People often imply that my faith is somehow less pure, less academic, less than theirs in general.
I may have an unusual view of my earliest churches, but what I remember shaped my faith as much as The Bible or my parents did. I remember being told not to take a pastor’s word as law, to seek out the truth in The Word for myself. This has led to reading Thomas Cahill like he’s going out of style. Seeking out, completing, and mentoring an Education for Ministry class. This has led to conversation on dorm hall steps, over bottles of wine with dear friends, in a car with my brother and father, on decks over “communion” with other friends, across long tables with cousins/aunts/uncles about faith and God and what it means to be a follower of Christ. This has led to arguments about why being “born again” doesn’t make me a bad person/conservative freak/whatever.
I grew up with “Jesus freak” proselytizers, active youth group hypocrites, and the mirrors where I faced my numerous shortcomings. I may always be a little angry about being made to believe in my teen years that I could lose my faith, that shyness meant others could label me a “stuck up know it all bitch”, that my seeking was somehow not belief/faith.
Now I try so hard not to show favoritism in my classroom (public school) regarding religion that I occasionally get in a bit of trouble for trying to make kids atheists by “telling lies” and such; if they only caught every third word, they may be surprised I see myself as a Christian.
I swear too much, drink too much, don’t do enough, and push too much to be a “good Christian”. I have never questioned God’s existence, Jesus’ divinity, or the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice. I always question myself. I completely judge the crap out of little things. I am not very good at being a Christian and I know that. It doesn’t actually make me not a Christian.
I know things don’t always happen for a reason.
I know that we get handed more than we can handle so we’ll be forced to ask for help.
I know that when we seed the wind we have no idea where the whirlwind will sprout or who will be forced to reap it.
I know we reap other people’s whirlwinds—that’s why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to everyone. Sure, we are often responsible for our own good and bad, but we aren’t always.