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Archive for March, 2015

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There are some things about Christianity that trouble me.

Like using the word “Christian” when you mean good or right or ethical: “Helping that homeless guy is so Christian.”

Right. It’s also so Jewish. So Muslim. So Buddhist. So Hindu.

Or the questions: “Are you a Christian? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”

A judgment is implied if you say no, even though it may be the real answer.  That or, “Well, some days I’m feeling Christian and some days I’m not. Some days I believe it all and other days I struggle. And what is a “personal” savior? What am I being saved from?”

People who ask these questions usually don’t want any qualifiers or follow-up. They want yes or no. And if the answer is no, I have never had this “no” graciously accepted.

And yet, how many of us use the term “Christian” with such forthrightness and confidence as in the examples above? Do you say, “I’m a Christian—a follower of Jesus”? Or do you say, “I’m an Episcopalian” or the even less committal “I go to St John’s in St Paul” or the popular “I’m spiritual but not religious.” There’s nothing wrong with any of these, of course, but each degree of separation from the centrality of Jesus might suggest that you haven’t really thought this through yet. But you’re going to.

I’m touchy about this topic because I have struggled with it for so long and now am clearer in my mind than ever about what “Christian” means. At least for me. And on Sunday I’m going to say it out loud. (You’ll hear the “born again” verse, too.)

Not very “Episcopalian” in some ways. There will be few references to the Prayer Book. Nothing about the three-legged stool of Anglicanism.

Certainly not very Minnesotan! I’m risking too much directness and what if I hurt someone’s feelings?

I feel vulnerable and a little scared and a little excited about doing this but for me it’s about time (yes, clergy, too, can be evasive about the core of their own beliefs) but I hope to help facilitate your own journey by offering my own to consider.

Possibly, we can even talk more openly about this stuff—especially Jesus — soon.

Scary, I know.

See you in church.

Barbara

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