Belief, for me, is a tide. At moments there is a surge, an all-encompassing flood of Ideas and Opinions and Truth where I feel very… smug and together and right. And then there are moments where all the Ideas and Opinions and Truth seem distant and suddenly the most important things in life are the details of picking up the dry cleaning, planning dinner, and paying the bills. In other words there is no belief, just the banality of checklists. A life lived unintentionally.
I am best when I am intentional but not smug. When I stay close to the water. When I admire the sun’s reflection, the cresting waves, the pattern water leaves on sand, the bubbles gurgling in shoreline air pockets. When I am fully present, overwhelmed by beauty but unable to claim to know all her secrets. When I am able to take the beauty with me into the mundane so beauty can live there too.
I believe in so many things. In the simple pleasure of baked bread still warm. In the gospel of a freshly bloomed flower. In Global Warming. In the dust mites multiplying within my mattress. I believe in my son. I believe in my husband. I believe in my friends. Ever so often I believe in myself. But these beliefs do not sustain me. They are not enough.
So (here it comes) I am a Christ-follower. I am a girl who takes Jesus at his word as reflected by the Bible and follows him. I believe in kooky, whacked-out stuff like that Jesus was God on earth in human form and that literally he experienced death but three days later literally walked out of his tomb fully alive. Yup, I believe that literally. And I believe that for some reason this makes all the difference in how close you or I can come to God now or in whatever is after now.
But if you catch me in a coffee shop (where I’ll be drinking tea) and we get into a Religious Discussion I may get caught up in… nature as God on earth in creation form or I may surprise you with some other Biblical stories I believe… metaphorically or literally… whatever, how should I know? You may also be surprised at how many questions you ask to which I answer, “I don’t know.” Or, “Well, at this point of my faith-journey here’s how I see it…”
And you may wonder how I can call myself a Christian because somewhere along the way a pastor or parent or classmate told you had to believe a certain way to be a Christian. Basically, that you had to know their Truth. I don’t believe that. I find these pastors/parents/classmates will tell you not to get a tattoo (because, indeed, in the Bible there’s anti-tattoo scripture) but he will tell you this while eating a ham and cheese sandwich (Uh, not kosher! And the food restriction verses are with the anti-tattoo verses!)
I believe that this Jesus God/guy I do my best to follow meant to turn religion on its ugly head and challenged people to not grow smug in Truth but instead empowered people to ask questions in search for More. And I’m a bad enough Christian to believe that other religions have beauty and truth that may be able to push you closer to More. But I believe closer isn’t enough because closer doesn’t get you to wrap your arms, your heart, your joys, your hurts around Jesus.
I believe you have to wrap your life around Jesus be whole.
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