I am a Christian; I am sure I’m not alone in feeling that “Christian” is a loaded word. It seems that has to be said either evangelically or ashamedly, and I would side on the latter. But here I am writing it as unemotionally as I can. The problem is that I connect many attitudes and social organizations to Christianity that are, at best, ugly, or at worst, destructive. So while I’d rather not self-identify and be labeled as a Christian, it is the most accurate religion label for me (I grew up in the Midwest U.S.). I hope that someday labels do not segregate and denigrate, but simply and only help with communication and understanding. A couple of thoughts; one, some Christians would likely claim I am not a true Christian; two, there some who might resonate with me who once had identified as Christian, but no longer do so; and three, I desire to know the truth and often talk as if I am certain, but it’s uncertainty that I am learning to live with and embrace.
I am trying to eliminate belief statements and replace my phraseology with “I contend” statements. I do not mean to disparage belief; belief in oneself or belief in God can be beautiful and beneficial. However, belief should not be a blindfold; and as I look back at my story, the adverb “blindly”, was an appropriate one to put before my beliefs. When choosing to use the word “contend”, I am forced to justify, explain, and consider evidences, if only in my head.
Now, there are many reasons to contend that the world, and more specifically knowledge, is not all empirical and rational. There are phenomena and experiences that are unexplainable, at least currently. I do not consider my outlook to be fully outside of a humanistic world view; I contend that science may very well be able to explain the next mystery, too. But just as we start to know more of the mystery, the mystery grows larger, or appears elsewhere. It is this uncertainty that I love to dig into, that I am learning to both sit with and work through, and that is uncomfortable and comforting.
My motivation to consider what I believe has been rekindled by a quasi-return to church. As I write this I haven’t been in over a month, but my next post was written in reflection on returning from church. Thanks for reading.
– someone’s brother (Derek)