Friday, March 02, 2007

What It Is, To Be Christian

Interesting. It’s harder to make a case that Christianity is a success, than it is to defend against the charge that it’s a failure. That is, I think, because there is a sort of middle ground where something is clearly worthwhile to a point, but difficult to sell as a universal solution. I do believe that Christianity is good and worthwhile for anyone who would accept it, yet I certainly stop short – well short – of suggesting that it should be imposed on folks. And saying that everyone should accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, especially when combined with insinuation that non-compliance means torture and agony, certainly heads down that road towards oppressive installation of a theocracy. So I would like to start by qualifying what I mean, personally anyway, when I talk about Christianity.

For me, Christianity is about being Christian, which in turn means to be a follower of Christ. Follower as in, I like where He’s going and what He’s done, so I am following Him in order to be more like Him and go where He goes. Fair enough?

One of the odd bits about being Christian, is that it’s different for everyone from each other Some folks seem to enjoy a deeply personal relationship with Christ, while others have a more, formal I guess would be the word, relationship. Some folks experience miracles while some seem to have a pretty common-sense experience. God seems to have as many facets to His nature and character as we human beings do. Tempting as it is to try to describe what the “True Christian” looks and acts like, that too is a variable, and I would not try to diminish the hand of God in so great a thing as how He works among us. But I digress, as I tend so often to do.

I would describe, from my perspective, Christianity as “the Greater Life”. It’s that dance which begins when we accept that we cannot ever be all we want to be on our own effort, but that there is a plan for us to be greater than we ever imagined. Not “great” in the sense of physical wealth or influence among men, but in finding meaning in our identity and becoming something of which we would otherwise only be able to dream, in detached and wistful moments. For me it began, really, with gratitude. When I am not grateful, I am ill-suited to my condition and situation, but when I accept grace and hold it loosely in thanks, then I am raised up to something and someone worth the effort and the moment.

Christ made that possible, and that is how I would explain the success of Christianity.

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