Stuffz Gallo Likes: How Tim Keller encouraged me to be a Christian with wild abandon

Let’s take a journey back a few years ago. I was neck-deep in my dissertation data collection, and the only people I interacted with on the reg were soccer moms at my church (who I liked, but had a hard time connecting with) or highly-educated, young, single agnostic/athetists/spiritual-but-not-religious peers at my university.

I still went to church, and I remember for a while every Sunday I would tear up during worship because it felt so amazing to actually be with other believers. But still, there was a large disconnect between my daily academic grind and and my faith, my brains and my heart. The two worlds felt so completely different that it was hard to reconcile “Christian Gallo” with “PhD student Gallo.” I started to wonder if I went to church for the sake of nostalgia, and/or to maintain a connection with my pre-PhD student, super-Crish, conservative, southern culture life. I also had a lot of doubts.

Some were intellectual – neuroscience is very material, in the sense that all the complexity of human thought, emotion, and even spirituality is reduced down to electrical and chemical communication between cells. Did I really believe that a supernatural world existed? It was easy to believe when I was with other Christians, but when I looked at it through the lens of science it seemed pretty ridiculous.

Some were emotional – even though I had planned to get my PhD ever since I was 16 years old, my early 20s were *not* what I had imagined them to be. I think in my heart I actually believed I would take my University by storm and ride the wave of success all the way to the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I also always envisioned myself as being very suave and sophisticated as I got older (lolz). Needless to say… that is not what happened. I failed.. a lot. Both in research, but also in matters of character. I kind of lost respect for myself, and I was mad that God wasn’t letting me hit scientific home runs and point to the sky in acknowledgement of Him as I accepted all my awards, Tim Tebow style.

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I thought this would be me *eye roll*

Then one summer, the Christian fellowship I was a part of started a book discussion on Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. The book blew me away because it was so clear and straightforward. TK didn’t act like it was evil or preposterous to question Christianity , but he also “pushed back,” so to speak, on some of the common assumptions that non-believers take as “givens.” The Reason for God opened my eyes to the possibility of being a Christian, who – although still needing faith for some particular issues – wasn’t judged for having doubts, and wasn’t asked to forsake their intelligence as a prerequisite for faith.

Then I started reading his other books.. and trust me there are a lot of them. Not all are so “apologetical” as The Reason for God.. nor are his sermons. More than any pastor I have ever read / listened to, Tim Keller shines a huge spotlight on Jesus – pointing out how Jesus is threaded through the entire bible – not just the New Testament. He tackles weird, slightly off-putting Old Testament stories and points out how those stories are purposefully driving us toward an understand of the absolute necessity of Jesus. Adam, Moses, Noah, Jacob, David, Hosea — all of them! They were all used by God, but not enough. Their failures used to frustrate and confuse me, now they encourage me to rejoice that where these biblical figures failed, Jesus succeeded.
He also talks about how Jesus fits into work, marriage, money, sex, rest … every single aspect of life now.

Timmy K doesn’t need a grammy-award winning worship team to whip his congregation into an emotional frenzy before he preaches. He doesn’t need to soften the crowd with his hilarious hijinks. He doesn’t need to put visitors at ease with his trendy ripped up jeans. TK is not particularly attractive or charismatic, and that is why I love him all the more. Because to me it shows that his appeal is not really in him – (he’s like a slightly stuffy Dad)it’s the freedom and joy he points to, in Jesus!

Thank you, Tim! YOU ARE AMAZING I LOVE YOU FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!

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These are for you, Tim!!!!!!

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

Tim Keller resources – http://www.timothykeller.com/ , https://gospelinlife.com/

My favorite books, in no particular order: The Meaning of Marriage, Encounters with Jesus, Jesus the King, The Reason for God

Some lit sermons of his: God’s Plans, Your Plans , How Sin Makes Us Addicts

 

Stuffz Gallo Likes: How John Crist encouraged me to blog with wild abandon

 

Here’s the dealio-yo: I have several persons and things that I’m lowkey obsessed with. I will therefore use this blog as a platform to explain to you, dearest of readers, why I love them so much. Why? Well,  Misery may love company, but Fangirling marries and has babies with it, amiright?

Without further ado, this Stuffz Gallo Likes pilot episode is going to feature *drum roll * JOHN CRIST!

 

Let’s start with the obvs: John Crist is a comedic genius. His Instagram stories have made me giggle through some of my darkest hours (my favorite of his highlighted ig stories – Yoga and Buc-ee’s). His videos Christian Mingle Inspector and the Church Hunters episodes are satire at its BEST, and I watched this Bible Verse Lady video at least 14 times and lol’d every time. His stand-up makes me want to stand up and dance and cheer, know what I mean green bean?

 

But John Crist is worth more than a lolz. If his comedy is gold, his thoughtful contemplations are platinum. ⚡️ He genuinely inspired me in an interview with Sam Collier,  radio host of A Greater Story. John said “[People are] like ‘Hey, I want to be a comic. I like what you do up there. What do you think about this bit?’ And I say … ‘If you believe in it, just go do it.’  … I respect anyone who just shows up.”

 

Amy Poehler said something similar in the beginning of her book Yes, Please!:“Remember, the talking about the thing isn’t the thing. The doing of the thing is the thing.

 

I need to hear this, maybe every day. I have so many ideas – for blog posts, books, science experiments, entrepreneurial pursuits – some of which for sure border on brilliance… but if all I do is jabber about them or wait for someone else to validate them, it doesn’t matter. What should matter is if I think the ideas are good and/or funny and/or true. If they are, I should stop talking about it and make it happen. If they’re not, I should shut up and move on.

 

As my wise Majer once exclaimed, “Poo or get off the pot!”

 

Ben Stiller Jewish GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

 But wait, there’s more! Later in the interview, John says “People ask me all the time, ‘Would you ever delete a tweet… would you ever delete a video .. would you ever delete something that wasn’t successful?’ I would say no, because that is giving people the power that you made it for them.”

Yowza. Some of my favorite posts get almost no views, and I have been tempted to go back and delete some of these shamefully unpopular posts. But I love John’s advice here. If I’m blogging for you – dear as you are – it probably won’t be as “true,” and definitely not as fun. I’ll either be constantly frustrated by my failure to engage people, or turn into a puppet, á la Billy Joel’s The Entertainer. So unfortunately for all of you, I’m going to keep posting stuff that, well, I like. All the better if some of you like it, too. But if not… ¯\_()_/¯  

 

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If this is how 99% of my readers respond to my blog posts, so be it. SO BE IT!!!!!!

 

In toto, THANK YOU JOHN, I LOVE YOU!* ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Parks And Recreation Rickmaniac 4 Life GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*As a sister in Christ, obvs…. #superchrish I’m not actually in love with him, for realz. Although a recent ex-boyfriend once asked me “If you love him so much, why don’t you marry him?” To which I sez, “Jokes on you – I already did.” At which he looked slightly amused, but also bemused. In restrospect, that was probably the beginning of the end. *gazes at John Crist poster plastered to ceiling* Dammit John, I hope you’re worth it.