A few nights ago, I went out for Mom’s Night Out with some friends from theater. (I know. The mind reels that I would do something so social. And I even enjoyed it!)
Besides our kids, we talked about politics, religion, and everything else you’re not supposed to talk about in polite conversation. It was glorious. But as I stumbled my way through a little bit of my journey and where I had landed: “I’m a bible-believing … No… A God believing … No… Not so much a Christian because I don’t like American Christianity … I like Jesus….” I realized I would, as is generally the case, do better if I wrote it down instead of trying to speak it.
So this is where I stand.
I’m a 45 year old refugee from a strict religious upbringing. I have since rejected just about everything traditional organized religion has to offer, and I don’t like the word, Christian. That part’s true. Too many people (DISCLAIMER! NOT all the people who claim the title… but too many) have made it stand for something really judgmental and hateful and ugly. If I absolutely had to choose a label, I kind of like Christ-follower, since I try to follow Jesus’s teachings (spoiler alert: Jesus was all about love), but in reality I’d choose no label at all. I’m just a girl who believes in a loving God, and thinks that Jesus was a really cool dude who has a lot to teach us.
The God I know (and his human form, Jesus), is not vindictive, or angry, or punishing. He is not hell fire and brimstone.
The God I know loves fiercely, with a deeper depth and a wider breadth than we can even comprehend.
The God I know loves ALL people. All races, all religions, all sexual orientations, all gender expressions. The God I know loves all people, but ESPECIALLY those who are maligned by the rest of society.
The God I know wants us all to love one another, to be kind to one another, to let people see us living out what we profess to be right and true.
But what about me? It’s nice and warm and fuzzy to believe in a loving God, but where’s my responsibility in all of this? I believe it’s no more simple nor complicated than this:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:35-40)
The God I know wants us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, welcome the strangers, heal the sick, and visit the marginalized.
Everything else is just fluff.