I grew up and still live in the Bible Belt (at least I think N. Florida is part of the BB). I’d say that the majority of my life I’ve been a confused blob in this pool of Christianity or even more specific Southern Baptist-ism.
When I was little we didn’t go to church but all the kids I cared about at school did. It was something that was discussed in class. People would ask “What church do you go to?” I didn’t have an answer. I felt embarrassed and more importantly left out. When we did start going to church I had trouble listening and engaging. I’d missed the fundamentals and frankly a few of the “cool kids” at my church were down right mean. But I lived in the culture where the definition of a Christian was a person who is both good and right. It was a world where teachers, doctors, therapists, and grocery store clerks earned all sorts of extra brownie points for wearing their love of Jesus on their sleeves. A world where “Christian” could be used as a synonym for a number of positive adjectives. (“Well that’s not very Christian of her.”)
To be honest I think there was only a brief time in my life where I was a real Christian. After that I dusted off the old hat and put it on only at certain times. Like for instance when someone asked “Are you a Christian?” I didn’t necessarily believe that I was lying. When I filled out the registration papers before giving birth to Bella, I checked the “Christian” box. Mark questioned me on that one. More or less I thought if we’re not Christian, what are we? We have to be something. There wasn’t a box for I Don’t Know.
The other day I was involved in a conversation where the yardstick of Christianity came up. I couldn’t help but wonder if this person would love me any less if they questioned my status and discovered my answer. The fact is in the world I live in, the world I know, most people assume that all the other people are Christians. And when it comes to the people they love and consider friends or family it’s unfathomable that those folks would be anything but Christians.
6 years ago or 10 years ago if anyone asked me if I was a Christian, I would have said yes. If pressed further I might have mentioned how my Aunt Madie brought me to Jesus when I was about 12-years-old. That would have been my out loud answer. Inwardly I would have said that I questioned and even doubted God’s existence. I would have said that I’d be happy to never see another church in my life and that the second anyone mentions that word I look for the nearest exit. But even inwardly I still might not have said NO, I’m not a Christian.
Today I believe strongly in something that is bigger than myself. I use the word God at times although that word is filled with all kinds of charged emotions. What I believe in is indescribable and in my attempts to explain it, I never seem to get it right for everyone. It is something that can only be found and understood through each person individually. I go to church now. I love church now. I go to be with like-minded souls. I go to hear stories and inspirational words. But when I want to be with God, I go into silence. I listen to my breath and I wait.
So if you were to stop me on the street and ask me if I am a Christian, quite frankly the answer is no.
I am a seeker of love and truth, who wishes only to fulfill my highest potential in this life and on this planet.