Welcome to the Loser’s Table

Conrad Frommelt encourages readers that being a good Christian does not mean being perfect.


Illustration by David Rhee/THE CHIMES

Conrad Frommelt, Writer

Conrad Frommelt encourages readers that being a good Christian does not mean being perfect. | Illustration by David Rhee/THE CHIMES


The other day I heard about a freshman who did not think she belonged at Biola. During the story, she said “The people here are just so good” and admitted that she felt intimidated by their goodness. Implicitly, I heard her say that she was not good enough to be here. In a strange sort of way, my heart dropped as I listened. I do not think I am good enough to be at Biola either.

I had not really thought about it before but suddenly began to see a difference between some of the Biola students I know and myself. They all seem shiny. Everything about them strikes me as righteous. They are the types who go on mission trips, who love going to all three church services on Sunday, who hold doors open for people and pray for me. Part of me wishes they faked their holiness. But I can actually see the Holy Spirit transforming them into the image of God and can see the fruits of this process in their Christ-like action.

I think the Holy Spirit is working inside me as well, but it looks different. I do not want to go on a mission. I am not even sure where I stand on the whole “missions” thing. I dread going to church every week and have to force myself not to fake sick. I love to gossip and constantly compare myself to other people. I suspect my inner dialogue would make most people cringe.

The loudest Holy Spirit interventions in my life are usually retroactive. It sometimes takes me a week to realize I have been obsessing over that thing someone said to me and have begun to imagine ways to hurt them before God finally yells “Forgive them already!” Crap. So over the course of a couple days I work myself into a place of forgiveness, kind of. God carries me most of the way. And a good chunk of the time I let go of whatever the thing was, or go and apologize to the person I hurt.

If being a good Christian means being perfect, or even particularly good, I do not meet the criteria. If Biola is a collection of good folk, I snuck in somehow. Being human is really difficult, and I have not gotten the hang of it. But, I think being a Christian should make being a human easier, not harder. Jesus spent a good deal of his time at the loser table. He came to take the gossipy cynics like me and adopt them. I, the church-hater, receive full child-of-God privileges. Partly, this means I belong in his Church even before I know what he expects of me. It also means that God commits to making me shiny, like him.

If I am not careful, I still fixate on the scars of my sin. I think they make me stand out, especially around good Christian folk. But Jesus has scars too. I belong at Biola because I belong to Christ and to his Church. Together we are a bunch of recovering, scarred sinners that God made and continues to make into his children.

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