As a filmmaker, I've learned that people are painfully unaware of process. Everyone who is so used to getting multi-million dollar productions at the click of a remote. Even when watching their favorite show, they are unaware of the writing, pitching to companies, getting rejected, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until finally a company picks it up only to have other writers destroy a bit of their vision, have actors audition, resumés of crew being sent in, deciding that, until the day of the shoot where everyone had to wake up at 4-5am to get make-up, camera, rigging, food and everything ready before the sun rose for the shot that they needed. But it just took seven bucks for a Netflix subscription at most, or you just use your parents account info. So when they call me asking for a video and only have $50 for the budget, they get insulted by my humble rejection. But it's less insulting on my end when I just remember that all of us, even myself, are numb to the idea of process. I think it's affecting our social lives but most importantly our relationship with God.
I grew up in Syracuse, NY. A place that I love. I've had the closest knit communities and friendships in Syracuse. Pretty much all of my friends not only knew each other, but they liked each other. Everyone had a friend that they've been friends with for their whole lives. People didn't just move onto a new best friend when it got hard. Having a new best friend every 4-5 years. I should also mention, it's not an incredibly small town, it's 500,000+ people. So when I moved to Atlanta, the south. I was furious at the idea of southern hospitality, because everyone's idea of it (that I saw) paled in comparison to what I grew up knowing so very well. I've soon later swallowed my pride and am now able to admit that it may be because of living in a major city that's a melting pot, it could be because of technology, social media and all things similar have recently come into culture when I moved here. But most importantly, I think it's because all good things are a process. I'll even go as far as saying all good things remain a process. Including friendship. I came to Atlanta, forgetting to process of close friendships and I blamed it on the region. But most friendships start with an awkward handshake, weird introduction, forgotten name, boring conversation about jobs and schooling. We forget this. We move to a new town and expect to walk into a room and be greeted like we were in our old home town. And unfortunately, every time we forget the process, we almost always give up.
Sometimes it comes when we don't know the process. We see a cute girl at a gathering and hope that she's going to approach us with her number. Sometimes we don't know how to walk up to her cold turkey, we don't know how to make eye contact when we're nervous, we don't know how to talk without sounding like an idiot. So we forget about it, because she didn't give us her number without our asking. Sometimes we get the number, dial the phone and pace around the room with our thumb over the 'send' button talking ourselves in and out and back into hitting it. It rings, we lose all saliva, she answers, we ask her on a date and for the rest of the week figure out where we'll eat, what we'll wear and what we'll talk about. She becomes our girlfriend (by some miracle of God) and the next month we are comparing her to past girlfriends or past girls that we've known. We're comparing deep relationships from the past that took years to stew to a relationship we just started a few weeks ago at a Waffle House. We forget that our past girlfriends took a process. We can't compare a seed to a treehouse.
And lastly, we do this with God. We hear people's testimonies of how they used to be a drug dealer for a gang and one night found Jesus and stopped doing drugs that very night. But what we also forget here is their process. They might lost all desire to sell and abuse drugs. But they still had a mob boss to talk to, they may have had mobsters looking for them, threatening them, they still had old druggies knocking at their door for another hit, their friends questioning "you're not really done are you?" and offering over and over until they finally are convinced, they've got girlfriends they break up with that may hate them, possibly a wife to stay with and ask forgiveness from, a kid to learn how to raise, and relapsing while doing all of that. They still have the drugs in their house, their car, their jacket and they have to get rid of. But they can't destroy it or their boss is gonna think they stole it, which everyone knows you don't steal drugs from a king pin. But we hear the 3-4 minute testimony video mentioning "I never had drugs since" at church after pot-luck announcements, during the passing of the collection plates and before the pastor turns on his microphone. So we are in our addictions, our issues and hoping Jesus would just flip a switch and the process will be done.
We want community without the awkward parties, the loving people that are different than us, the getting off the social media, the paying for someone's coffee.
We want spouses without the pursuit, the forgiveness, the confessions, the hurt, the baggage and the reminder that we aren't that good at loving people.
We want out of our addictions without the deleting, the accountability, the work, the embarrassment, the throwing things away and the self-confession of our addiction.
See, I believe that Jesus did heal us from blindness. I think he put mud on our eyes and healed us. But what we haven't done is gone to the water to wash off the mud. So we walk around thinking we're still blind, when really Jesus did everything on his end, he just wanted to make us part of the process.*
Christianity isn't a door you walk through, it's a hallway you walk down. It's not a microwave it's a crock-pot. When we accept Christ we are putting all of ourselves in the crock-pot and become justified, the rest of our life is turning on the crock-pot, getting sanctified, slowly but efficiently. Let's be honest, if it were a microwave process, we'd still have a lot of cold spots in the middle and dried out on the outside.