I need to take a moment to say something.
My posts on this blog often come across as acerbic, sometimes a little confrontational, maybe even a little angry (as has been pointed out to me, and rightly so). And I’m alright with that – after all, this blog is only meant to chronicle a faith journey that my wife and I are taking together, and part of that is working through our issues with Christianity. The issues I address on this blog are real, often-challenging hurdles that I have faced or am continuing to face. Some I’ve jumped, some I have avoided, and some have stopped me completely, if only for a time. I will write about them with honesty and candor, because if I’m not going to do that, I might as well stop blogging. But with all of that being said, there are some things I feel that I should point out. These are the things I have learned on this journey that have nothing to do with Christians as people, Christianity as a religious institution, or my own hang-ups.
1) God is incredible. I mean that. In my attempts to discover a way to have a personal relationship with the being that I am starting to un-ironically call “the Lord,” I have found a deity that is really interested in talking back to me.
2) Jesus is key. I have resisted this idea as much as I could. But I wrote a little something back in this post that really stuck with me. I can’t understand God, on my own. But I can come much closer to understanding Jesus. Moreover, when I picture talking to God, it’s like throwing my thoughts up into space and hoping for a response – but when I picture talking to Jesus, I picture sitting with him, in my kitchen, drinking coffee in the early hours of the day before my family has risen. For some reason, that puts it all into focus, for me.
3) I really want to do what God wants for me. In all things. I may question, in some instances, if we human beings actually know what God wants of us. I often question our interpretations of scripture, even as I learn more about those interpretations and why we use them. But if I were to be convinced that God wanted me to do something, even if it went against my normal inclinations, I would do it. When I rage against a particular machine, God is not that machine.
4) Yes – I’m snarky, sarcastic, still a little cynical when I shouldn’t be. I am, like all of us, a work in progress. But God has made me better, even in the short time I’ve known him. Case in point – I used to hate animals, even pets. At the best of times I wanted to ignore them. At the worst of times, I wanted. . . worse. And has God addressed this in me, directly? I don’t think God has ever said to me, “Dan, animals are my creatures, too. Be good to them.” And yet. . . I have a pet dog, and I love her. I have patience with her that I have never had before. It’s the first dog I’ve ever gotten at my wife’s insistence that I feel is part of my family. God did that – God’s touch gave me patience and compassion I lacked.
5) I really believe that Jesus can make anyone’s life better. I’m not a place where I can discuss the idea of salvation – specifically, the idea that I am saved, but that Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, Hindus, Jews, or Zoroastrians are not, because they do not believe in Christ. God certainly hasn’t touched my heart about that, and I may not ever be able to look someone in the face and tell them I think they are going to go to Hell. That may be a problem if my dream of becoming a pastor ever comes true. But I do believe that Jesus is the best answer out there. I can only go by my own experience, like anyone else, but. . . man, I’ve tried a lot of answers. I am the poster child of post-modernism, I had tons of options in religion, and the only one that worked was Jesus Christ.
6) I love my church. I love the leadership there. I love the people who attend. I love the building we’re renting. I love the location. I love catching people walking by, on the mornings when I’m greeting, who open up the door, look around, and say, “. . . there’s a CHURCH here?!?!” I love inviting them in. We’re in the trenches, where we need to be.
7) God loves me.
So there you have it – the least snarky words I have ever written on What the Faith. Thank you for listening to my saccharine musings. I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone with my lack of funny pictures or feeble attempts at humor.
Tune in again, later this week, when I’ll be back to my regularly schedule counter-cultural ramblings.
God bless you guys. Srsly.