155. all I have…
You know, I started out writing a blog about why I’m a Christian despite the fact that I’ve got issues with God and his church. But I quickly ran into a brick wall. See, that’s part of what I’m trying to figure out. In point four of blog 153, I talked about how I’m trying to figure out what I believe and how that belief affects the way I live. I’m not really ready to lay out reasons for why I’m a Christian, and I suppose that should be a scary place to be…but I’m not scared.
See, even if I can’t explain it and even if it’s never explained to me, I know I’ll still believe in God and his son Jesus. I know I’ll still be a Christian, even if I’m a poor representative. And it seems odd to me that I can’t really articulate why that is. I mean, I’ve been in church almost all my life so I’ve got lots of handy, dandy religious phrases in my pocket that I can put on display, but I’m tired of pulling from that deck of cards, and besides, it’s not my deck.
What if I were to jettison all of the religious terminology I was raised with and tried to articulate the reasons I choose to live as a Christian. What would I say?
1. It’s all I have.
Truth be told, this may be the most honest answer I can give at this point in my life. It’s not very compelling and it’s not as sexy as those God-delivered-me-from-drug-addiction testimonies. Frankly, it’s kind of embarrassing. But it also happens to be true.
I don’t know any other way to live, and even though some might say I’m missing out on a world of experiences (sins, to resort to a religious term), I couldn’t do it. I can’t just stop believing that sex outside of marriage is wrong or that doing the right thing even when no one is watching is still the right thing. The commandments, the rules, the guidelines in the Bible are so woven into who I am that I doubt I could just drop them.
But why not? What would keep me from just going out and getting laid (apart from the fact that I don’t have a girlfriend and that I know about as much about seduction as a tree knows about algebra)? Let’s say that right now my cell phone rang and on the other end was some other Christian girl I used to know who decided that fornication wasn’t a sin anymore and that she wanted to exercise her newfound freedom with me. Why wouldn’t I go?
(Just to clue you in, I’m staring at that question, trying to come up with an answer. I’ve been trying to figure out what to write for about fifteen minutes now, and it’s not because I’m trying to think up a reason not to go and sleep with this woman, it’s the opposite. I’m trying to figure out why it is that I wouldn’t…because I wouldn’t…but I’m not sure why.)
You know, I can’t explain it, but I just wouldn’t go. It would be like me trying to do something just completely out of character and against my instincts – like trying to gnaw one of my fingers off. And I don’t want to make a huge deal of this as if I’m all smug and self-righteous. I like to think I know what I’d do in some racy situation, but I don’t, but I’d like to think that I’d resist the temptation and walk away. But why would I do that? And again, in my mind, that’s just not done. It’s wrong and I don’t want to do it.
And back to my original point (that Christianity is all I have), living without rules would be a kind of chaos for me. I need the structure and order and stability that the Bible provides, because, for me, a world without borders is wooly, uncharted wilderness. And I don’t want to go there.
Call it a crutch, call it a cop out, call it whatever you want. It may be all that I have, but it’s also something I need.
There are more reasons I want to write about but it’s late and I’ve got work tomorrow. This is turning out to be a really interesting exercise.