defining ‘Christian’

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Mohandas Gandhi

So I have started to describe what I mean by being bisexual. Now, it might be helpful to describe what I mean when I call myself a Christian.

Some people have steered entirely away from the word Christian in defining who they are and whose they are. They have done so for lots of reasons. What I have heard most often is that the word has come to mean something very different or has changed so significantly that they can no longer attach the word to a description of their beliefs, values, or identity. For many the word has become too hostile, too politically charged, and it means exclusion instead of inclusion. For some, if the word Christian were salt, it has sadly lost its flavor, or worse, has become rancid.

Part of me is very much in this camp. But I will never fully go there. I heartily and fully attach myself to this lot. (Whether they would like me with them is another matter.)

I could, and while putting this together, I have come up with about a dozen reasons why NOT to call myself a Christian. And I think that they are all valid and solid reasons, but for one fact: I love Jesus. I believe that Jesus, in cahoots with G-d and the Holy Spirit, is messin’ my shit up on a daily basis. I think that trying to be like him (Jesus), and listening really close (be veh-wy, veh-wy quiet) to try and hear what the Spirit is sayin’ to G-d’s people is a good and worthy thing.

I also believe that no one, not one person, has ever sat down and really met G-d, face to face. So me trying to tell G-d, what G-d is, is a very human construct. I have no idea if I am right, or if the McPreachy-Preachers on TBN are right. And I think this tension, this reality is what keeps me humble and in check. Occasionally, I put on my I-am-super-proud-I-have-the-answer-super-smart-Episcopal-pants and think that I belong to, or am somehow a part of, the “right way” of understanding G-d. And then (for instance) I stumble into a little oddball Lutheran church that wows those pants right off me.

I believe that G-d is bigger than my ideas or thoughts about G-d, and that it is a better use of my time to just stop worrying about whether I am right or wrong–or worse if my neighbor is right or wrong–about G-d and just jump into the sandbox and play.

My beloved and I often say that as queer people it has been much easier to come out about our sexualities than it has been to come out as Christians. I have so many friends who for all of the right reasons have left the label behind and have sought other pastures for their faith/no faith. For all of the pain, fighting, hurt, and suffering that has happened on in the name of god/G-d/GOD/Jesus/the church/the Church … what really is the point in staying?

I don’t know. Something about it captures my imagination, soothes my soul. I am connected to a long line of Saints and saints, murderers and prostitutes, drug addicts and Mother Theresas. I like them. On my best days, I love them.

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3 thoughts on “defining ‘Christian’

  1. Smiling as I read this, as there often comes a point with new acquaintances when I have to come out as Christian, and I tend to say something like “I’m Christian, but not rabidly so”. I definitely feel a bit defensive about it, and occasionally find myself acting out a bit – swearing more and so on – just to prove I’m not a complete happy clappy idiot.

    Pathetic!

  2. I love your definition. I am also on that fence, but then I meet people like you. I know that only God could bring two people like us together. I know that only God could allow a year to go by without hearing each others voices, and I could call you up and ask you for a favor. I know only the Holy Spirit would tell me when we first met that you were the kind of person I could count on. Only the Holy Spirit would allow me to put all my crap aside and trust someone I don’t know. Only Jesus could allow me the grace to think I even deserve someone like you in my life.

    I know all that sounds mushy, but that is how I know God exists. The funny thing is, and I hope this doesn’t sound mean or downplay how wonderful you are, but I have met others too. I think God has them placed all over the world and I think that is why I love to travel. I meet really cool people everywhere I go and thank God (HAHA) the Holy Spirit allows me to get out of my own way and enjoy their company for how ever long we are together. That is salvation, that is saving grace, that is the Trinity.

    ::Down off my soap box:: You are awesome!! And I can’t wait to meet the other half!!!

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