Thursday, January 31, 2008

warning, this is a "Religious" post....

it is quite late, so this might be a little scattered...

in the last month (being january), i have had a variety of conversations with friends, both new friends, and ones that i have known for a while. apparently, (also, more so, when i sent out my newsletter) it has clicked with people that i fit into a box, called a christian.

one friend, said "i didn't know that you were religious, until i read your letter. i mean, it's not really much of a surprize, but, you know...." another friend, consistently asks me when i am reading a book, or whatever, "is it religious?" and, another, when i said "so i went to church in Downtown eastside" she said " church? you mean, to a service?"

and, i find it funny. 1) people automatically refer to you as "religious" if you say you are a christian, or if you believe in god. are they one and the same? 2) how surprizing is it really?

but, the 2 questions that have gotten me thinking recently a lot are these... 1st, i was asked if i believe that one has to be "born again" to not go to hell. and 2) if i feel that one of my gifts as a christian is to "redefine" what christianity looks like. and, of course, i have an interesting time with both those questions. the first one, perhaps easier than the second.

1) born again? my question is, what does that mean? i dont think that in my own life, i have a moment, when i thought "dang, that is what it means to be 'born again;'! i feel like i have a brand new life." my faith, in what i can understand, was a long process~ it still is. sometimes i even wonder if i really am a christian. i mean, really, i sometimes tend to disagree with people a lot of times on thoughts about God. and, i have never had that defining "born again" moment. or, maybe i am, as one person mentioned "spiritual, with a predominantly christian influence." yet, that bothers me as well... i dont think that is right either. faith. my faith, is based on the grace that christ showed humans on the cross, and the workings of the trinity. through love. through mercy and grace. through his reaching out towards us. and, in a gradual process, i came to know and believe it as truth. but, that doesn't mean that i know. cause the further i grow older with faith, and walk this really strange road, the more i realize that i dont know. and, ps, i have no idea if anyone is going to hell. that isnt up for me to decide. that's up to the god that i believe in.

2) redefining christianity. i originally answered, "eh, maybe. sure." but, now that i have thought about it for 2 weeks, i absolutely do not think that is true. the god that i believe in is outside of definition. how can i try to "redefine christianity" when i cannot fully grasp and understand God? how can i attempt to define a god that is beyond comprehension? and, i think (i think), that to many people have tried to define christianity, and that is where christianity gets in trouble, and gets put into boxes. i do not need to redefine christianity. there have been enough people in the world, through many centuries that have done that. and, i hate it when people try to define me, when i say that I am a christian. so, if i hate it, why should i do that to the faith that i claim as my own? all i think i can do, is constantly try to redefine the way i live, and love. because christ first loved me.


Crimson Rambler said...

I read recently, somewhere, -- thinking of the question about "how not to go to hell" -- that too many of us have an image of God holding a gun to our heads and the most important thing, whatever you do, don't irritate him...

I really, really appreciate what you've written here, in many dimensions.

BTW I've joined a Facebook group called something like "I'm religious without being spiritual" just because it makes me laugh.

TheOtherSideOfTheBlock said...

Great post! The trick seems to me to be allowing for definition without over-defining. Many Christians of the past have thought of God as utterly 'Other' and incomprehensible, yet have been able to say things definitively about who God is based on the revelation of Christ. (For example, see the Nicene Creed of the 4th century.) Definitions are not always wrong and/or unhelpful. I can probably say some things definitely about Amelia even if her (your) nature is fundamentally mysterious. ; ) Could one (not me, of course - hehe) wonder if you're trying to wiggle out of saying things about God declaratively so as to avoid conflict?

Inquisitively and muscularly yours,
That One Guy Who Likes To Occasionally Stir The Pot