The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Sometimes, atheists become followers of Jesus

with 2 comments

I came across bio’s of two brilliant people, both post-atheists, in the PBS program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. Their conversions and their lives today do not fit stereotypes of “Christian,” and yet their authenticity speaks volumes. Here are quotes from each, and links to intriguing video profiles in which they tell their stories. Click the photos to get to the links.

Sara Miles was a war correspondent in Central America; later, she wrote for Mother Jones. She directs an effort that provides food to as many as 500 families a week.

SARA MILES: I don’t think I ever expected to find myself being a Christian or, as I used to think of it, a “religious nut.” And again, I met plenty of Christians who I respected. But I think also I had this idea that Christianity was a religion that was kind of fundamentalist, kind of harsh, and more about setting rules of who belonged and who didn’t belong. […]

We offer food to everybody without exception. We offer food to whoever walks in the door. We’re the people that nobody wanted. You know, we’re gay people and we’re poor people and we’re people living on the streets. And we’re old ladies and cripples and whores and little children and foreigners and exactly the kind of people Jesus liked to hang out with. […]

Anne Lamott, author of best-sellers Traveling Mercies and Plan B, “says her secular friends think she’s a crazy Jesus freak who believes in the Holy Spirit and the resurrection. She’s a Protestant who wears a Mary medallion around her neck and a red string blessed by the Dalai Lama around her wrist. Many evangelicals are deeply uncomfortable with what they consider her loose theological views and her outspoken, obscenity-laden, pro-choice, pro-gay positions.”

Ms. LAMOTT: I saw Jesus as sort of my friend and companion … much to my own horror in the beginning. I didn’t want that to be the truth. I didn’t want to be a Christian. I was raised to think Christians are idiots. […]

We’re talking about feeding and nurturing the human spirit and bringing that forth into a world that is so thirsty and so starving to death and so battered. […]


I’d be interested in your response. Thanks for reading!

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Written by Monte

June 16, 2007 at 11:33 am

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks, N! Great to see you last week. Yes, there is an astonishing freshness in these stories, free from the darkness of religious control. I preached yesterday on the “sinful woman” who anointed Jesus’ feet at the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7), and Jesus just seems to cheer her on while the religious decide she is an outsider and he must not be for real or he wouldn’t accept her affection. In fact, she gets it, they don’t, and he is more than a prophet!
    Ah, to be like him! Or even like her!


    June 18, 2007 at 3:01 pm

  2. A great find Monte. Anne Lamott has been one of my favs for several years. I think I’m drawn to the honesty of her writing. She just doesn’t seem to put on a filter at all – and it is refreshing to me. Lately I’ve been thinking about how damaging some of what we do in the church is to people. When I read AL, I feel healthy. Like I’m reading about a real person who really experiences the love of Jesus outside of the church culture.

    Sara Miles – that’s a new name for me. I love her story. I think my favorite line was about finding faith in Jesus not to be about mental assent to doctrinal statements or a code of behavior, but rather an admission that one is hungry and trusting that Jesus can satisfy the hunger. What a beautiful articulation of faith.

    Thanks for posting these!


    June 16, 2007 at 10:28 pm

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