Am I a Christian? The answer to that question used to have eternal consequences for me. However, the ultimate answer to this question required getting through an application with multiple parts.
For me it went something like this:
“Do you believe Jesus Christ is God’s only Son?”
If Yes, Go Step 2, If No, “Go to Hell”
“Do you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins?”
If Yes, Hang on for a bit. If No, “Go to Hell”
“Alrighty then, where were we?” “Have you invited Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior?”
If Yes, “We will be the judge of that.” If No, “Go to Hell.”
“Now when you asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, were you baptized properly? I mean, none of that sprinkle stuff. Were you fully submerged, under water, and did you think maybe that guy holding his hand over your nose and mouth while you are under water and your entire life was in his hands – might just be some kind of a psycho killer who is going to drown you?”
“OK, where are we? Jesus is God’s only son, check. Jesus died for your sins, check. Invited to be your Lord and Savior, check. Good ole John the Baptist baptism, check. So, let me see…. Oh yeah, Do you believe Jesus was dead for three days and was resurrected?
If Yes, Good, very good. If No, “ah Go To Hell. Now. Go to Hell.”
“This is the final question on the General application. There are several supplemental applications that are focused upon a few letters that the Apostle Paul wrote, but let’s save that for later.” “So, listen very carefully now- do you believe that Jesus’ mother was a virgin at the time she gave birth to the Christ child?”
If Yes, “Amen brother/sister.” If No, “That is blasphemy!!! You are in big trouble. Go…to…Hell.”
So am I a Christian?
I believe that Jesus was God in fully human form, In doing so, I believed that God suffered and felt what it was like to be human which means we can always come to God. I think Jesus offered a different way of looking at life, a way that that created the bridge for us to walk over on our personal journey from our animal nature to our spiritual reality. I think some of the miracles were the result of that transformative energy. Through Jesus, I believed that God revealed his loving nature and God’s love for all his creation. I believe that God knows me, everything, and completely loves me. Do I believe in the Resurrection? Yes, I see it every spring. But none of the questions on the “So You Want To Be A Christian” General Application concern me because they don’t get at the core of what Jesus teaches me. Jesus touches me beyond a formal religion.
Unfortunately, I guess I fail the Christian test, I grew up with. I don’t take it seriously (obviously). I do however stand in awe that Jesus would choose to sit and eat with me? That Jesus would wash my feet is like a big wave of love that washes away the simple sandcastles of egotism that I have built as a weak form of self-protection. Often when I think about Jesus, I get tears in my eyes – a feeling, a knowing that I cannot describe. When I think about what a silly little man I can be, the hurt I have caused, my need for ego reinforcement, and yet God’s love is a constant in my life. In a song I wrote some time ago, I referred to God as “Spirit Lover.” I have done nothing to deserve it. It is an Amazing Grace. It is humbling but it is a humbleness of love, not self hatred. It is not a question of either or. The real question is about love with no limits, no boundaries. It is not finite, it is infinite and like the universe, it keeps expanding, revealing itself in big moments and quiet moments. It is the light that the darkness cannot overcome.
This passage sums Jesus’ message, for me.
Matthew 25:40-45 New International Version (NIV)
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
So remember those three pieces of wood I showed you last posting? I would say she did a dang good creating a very sturdy garden bench. (There’s the answer, Alison!”
Meanwhile, I created a little area to start growing some more lavender.
We get a beautiful sunset almost every evening out here.
Happy Easter, for whatever that means to you. To me, it means Love.