Coffee Stains: The Romantic PathAuthor: David Porter
When we lived in Luxembourg we took some American friends to visit our favorite castle in nearby Germany.
The Eltz castle hides in a deep valley in the middle of a hilly forest and Phyllis and I fell in love with it the first time we saw it. Usually, we approached the castle from the north, left the car in the parking place and then walked through a road in the woods to see this dream from the past. This particular day I turned off the main highway too soon and we actually came up on the other side.
I saw a sign for the castle, though, that seemed very promising, ‘Romantischen Weg,’ or something of the sort. I know just enough German to be dangerous, so I announced to the others,
“That says that this is the Romantic Path.”
So we all decided to follow the Romantic Path to see the castle.
We made a steep descent through the forest, trying to watch all the time not to trip on the underbrush, rocks, etc and break our ankle. Or stumble and break our heads. All around us bears, lions and tigers roared (actually it was probably birds but I just added lions and tigers for dramatic effect). It was a tough way to go but we finally got there in more or less one piece. We decided that the Romantic Path wasn’t too romantic. You worried more about protecting life and limb than about romance.
I learned that if a Frenchman told me something was romantic I would believe him. If an Italian sings that something is romantic, I’ll believe him, too, but if a German tells me something is romantic, I’m going to be careful. I could imagine a couple of German lovers on the Romantic Trail. ‘Heidi kommt. Hier ist den romantischen Weg’. (Come on Heidi. This is the romantic path.) Huff, puff, huff, huff.
“Ich komme, Klaus. Ich hoffe daß ich keine cardiac Krise auf diesem romantischen Weg habe”. (I’m coming, Klaus. I hope I don’t have a heart attack on this romantic trail.)
(My apologies to my German friends for my lousy German and the teasing).
Often the same words mean different things to different people.
Someone has well noted that when your wife says, “Honey, how do you like my new hair-do?”
She’s not really asking a question. If you actually give her your opinion as it seems she wants you to do, you risk having to cook for yourself for several days afterward.
Hint, sir. If you don’t like it and you’re a Christian and you don’t want to lie, just say, “Darling, there’s not three people in this state with hair like that.” Or, you can say, “Wow, that’s what I call hair!” Or something of that sort. Never say, “You make me think of your mother with your hair done like that.”
Different images for different people.
The word “Christian” is like that. People have murdered, raped, stolen, and ran roughshod over others in the Name of Christ. Profiteers have used that name to manipulate, dominate, and steal money from people.
What is the real meaning of the word “Christian?” For me it’s a person who has asked forgiveness for his sin and placed his faith in Christ and what he did at the Cross for a new life that comes from God the Father.
You know a person is a Christian because He’s a follower of Christ. I’m not against denominations. I’m a member of one, but it’s not because of his denomination, that you know he’s a Christ-follower. It’s because he lives a life of love that transcends earthly love. It’s because his life makes you think of Jesus.
This “Christian” is a worshipper. He looks for hurts that he can heal. He lives to build up others and he constantly desires to know the Lord better. Here in Europe the majority of the people say they are “Christians” but very few of them actually love the Lord or try to be the kind of people He’s commanded us to be. No wonder Muslims, Buddists, Hindus and others are confused.
Gandhi said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I think people who call themselves Christians need to make sure that they’ve had a heart-change from God through Christ and then begin to really follow Christ and imitate Him.
Words can be confusing whether it concerns romantic trails, hair styles or Christians. Let’s make sure there’s no question about the word, “Christian,” because of us.
“You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it” (Ephesians 5:8-10 The Message).
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely” (Gal. 5: 22-23, The Message).