional? What’s more, how dare we share our faith with the person sitting beside us awkwardly on that awful commute to the job we sorta-really-maybe hate?

I’m not telling you to start shouting down the carriage about hell and repentance – I don’t think that’s the way to go about it. I do think you should share a smile with someone. I think you could say ‘Have a good day’ as the person beside you gets up to leave. Perhaps you could ask about the book they’re reading. Maybe they’ll ask about your devotional in response (or they’ll  look at you like you’re a crazy person and move across the carriage). Whatever the outcome, you’ll know in your heart that you are fulfilling God’s greatest call to us all: to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

There are hundreds of ways to share Christ’s love and to embody his character. Let’s try some of them next week!

Lots of love and happy, glorious Friday to you all!

Joy xxx

Are We Really Going To Burn In Hell?

hellburn

If you read the blog regularly, you’ll know that despite my faith in Jesus Christ, I still have a myriad of  questions that I need answers to. Should I list some?

Oh, okay then.

  1. Why does my hair shrink when water touches it?
  2. Why don’t Black lives matter?
  3. Are people born gay?
  4. Is Christianity meant to be inclusive?
  5. How does science fit with religion?
  6. Is yoga really that bad?
  7. Does it rain when God is angry?
  8. Are some people just destined to have awful lives while others are destined to be Beyoncé?
  9. Can mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia be solved with prayer alone?
  10. Is the use of medicine synonymous with a lack of faith?
  11. Does God frown upon condoms?

I could spend this whole blogpost listing some of the questions that run through my mind. Some are inconsequential (see number 1), while other answers have deeper ramifications for a significant strata of our society. With all these questions (and about 100 more) passing through my mind every day, it is no surprise that my faith is something that I wrestle with. When you choose to live by faith and not by sight, you also accept that you will navigate life with more questions than answers. And that’s okay (for now, anyway). Over the weekend, I witnessed God’s transformative power and I’m once again settled in the knowledge that He knows best (this feeling doesn’t last very long, unfortunately).

As a young Christian living in the Western world (where faith appears to be on the decline) it can be difficult sharing my faith. I realise how ludicrous it sounds, and while I am not ashamed of my faith, I’m not exactly singing it from the rooftops at work. If I am asked my views, however, I am more than happy to share them. One day, during a free period, (I work at a school), which I had given myself (God, forgive me), my friend (who happens to be an atheist) said to me:

Well, Joy, if you really believe that I, and all our other colleagues, who do not share your faith are going to hell, why aren’t you spreading your message more urgently?

My response was a stunned silence which felt like it lasted an eternity, and not the 3 seconds it actually took to formulate a response. I gave her an honest answer. I explained that if I spent my life using fear as a tool to convert people to Christianity and condemning the lifestyles of those I worked with and came across, I probably wouldn’t have anyone to evangelise to. I preferred to be all the things Jesus required of me (kind, patient, loving etc.) everyday and in the hopes that people would see the light of Christ within me.

A* answer. Full marks. Well done, Joy.

It was only when I got home that I realised that while my answer was true, it was also a cop out. I found sharing faith in secular environments awkward and it had become easier to pass under the radar and ‘live out the life of Jesus Christ’ because that enabled me to avoid questions about gay marriage, abortion and pre-marital sex. Despite coming to this conclusion, the question remained:

Why aren’t you more urgent, Joy?

I guess a part of me didn’t really believe that anyone was really going to burn in hell fire for all of eternity. Both heaven and hell had become distant concepts, concepts that my small mind could not fully comprehend. I could imagine a potential future with a husband, children (12, to be exact) and a career because those concepts were commonplace, but the idea of eternal joy or eternal suffering were beyond my scope.

I don’t think about hell or heaven much, if I’m honest. My Christianity doesn’t exist because I believe in a great reward or a great punishment, it exists because I love Jesus Christ and want nothing more than to talk to him and learn about him. Heaven is cool, but I love him more than the prize.  And I think that was part of the problem: I had become so used to my relationship with Jesus that I had failed to view the entire picture.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

If I knew when the world was going to come to an end, what would I do differently? Would this knowledge cause me to become more urgent with my evangelism?  Would it cause me to stand on street corners declaring the second coming of our Saviour King?

Maybe.

What’s more likely is that I’d be on my knees repenting for all known and unknown sins, pacing the rooms and fasting until I passed out. I joke. Kind of. What I’m really saying is that I had become so selfish with this precious truth that even in a hypothetical situation where the exact date and time that Jesus was returning was known to me, it probably wouldn’t impact the intensity of my evangelism.

I think a lot of us have neglected the great commission and have become afraid of sharing the truth with others because we do not want to seem intolerant, weird or fanatic. But what if their lives depended on it? If we truly believed that there was a God coming to judge all of mankind, why wouldn’t we do more? We should…or maybe we don’t really believe in it all.

Lots of love,

Joy