I sent a friend a text today. Why’d I send it? I guess it was because he was on my mind. Honestly, it was because I happened to hear John Williams’ brilliant score for Raiders of the Lost Ark on the radio while I was groggily driving to work sipping on my artificially flavored hazelnut coffee. My friend is a “Raiders” fanatic and, on a side-note, was actually a large part of recent remake of the film that has received a good deal of press. You should check it out.

Anyway, I heard the score, he popped into my mind, and then God smacked me up-side the head and I felt compelled to check on him. Just like that. (Chris) – {not his real name} had recently made the glorious decision to start a relationship with Jesus Christ and accept Him as his Savior. Back when Chris made the choice, he called me and we spoke about it. He kind of used me as a religious sounding board for his feelings, and I was more than happy to have the conversation. My point is, I text him this morning to check and see how his “walk” was going. That’s what we Christians call a relationship with God, your “walk”.

Okay, so why am I telling you about this? It was what I text him; the way I phrased it. I actually said, “God smacked me up-side the head”. The reason that jumped out at me was the fact that, that particular phrase, (God smacked me up-side the head) is not constructed out of the proper, universally accepted “Christain-ese” dialect.

I was supposed to say, “The Lord Jesus has put it on my heart to text you brother.” He put it on my heart. He gently placed it on my soul like a lily-white feather, plucked from an angel’s wing, majestically floating down from heaven. We speak about Jesus in soft, delicate, reverent, hushed-tones. When many people pray they knee-jerkingly insert the titles LORD-GOD, JESUS, and GOD into their prayers every few words like a religious verbal tick. It’s kind-of what you’re supposed to do. The more you use the lingo, the more religious you appear to be.

Now I’m not judging my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who choose to act in this manner. A genuine heart, is a genuine heart and only God knows who owns one. I say this because many people (I’m talking about myself and the people who I’m optimistically pretending act and think like me) are subject to reverse discrimination for not speaking in proper “Chrsitian-ese”.

I know Jesus is a loving, tender, gentle, forgiving God. I’ve experienced His love. I experience His love on a daily basis. But I also see God as a powerful force of nature. Well, He created nature, so… I hope you get my point. I see Him as a conqueror. A stern parent. A violent protector. Read the Old-Testament sometime. Entire cities, wiped off the face of the Earth. Groups and races of people who threatened His message or chosen group, gone. Plagues, pestilence, fire and brimstone. “What’s that Jonah, you don’t want to do your job and warn the Ninevites like I told you to? How about you spend three days as a whale-snack until you learn your lesson?” (I may have paraphrased a bit)

I see pieces of my Dad in God. I also see fragments of God in my Dad. I think Jesus loves me enough to take off the kid-gloves and treat me like a rebellious misbehaving teenager when I need it (which is a lot, by the way). I also think it’s okay to talk about Him as such. God smacked me up-side the head. Yah, that’s exactly what it felt like. I heard the song, Chris crossed my mind, then my laziness took over and I almost just went on with my day. Oh no, no, no young man. SMACK!

I literally can’t tell you how many open-handed high-fives my father has delivered to the back of my skull over the years. Maybe there are too many to count. It’s quite possible the repeated, mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injuries have made my memory a little fuzzy. Either way, when I got a smack it immediately snapped my attention away from whatever I had incorrectly deemed important, and refocused my priorities on the task at hand. Well, the feeling is very similar when I get one from The Lord. I stop what I’m doing, sigh, soak in conviction for a moment, and then refocus my energies where He wants, and or, needs them to be.

So, I am grateful that when I’m being difficult or misbehaving, my Lord Jesus loves me enough to rough me up a bit. A smack to the head, a deliberate index-finger flick to the middle of my brow, or sometimes I can actually feel Him giving me a condescending, “Really… REALLY?” look when I’m being an idiot. No joke, I can feel it.

The point of all this was, Jesus is your God, your Father, and your Friend. And depending on what context you are talking about Him in, I believe it’s okay to use vocabulary that accurately depicts how you feel He deals with you, without fear of being viewed as a blasphemer or disrespectful.

I’m also just really glad I sent Chris that text.