My smelly ‘Christian’ dilemma….written by Stacy Westfall

Last week, in one post, containing only 35 words I managed to offend both Christians and Non-Christians alike. Quite an accomplishment, if I may say so myself. But it did get me thinking.

I haven’t always been a ‘Christian.’

As a teen, I referred to myself as an agnostic.Atheist

When I was angrier, an atheist.

But one thing I HAVE always been is a ‘seeker’.

I am willing to challenge my own thoughts as well as the thoughts of others.

I am able to hold an idea in one hand while weighing out its seemingly opposite idea in my other hand. This gives me the strength and knowledge to choose.

I believe this makes me stronger.

I believe that I can learn from everyone and everything around me.

But I also struggle.

I struggle because I do not want to offend. Strangely, when I was an ‘atheist’ or ‘agnostic’ I was fine with offending; would seek to offend.

That I no longer seek this is evidence of the change that took place in me.Offended

I am tempted to ‘hide’ my faith at times. When I ask myself, ‘why?’ the answer is not fear of attack. It is fear of offending.

I was offended BY Christians when I was not a Christian.

If there was a person that I wanted information from who happened to be a ‘Christian’, I would ‘hold my nose’ and try to avoid all that ‘stuff’ while trying to gather what information I did want from them.

And now, here I stand on the other side of the fence.

Torn.

Remembering when I was offended. Fearing now to offend.

And my wise husband put the choice into words.

“It’s simple,” he said. “Is it just going to be a business or do you want them to know you?”

And I already knew the answer before he asked the question. I just didn’t have the words for it.

To be known.

So hold your nose if you must. Or avoid me completely. But one thing that is true, if you are seeking to know me. Here I am. All of me.

How many 'Christian' symbols can you find?

How many ‘Christian’ symbols can you find?

149 Comments

  1. Theresa Petrick on December 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    My first prayer to God,” Lord I want to follow you, I want to walk in your light but please don’t make me one of those bible bashed, those guys make me nuts lol,” God has respected my request and allowed me to find the right moments, I have learned to grow where I am planted, soon the smile on your face prompts people to ask, and then I have the opportunity to “offend” lol, in Gods timing.
    My mom gave me some of the best advice ever, she said, if you go to the hospital you will find sick people, if you go to a prison you will find criminals, if you go to church you will find sinners, being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect it makes you saved, we all have a lot of work to do but I walk in the knowledge that I am not on that path alone… Keep seeking, what you will find will amaze you and bless others:)
    Sincerely
    Treas, one who may have offended a few on the way

  2. Brenda on April 6, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I do not believe that people are good people just because they are Christian or not good people because they are Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic or Atheist or any other denomination I am ignorant of. There are good people and those who are not so good in every corner of life. We as humans may use our faith or other beliefs as a compass no matter what denomination that may be. When we practice and seek out a good path, we have a wonderful journey and find peace and joy in it and the people we have met. Then, we can choose to share in it not, for we live where there is free speech and the right to congregate.
    I love your work and I have lived vicariously through your journey with Jac. If I am where ever fortunate enough to cross your path, I would consider it an honor to have met you.
    Most unworthy Orthodox

  3. Michelle on December 31, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I have to tell you how much I admire your horsemanship, it doesn’t matter to me what your beliefs are or were. I can tell that you are a good person, and always have been.

  4. Jan on December 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I admire Stacy for sharing her life’s experience in seeking her beliefs. Many of the commenter’s are very understanding of her experience in seeking as many like myself have also been “seekers” and many like myself are still seeking. I would like Stacy to continue sharing how she came to her present Christian beliefs. It would be especially appropriate as CHRISTmas is tomorrow. Thank you in advance should you decide at some point to do that.

  5. Cynthia Dorr on December 24, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I thank the Lord that He has entered your heart.

  6. jerilynn on December 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

    amen, stacy, from a fellow christain :))

  7. Janette on December 24, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I’m in my forties and never been religious. “There is always a first time for everything, though.” I think I have discovered my God. She is known to the rest of the world as Stacy Westfall. Haha LOL

  8. Gretta on December 24, 2013 at 6:15 am

    I have decided to follow Jesus. if I have made an error in this, I have lost nothing. If I have chosen otherwise and it’s an error, I have lost everything. Everyone will spend eternity someplace. I have chosen heaven.

  9. mswomanoffire on December 24, 2013 at 2:10 am

    I love the conflict! Not because it doesn’t hurt…but because the Holy Spirit is at work there. There are people I have shared my testimony with or people I have had gone toe to toe with unintentionally and walked away thinking, ” I can’t believe I said that..LORD forgive me. What kind of Christian am I?” Terrified of the outcome.

    Then a year later, a few days later, a few years later…I hear the stories. “Guess what God did!”, or “Didn’t I see you at Joyce Meyers? Yes, I was there too!” or “Were you the one who said, ‘God bless you.’ to me? That made me think. I need to go back to church! I need to serve! Thank you for saying that!”

    And I give all the praise and Glory to God!

    Apologise if you must! But keep on doing what you are doing! Young minds are watching you and listening to you. And you are making a very significant impression on them. My Junior College Professor in Biology made a lasting impression on me for Christ. He worked summers as a Park Ranger and taught during the school year. At the end of the semester, he said with sublty, “I believe there is a God. Creation is too amazing to think otherwise.” And the way that he said it with conviction and certainty sunk in. In the quietness of my soul, I exclaimed, “YES!” It would take another 16 years before I said yes to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

    Your transparency is what draws people to you because you are truthworthy.

    God bless you! Merry Christmas!

    Sincerely, Susan

  10. Judyrose on December 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Well said, Stacy. … And Stacy’s hubby. < 😀 2

    • Judyrose on December 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      <.

  11. Beth Kane on December 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Stacy, your doing Christ’s work, he gave you the talent,love, and wisdom, let your light shine, We need good stewards of His love,

    Merry Christmas, God bless all Love, Beth

    Sent from my iPad

  12. Alice Corbett on December 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I am so thankful for your decision and your wise husband. The only reason to be offended by another’s beliefs is fear that one’s own may be proved wrong. Truth can stand calmly and lovingly up to any comparison. It doesn’t need to fear, therefore it takes no offense.

  13. TheRebelsAdvocate on December 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I found this quite interesting. I am very much like you, but reverse. I was a Christian at one time, but now agnostic. Where I live almost everyone is Christian, and there is no chance of offending anyone by being ‘too christian’. I, however seem to offend someone every time I open my mouth. I like to debate and question everything, and that’s not so popular where I’m at. I do like your approach at the topic, and this I actually just found your blog for the first time. Look forward to reading more from you. Hope you have a great day, and merry Christmas.
    http://therebelsadvocate.com/

  14. Leslie Lopardo on December 23, 2013 at 10:50 am

    well said, as usual 🙂 keep up the good work

  15. Ed on December 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Your fine, if they haven’t been offended yet just have them watch southpark and they will. Everyone is way too uptight bout stupid B.S. that is frankly none of their business.

  16. Katie C. on December 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

    thank you for not being afraid to let your light shine – you inspire me in ways that go beyond your amazing horsemanship skills.

  17. MsNikiWray@aol.com on December 23, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Good for you, Stacy, for not being ashamed of your faith! “Ain’t nothin’ like ridin’ a fine horse in new country.” ~ Augustus (Gus) McCrae in Lonesome Dove

  18. Brandy on December 23, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I must have missed the 35 words that offended people? Or I just wasn’t offended

  19. Deborah Johnson on December 23, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Steady on, Stacy. There’s only one we need worry about offending, and I’m quite sure you make Him smile.

  20. Gizelle on December 23, 2013 at 6:39 am

    I myself, will avoid any trainer, instructor, breeder, etc. if they incorporate religious symbols into their logos and literature. To me, it doesn’t belong. You either want to deal horses, or preach. And I am not into the latter. It seems to me that in the south, people do this routinely. Thus, none of my business is done there. So sad that you choose to annoy a VERY large group of potential customers because you see fit to preach that which we don’t care for. I care for horses, period.

  21. Allison DeLong on December 23, 2013 at 6:39 am

    It is hard when faced with the dilemma regarding offending others. Just remember, Stacey, the truth of God’s word is offensive to those who reject Him. If as Christians, we’re not offensive in some way to the world, we’re probably being offensive to our Heavenly Father. The bible says, in Matthew 10:33 “But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” I try to remember that when I know what I’m about to say/do could be offensive to others.

  22. Anne Weinert on December 23, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Hummm…it just looks like a horse to me. I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder kinda thing : )

  23. Skye ferguson on December 23, 2013 at 5:34 am

    This is one if the most profound blog postsI have ever seen. It describes me completely and syncs with me. Stay the way you are Stacy. Be you, the world will love the real you!

  24. Tracey on December 23, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Lovely logo…and your story made me giggle.

  25. corrie on December 23, 2013 at 12:20 am

    As a person in the public eye such that you are, I understand your need to be concerned about how what you say impacts others. I also believe that as a human being you are entitled to your beliefs and opinions and should not be judged no matter which side of the fence you stand on.

  26. Bobbie Christensen on December 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Well, you have NOT offended me…I believe in God but do I go to church? No…have an issue with hypocrisy. I’ve seen many a “Christian” partake in UN Christian like behavior (judging other people, etc) I have observed that ALL organized religion has one thing in common….a Trinity…Yes, I proudly believe in God, but am more spiritual than religious… My mom used to say…just be yourself…if people don’t like it then that is THEIR problem…not yours!

  27. Lisa Abel-Alton on December 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Our thinking mirrors each other thru the years, although I am older. I Love you Stacey and Love what you do and how you do it.. Keep it up… I want to know you…

  28. Keri Davis on December 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Merry Christmas Stacy,
    I met you in Maine at your Audit at Hemphill’s.You signed my poster “good luck with Magic Keri” “Ride with Faith”.
    I do understand you probably meant it in a Christian/faith in myself way. I have not found my religion yet. I found you to be genuine and kind. You were very patient with my questions,even though you have probably heard them a hundred times. I teach kids to ride walk trot western pleasure/equitation ….help them build confidence and believe in themselves and horses. I have NO PROBLEM turning their minds onto your blog or Facebook page.
    Recently with the new show about COWGIRLS on CMT…..I had to WARN parents….knowing these little girls, who look up to me for their knowledge will think its actually “about cowgirls” ….it’s not….its horrible….maybe..2mins of actual horses and riding….the rest is sex,swearing poor sportsmanship and girl fights.
    I think you are definitely the most NON offensive role model I could think of for the kids to look up too:)….Not that it matters…but we teach kids from all walks of religion. Catholic,Jehovah’s witness,Baptist,Wiccan and Atheist’s. The one thing that bring’s us together….love of horses.

    i

  29. Diane Luttrell on December 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I love the logo. I am even going to incorporate it with my dachshund breeding program. All it takes is just some long ears and there you have it!

    • Stacy on December 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Do me a favor (and the trademark folks) and do a bit more to make it look dog like:)

  30. Stephanie Hobson on December 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Over the last few days while reading news articles and blogs along with their associated comments I found myself starting to reply but then not doing so because ‘it won’t do any good and it will just offend someone’. Then I was reminded of this scripture:

    “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15 & 16)

    and I was totally convicted that I was being lukewarm. No longer!

    I don’t even remember how I came to your blog but I’m glad I did.

  31. Elizabeth on December 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Stacy, I feel as if I am reading much of my own life and experience in your words. You are an inspiration!!! <3

  32. Bobbie Kiser on December 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I love the logo. Thanks for being strong and sharing your faith.

  33. dustybootscorral on December 22, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Isn’t it a shame that anything one says referring to any faith offends somebody? It’s a cute logo that people who recognize the symbols should appreciate as well as those who just see it as a horse.

    • johanna on December 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      nice, dustybootscorral-agreed.
      and the cool logo even has a slightly ”ages-old native american vibe” to it–which could imply a whole lot of other spirituality as well as some interesting horsemanship…:)

  34. Anita Woolard on December 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Just continue to be the best you that you can be Stacy. Those who know you will appreciate it and those who don’t can choose to avoid you.

  35. Nikki B on December 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I’m not a Christian but I have many friends who are religious and I don’t see them as ‘different’ to me. I choose my friends by the way they treat me and their integrity. We are all human and our personal beliefs are just that – personal. I know quite a few ‘Christians’ that do un-Christian things and many ‘atheists’ who bring joy and happiness to everyone they meet. We should all accept people for who they are as a person not what they believe in. Stacy, you are one of the most generous and kind horse trainers I’ve been lucky enough to know so keep up the good work and ignore the negative people – it’s their issue not yours. Merry Christmas to you and your family 🙂

  36. Latigo on December 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Stacy, thank you for sharing your insight and boldly speaking what you believe.

  37. Janette on December 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    My Christmas gift, for you and your beautiful family. YOU HAVE PERMISSION TOO BELIEVE IN YOUR SELF!!

  38. Ida Marie Carlough on December 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Dear Stacy,
    You are a beautiful daughter of the Most High. There is nothing wrong with being a proud daughter. Thank you for sharing you. Thank Jesse for asking the tough questions.
    Be blessed,
    Ida Marie

  39. johanna on December 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    not sure which post you’re talking about that was offensive-

    having experienced and thought deeply about religion and/vs spirituality, i have found it to be intensely personal. some of my mottos are ”live and let live”, ”actions speak louder than words”, and ”treat others as you would want to be treated”. that is the reason that i will be a reader of your blog and a fan of yours; i admire and respect your work and how you conduct your life as well (what i know of it, anyway!). you are Right On! it makes absolutely no difference to me whatsoever, what your faith, religion, or spiritual beliefs are. (and whether or not i am a christian, i certainly don’t have to ”hold my nose” LOL!)

    in choosing to present all of your beliefs in your public blog, you can probably expect some of your readers and commenters to express their own beliefs and ideas, as well. you may not always like those, if you are OK with that. i suppose on a public blog, if you want people to respect your beliefs, you’d have to respect theirs in turn..

    your readers can also choose to read or not read what they find interesting in your blog–we are all adults. hopefully we can find the grace and beauty in everyone, and learn from those we respect, whether or not we are of the same religious and spiritual beliefs.

  40. John Turowski on December 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Miss Stacy,
    I appreciate your lesson today, well I learn from you daily. I quite all this trying to offend or shock with my opinion, and don’t wanut to miss an oppurtunity to s hare a thought. Thank you for taking the time to share. For those who walk in offense or want to walk with a stone intheir boot,only they can stop and dump it out

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