For the vast majority of my life, my understanding of the Christian Faith has been more or less on par with anyone else’s… There’s a book that tells us a bunch of weird stories that don’t matter anymore, then Jesus shows up, he dies, and now we’re going to heaven as long as we swear our allegiance. I grew up in the Church, and this is what was ingrained in me. When I picture a Christian, someone who subscribes to the above ideals are still what comes to mind.
The trouble is, over the past several years, my own understanding of those ideals have begun to shift and change. The way in which I engage and understand Christianity has been in a constant state of flux since at least 2006… And yet the picture I have in my mind of what a Christian looks like and believes has remained the same since 1992. Some might call it a step backward, others might call it growth. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
The result of this, however, is that from time to time when I recognize that something in my spiritual life isn’t living up to its full potential, I go back to my picture of what a Christian looks like in order to compare and contrast. This kind of thing has happened before. In fact, this post was originally conceived to be yet another of one of those blog posts. Instead, I ended up talking to my awesome wife about it, and she pointed out the fact that every time I start wondering if I’m doing something wrong, I immediately discount the past several years of growth and assume that I made an error somewhere.
She described it as going on a trip, and then getting lost. Instead of looking around and asking for directions, I retrace my steps until I get back home. This would be all fine and dandy if I hadn’t left home in the first place because I had somewhere else to be. Invariably, even after writing those posts nothing really changes because when the rubber meets the road, I feel like I’m closer to being who God wants me to be right now than I was when I sent in my application for Bible College.
Be that as it may, however, something needs to change. My spiritual life has been lacking for a little while now, and instead of wasting time wondering if my spiritual life is supposed to look like it did a decade ago, I’m going to do something about it. I’ll talk about the specifics of that next time.
In the mean time, I thought it might be time to try and solidify a picture of my beliefscape as it exists right now. My hope is that the next time I’m wondering if I’ve gone too far or veered off the path, I’ll return to this instead of my outdated picture. As you can imagine, what follows is written mostly for me. However, seeing as I write about the things I believe in a blog, it seems right that as my readers you should have an idea where I’m coming from.
I believe that God is good.
I believe that God loves us with a ferocity we can’t begin to imagine.
I believe God is eager to know us individually and wishes to actively communicate with each and every one of us.
I believe that God has an idea for each of us… A particular path he hopes to see us walk.
I believe that our world is broken. I believe it’s my job to help fix it while continuously recognizing the beauty that is inherent within it.
I believe the Bible helps us to know and understand God better.
I don’t believe that the Bible was originally intended to be read as a literal representation of events…
I do believe that books, movies, stories, and music don’t have to be true in order to tell the Truth.
I usually believe that Jesus is God. (Sometimes I’m not sure.) I believe he came to Earth to help us understand more about God and who he is.
I believe that throughout the Gospel, we see Jesus being very inclusive; the “good news” is for everyone. (That is to say, Jesus died for everyone.)
I believe that Jesus is so inclusive with his good news, that *we should really take more time to understand why we’re so willing to exclude the rest of the world based on one sentence Jesus said one time. (John 14:6.) (*Myself included.)
I’m not… certain that Christians are the only ones in Heaven.
Similarly, I’m not certain that there’s a hell. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.
I believe that we are eternal beings. I think we were somewhere before we were born. I think we’ll be somewhere after we die.
I believe that God can choose to reshape reality in any way he wishes; however he chooses to abide by a set of “rules” that I cannot begin to guess at.
I believe that calling God a “he” is completely arbitrary because he’s as much a “she” as she is anything else.
It should be noted, that all of these are always in flux. They’re not necessarily changing by 180 degrees, but they’re constantly getting refined and shaped by my life, my experiences, and my interactions with God. If you disagree, that’s fine, but I’m not going to fight with you about beliefs that I freely admit I’m not sure about. I do love a good discussion though.
How about you? What are you sure about? What ideas do you struggle with?