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42

I don’t know a thing about blogging.
Posted by Clare

I’m dead serious. I don’t Twitter – don’t do any lengthy email. I never even saw a Facebook page until a year ago. I rarely do social media. This is my first blog ever, so please be patient with me while I figure this out.

So then, why blog?

As much as I value theological truth and want always to pursue it, you’ll only rarely read me weighing in on deep theological issues or controversies. Here’s what really interests me; and, I’ve said this about myself many times. “I’m reasonably certain Jesus would prefer that I was half as smart and twice as obedient.” What really drives me is how does this truth I claim to believe, work itself out in real life?

I’m a teacher and spiritual mentor, but mostly I’m a storyteller. I’m hoping that in some of my stories you’ll recognize yourself and I can help keep you from making some of the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve been nearly a full time mentor for almost 27 years. (You can go to the About page, if you really want to know more about me.) At 63, I have mileage and the odometer is still rolling – I’m still learning from God and life. And, perhaps I can help you better navigate this amazing adventure of following Jesus.

So, here’s my first story – it’s actually my own story, taken from the opening pages of my new book, The 10 Second Rule. At the end I have a question for you, so please hang with me.

“Up until age thirty-one, I was your standard-issue Christian – the kind the Christian schools and churches in our town pounded out year after year like spiritual model T’s – mostly in one color: beige. We were covenant children. We figured we came with a cradle-to-grave salvational warranty.

And in the mid-sixties, every high school senior in my church was expected to make a public profession of their faith unless they were atheists or a democrat. I was neither. But I had questions.

So my parents called our pastor. A good man, really – kind, intelligent, but a man who could be deadly serious when he needed to be. “Our son’s just not sure, Pastor. Maybe if you talked to him.” And over he came to our house to work on me like the last holdout on a hung jury. My parents knew they needed a closer. And Reverend Jacob was a closer.

My parents sat in the room with us, praying, while Jake went to work. “Tell me, son – what’s the problem?”

Well, the problem was that I didn’t feel anything – any real excitement for Jesus. I believed that everything in the Bible was true. I believed that Jesus was the Son of God, that he’d died on the cross, risen from the dead, and was coming back to judge the living and the dead. I bought the whole party line – but felt no passion for God, no passion to live a life radically different from any other guy my age.

If I was going to make a public profession of my faith, the equivalent of adult baptism in most churches, then it seemed to me that I ought to have a little fire in my belly for God. I didn’t. All I really cared about were girls and making a ton of money as fast as I could. Of course, I couldn’t say that to the pastor, especially not in front of my parents, so I just stuck with the “I don’t feel anything special” line.

I don’t remember everything he said that day, but here’s the gist of it: “Clare, if you believe that everything you’ve been taught about God is true – you have faith. You are a believer, even if you don’t feel it right now.”

I looked to my parents for support, but they were avoiding direct eye contact. They sensed that Jake was on the verge of victory, and they didn’t want to break the cobra’s stare.

I loved my parents more than God back then, so I caved.

They were happy.

The pastor was happy.

But, I wasn’t.

I felt like I was about to stand in front of the king and pledge my allegiance, even though I wasn’t really in love yet with either him or his kingdom. It felt phony.

But Jake was the pastor, seminary trained and all, so who was I, a seventeen-year-old kid, to tell him what faith was? I became an official Christian that June.

One of the worst mistakes of my life.

In my mind I now had my “get out of hell free” card! I just needed to keep loving God (whatever that meant), love others, attend church regularly, serve, give, keep a lid on the public sin in my life, and pray. I’d grown up in the church; I knew what was expected, and I did it. One more beige Christian parked in the pews waiting for my weekly fill-up.

I don’t blame my church, or my parents, or the Christian schools – they taught me truth and loved me well. I didn’t even know I had a problem to blame anyone for. I just thought that’s all there was to it – that that’s what it meant to be a Christian. It was a sensible faith. God was close enough to be a comfort, but distant enough to not be terribly inconvenient.”

Quoted from About the Author in, The 10 Second Rule

So, whether “I’ve been a Christian all my life” is your story, or you came to faith at Camp Winamonka somewhere when you were a kid;

  • Here’s my question for you: Do you believe you too have your “get out of hell free” card and what has that done to hinder your spiritual growth?

When you came to my website, I stated that I’ll only post weekly – on Mondays. I’m going to violate that, first shot out of the box. In the interest of continuity, I’ll post the second half of my story tomorrow, on Tuesday. Then I’ll wait for your feedback until next Monday.

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Comments (42)
Comments
  1. Scott Smith said...

    I read this part while I waiting for my ride to show up last time we met; I’m anxious to continue the reading.

    Reply
  2. Megan said...

    Couldn’t be more proud. Or happier that I get to watch you journey this road. Giddy up.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Everybody, this is my daughter. She’s twice the writer that I am and not a bad daughter either. Check out her blog if you doubt me at meganvos.blogspot.com.

      Reply
  3. Chad Farrand said...

    clare, welcome to the blogosphere! i cant wait to read your stories here.

    Reply
  4. Tim said...

    I look forward to reading your weekly blog.

    Reply
  5. Noelle Gable said...

    I think you have started something very interesting Clare. I believe what you struggled with – MOST of us – if we are honest with yourselves and want to be transparent – have struggled with too. Looking forward to reading how you got from the 17 year old to the 63 y

    Reply
  6. Joel said...

    Okay, with this line, “I’m reasonably certain Jesus would prefer that I was half as smart and twice as obedient,” you now have my undivided attention! Can’t wait to read this blog!

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      The scary part is I have a lot better chance of being half as smart, then I do of being twice as obedient!

      Reply
  7. Dale Cooper said...

    Clare,

    Warm greetings–in Jesus. And thanks for beginning this new (ad)venture. I’m eager to read what you write.

    A fellow pilgrim,

    Dale Cooper

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Dale, you’ve always been an inspiration. Thanks.

      Reply
  8. David Radde said...

    Great Idea Clare! Thanks for sharing your ideas! I look forward to seeing how this Blog can be used as a tool to “Make God Look Good” and to benefit his Kingdom. Thanks Brother!

    Reply
  9. Denny johnson said...

    Great that you are taking time to do this. Awesome. You always think out of the box. Focusing on leading others to Christ

    Reply
  10. Darlene Dykstra said...

    Hi Clare,
    Thank you so much for including me on the list of recipients of your new web blog. As always, you are so much FUN to learn from and I have learned much about sharing the ‘real stuff’ from you, right from the beginning when you asked me to lead a new believers class way back 20 or so years ago–when I was a brand new Christian from an unchurched background.
    I, too, am ’63 now and have some mileage on the odometer of my life. I’ve learned a lot about God and myself over the past 23 years since beginning my walk with Christ, and continue to be amazed at home much MORE I have yet to discover!
    I await with eager anticipation the release of your book and look forward to your weekly blogs; I will share my walk with anyone who chooses to ‘listen’ (or read).
    Thanks again for being so ‘real’–and willing to ‘let it all hang out there.’ You are a treasure!!!!
    Blessings to you and this new ministry.
    Darlene
    You are a GREAT inspiration to me

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Darlene, you’re one of my hero’s!

      Reply
  11. Rog Lucas said...

    Thank you Clare for all you do and have done for so many.
    May Gog bless your endevors and guide your steps and words.
    I too am looking forward to your blog.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Roger, I just hope I’m not a one hit wonder.

      Reply
  12. Lorie Dewey said...

    You do tell a good story. Can’t wait to hear the rest.

    Reply
  13. cort said...

    Glad to see you going public!

    Reply
  14. Lorie Dewey said...

    Love your blog site – very welcoming. I’m trying to see if I can identify all the restaurants in the back ground….
    are they all in GR??

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Of course, I’m a local boy!

      Reply
  15. John Hulett said...

    Clare, I am so excited you have entered the world of technology and desire to share your life with us. So many of us have benefited from your friendship, support and example. It will be great to learn more about what brought you to the point of your present faith.

    Reply
  16. Jeff said...

    This is powerful stuff Clare. So glad you are doing this for all those people out there that need it (me)!

    Reply
  17. Shanna said...

    WOW! This is so exciting! Really looking forward to reading more – and hearing how God uses your story and your words to encourage others to reflect on and share their story ~ …

    Reply
  18. Roger Spoelman said...

    Thanks Clare! Looking forward to future posts and anxious to read the book!!

    Reply
  19. Emily said...

    Love this! Can’t wait to read more and share with friends!

    Reply
  20. Rob Housman said...

    Great start Clare! I look forward to reading more. I appreciate your wisdom and am glad you can now continue mentoring me long distance.

    Reply
  21. Roger E Doane said...

    Looking forward to the rest of your story.

    Reply
  22. Stephen said...

    If this is going where I think it is going, then it is good. If the people who follow Jesus could love Jesus and love people like we are capable and designed to do, the world would be different. What has changed my heart and the way I live is praying John 17:26 May I love Jesus with the same love that the Father has for His Son.

    Reply
  23. Stephanie Sweeney said...

    Good stuff Clare! Proud of you!

    Reply
  24. Brenda Allen said...

    This is amazing-proud of what you’ve done.

    Reply
  25. scott vander beek said...

    Look forward to part 2…

    Reply
  26. Rod Van Solkema said...

    Good stuff, Clare. Keep it coming!

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Rod is the Pastor of Crossroads Bible Church in GR and one of the most gentle and godly men I know. Bless you.

      Reply
  27. Rick DeKam said...

    LIke you noted in your video, you’ve taken the “first step”…. congratulations and keep up the good work!

    Reply
  28. Scott Smith said...

    AMAZING!

    I had a dream last night that I was being goaded into fisticuffs with a larger stranger – a Goliath of sorts – in which I would have expected a merciless pummeling, and instead of “training,” I thought of the 10 Second Rule, and how it may apply to my situation … and then the dream was over. How exceptionally inspirational! IMAGINE the possibilities once I’ve sipped your God-inspired wisdom!

    Scott Smith

    Reply
  29. Ron Fles said...

    I have much respect for you and have enjoyed learning from you. I can’t wait to soak up more of your wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  30. Jim said...

    Thanks for the blog, I’ll look forward to reading many more. I’m sure it will be a blessing!

    Reply
  31. Mat deGraaf said...

    Be honest, this is really about time management and an input vs. output ratio isn’t it?
    Keep up the great work. I’ll be watching.

    Reply
  32. Donna Fagerstrom said...

    Clare,
    Simply A W E S O M E! To God be the glory for your blogging journey. We will all be ministered to and greatly benefit.
    Rejoicing,
    Donna

    Reply
  33. Jeff Ritsema said...

    Clare,
    I am moved by your efforts in the name of the Lord, Jesus, to impact those we encounter daily, to become conscious of their needs and His will as it presents itself, not as we imagine it. This is not “simple” theology for me, in fact, it is very deep, the most basic of human experience. Thanks for bringing another 63 year older along a little further by your challenge. I look forward to reading your book, but more, to sharing some of my 10 second encounters, to help others grow in the Lord.
    One thing: your reference to “hitting a bucket of balls”: Didn’t know you were really into golf. I still remember, 30 years ago, you catching your own drive on the 10th hole of one of courses “up north”. Friends sure can belly laugh.
    God’s blessings,
    Jeff

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Thanks for your kind words. I should put a disclaimer in all my writings that, “all references implying any expertise in sports is a flat out lie.”

      Reply
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