It's Sunday, I'm catching up on the sermon series that Jeff Strong is doing on Revelation.
I spend my life trying not to upset anyone and "gifted" with a rather strong bend in my character that consistently swims upstream, against currents, and into the wind.
I feel called to share my faith and I also get that by sharing my faith, I might upset someone. It feels a little indecent these days.
' You lose more of yourself than you redeem doing the decent thing. Keep at a tangent. When they make the circle wide, it’s time to swim out on your own and fill the element with signatures on your own frequency, echo-soundings, searches, probes, allurements, elver-gleams in the dark of the whole sea.’
— Seamus Heaney, Station Island XII
I'm sitting here with these Venn diagrams in my head. I want to explain them to you, to try to describe what essentially makes me Christian.
Okay. On the surface, it's pretty simple: I do believe the absolutely crazy/audacious idea that God, who is the Creator of the Universe and author of the laws of the Universe, sent himself, as his son, as a human, to Earth, to teach us. And not just as a prophet, but as God.
I also believe that I only truly have to follow one spiritual law: "Love God above all else and Love my neighbour as myself"
Explicitly Not Good
Christianity is a deep, mystical, "eastern" religion that (I believe) no human could have ever conjured up.
And, weirdly, Christianity became the most "popular" religion in the world over the past few centuries.
Weirder still, and perversely, a lot of that "popularity" was gained through intense bullying/torture/coersion/abuse.
So as a believer, I face a few odd things that have often stopped me from sharing that I am Christian.
First, I don't agree with everything my Christian friends believe. We often disagree with each other on politics / social justice issues / stuff like that.
Second, I agree with lots of things my non-Christian friends believe. The Christian / non-Christian Venn diagrams don't perfectly fit inside the Good / not Good Venn diagrams. And I know we all know this — but do we?
Third, I am often surprised by the juxtaposition of what I actually believe versus what people think I believe. See above.
Fourth, I am often suprised by what passes for Christian. See above. A great example of this is the idea that Jerry Falwell decided to back Ronald Reagan for president...and not Jimmy Carter.
I am Christian
So: I am Christian. I believe that the Bible is a wisdom book inspired by God. I believe we live in a universe created by God and that God wrote the laws of the universe.
Do I "believe in" science? No. No, I don't have a faith-based relationship with science.
Do I think it is essential that humans do independent research in scientific disciplines?
Yes. Yes, definitely.
I have been fortunate enough to hang out at CERN and have a deep appreciation for the work that goes on there.
Do I shudder at all the evil that has been done in the name of Christianity?
Yes. And that is one reason I have decided to create Explicit Christian.
What has been done in the name of Christianity over the centuries has often been criminal. So much work needs to be done to heal, come to reconciliation, relentlessly shine light on torture, colonialism, coersion, shame, and abuse.
And, at the same time, we cannot let the light go out. The author and perfector of our faith is blameless.
I aim for the audacious / honest / humble openness that will allow me to shout that truth louder and louder.
Let's see where this goes, shall we?