If you were arrested...

President Carter’s message — March 3rd, 2019

President Carter’s message — March 3rd, 2019

If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

That was the message President Jimmy Carter delivered last Sunday morning during his bible study at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia.

Twice a month, the 94 year-old leads an hour long bible study in the church he has attended since it opened in 1977. People from all over the world line up before the sun has even thought about rising to claim a seat before the 39th President. When my mom mentioned she was stopping on her way home from Florida to attend, I crashed her trip. And when I told my boyfriend about our plans, he did the same.

Now prior to sitting in front of President Carter, I couldn’t quite remember the last time I went to church. Probably Christmas Eve a few years ago, the candlelight service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New Prague. By that point, my attendance was more of a tradition and less about my belief in Christianity. Holy Trinity was the church my parents were married in, the church my sisters and I were baptized and confirmed in. Growing up, we went there every Sunday. I even attended summer bible camp -- although nowadays, it’s clear my biggest takeaway from Lake Wapogasset Bible Camp was learning how to French braid my hair.

If you were arrested for being a (insert noun),

would they have enough evidence to convict you?

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I’m not quite sure what I believe and I’m OK with that. I don’t expect anyone to have it all figured out. I just try and be a good human. Although that definition changes every day, it seems.

Like President Carter’s message. If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Well, maybe you aren’t a Christian. Maybe you don’t know what you believe (it’s a big club, welcome). Take out the word Christian. Take out that word and replace it with a noun that means something to you.

Maybe you are a writer. A dancer. A chef. Maybe you are a new dad and you’re worried about your parenting skills. Whatever you ARE, whatever you want to be -- If you were arrested tomorrow for being that person, would they have enough evidence to convict you?

Sure, it is dramatic. But doesn’t it put things into perspective? Imagine your life is an episode of Law & Order and you’ve been arrested for being a (insert noun). What evidence would they use against you? Is there enough? Could you add more? Because in this case, getting arrested for something you are passionate about is a great thing. It is what we should all be working towards.

It’s a powerful statement and it is one that doesn’t need to be isolated to just religion. I like to think President Carter would be OK with me editing his message a little bit.

So what is your noun? What gets you up every morning? What makes you stay up late? And if you were arrested tomorrow for being that person, would have they have enough evidence to use against you?