Friday, December 03, 2010

Why I Am A Christian {Sort Of}

{if you have read here for very long you may wonder what a middle-aged lesbian, who questions just about everything and takes nothing at face value is doing calling herself a Christian. so do i, most days}

I have three friends who are experiencing gut-wrenching, life altering, terrifying things right now. The first has been dealing with the cancer of someone he loves and the wake of years of testing and waiting and treatments and wonderings what every little cough and sneeze might mean. The second is having some big and scary medical tests and is forced into the endless rounds of waiting that come with the territory. The third has had a big, unnerving diagnosis and now everything in her life seems turned upside down.

Two of the three of my friends have spent many, many years of their lives like Jacob - wrestling with God and waiting for God to be revealed. These two have grappled with the big questions that life brings and they have struggled with God until they trembled with exhaustion. The result of this work has been that they have come to at more peace with themselves, and with God, than they ever thought possible.

My third friend struggles. She has no center. She's spent her life – some for reasons of her own making and choice, some not – skimming the surface and never going deep into anything. Her answers to life's questions have been found in bottles and parties and people who tell her not to think. And now that she's forced into reflection, she has nowhere to go.

And, perhaps for these three people's witness alone, this is why I continue to be a spiritual seeker. The work that I do now will prepare me for the difficult days that will always come.

And, although many, many days I don't want to be. . . I am a Christian. For reasons, mostly beyond me, I have thrown my lot in with those who, for the most part, are legalistic, judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned, and very often cruel. {and that's just my list for starters} I've been asked how I can possibly be so involved in an institution that has made homosexuality their banner for contempt and hatred. And I've wondered that myself. Many times.

And even though I have made every attempt to walk away, I continue to find my spiritual center at the cross of Christ.

Intellectually, I want to be a Buddhist. I find myself drawn to Buddhism on a very deep and personal level. But inevitably, I humbly end up practicing the tenets of that faith through the lens of Jesus. Perhaps it's all just nature and nurture in action. Christianity is all I've ever known. {remember, I am a Southern Baptist preacher's kid.} And this makes me wonder if I am nothing more than the woman who returns to her abuser over and over again because she just doesn't know where else to go. I'm willing to admit that is a possibility.

I like to think that perhaps I am a dreamer that wonders whether the church can ever become what God desires it to be and I'm just trying to find my place in that dream. That's possible too.

The last thing christianity needs is another apologist to defend the faith against those who would seek to discredit it. Hell, at least half the time I'm the one doing the discrediting. And if you ask most of the rest of christianity I have absolutely no business attaching myself to their coat tails and ruining their otherwise unsullied reputations. They are probably right too.

But as I watch my three friends and learn from their trials I am coming to understand that there is no real faith – Christian, Buddhist or otherwise – that leads to a closed set of easy answers. Faith is not meant to intensify boundaries. It's an invitation to explore questions, to wait with hope and to transcend fear – together.


Frank Wilson said...

PROFOUND writing! Thanks for kick starting my day . . .

Frank Wilson said...

Unrelated! Each time I leave a comment I must also type in that crazy non-name as some kind of security. Being totally crazy, I enjoy these non-words and often think how funny it would be to add that word to my vocabulary for the day. The word (non-word) I must use to post this note is "expoofer." Now there is a word if I ever saw one in the making. EXPOOFER

Frank Wilson said...

Next one: "ficroul"

Tanya said...

I totally think we could create a new language here!! Expoofer sounds like a British word for someone who is a survivor of the "ex-gay" movement!!

Mine, for this comment is "dishness!"

Ami said...


My new word for the day.

As for your post, I think that everyone has to find their own center and meaning. And if it works for you (generic you) and harms no one? It's perfect.

Have a good day.