I must remember to share with you a podcast episode that has moved me recently – it’s a beautiful listen.
I’ll sum up the story here in case you don’t get the chance to hear the whole interview…
So this guy – Mike McHargue – struggled as a kid at school because he had no friends. In the playground, he’d stand alone and talk to God.
He grew into a man of God, active in his church and family. Then one day, through family difficulties, he lost his faith and decided to become an atheist.
Atheism was his thing for several years, until he went to a creativity conference hosted by Rob Bell.
In the questions session at the end, he revealed that he was an atheist and was met with grace and gentleness from Rob:
“And then, I just went on this screed about why God was ridiculous. And I was like, “They’re gonna throw me out of their pastor party, but I’ve said it, it’s great.”
And that’s not what happened at all. Rob was super gracious… he leans forward on his chair… And he thanked me for being there and said they all needed to hear that. And that, whether I believed or not, it seemed like I was living the kind of life that Jesus approved of, and he just wanted to take a moment and celebrate that.”
“My plan was to say like, “Good job, Rob, great weekend.” And instead, he holds out a piece of bread, and says, “This is the body of Christ broken for you.”
I said, “I can’t do this. If I eat this bread, they’re going to think I’ve come back to faith.”
So I leaned back on my heels to pivot and turn away. And what I did, I heard… a voice, and the voice said, “I was there when you were eight, and I’m here right now.” And that was really powerful.
So I took the Eucharist and I ran out of the room, I was crying. And then, a few hours later, I was standing on the beach, kind of screaming at a God I didn’t believe in, and I had a mystical experience. I saw a bright light in the air in front of me, just kind of cutting through the air in a very strange way. And it moved close to me, and as it did, I felt warm. And when the light touched me, all I could see was light. And I felt the divine presence, and it was beautiful.”
It’s so worth a listen! Find it here.