I can’t give up being a Christian. God knows, I’ve tried.
The thing I find most compelling about Christianity isn’t the church, the Bible, the promises, the grace, the hope or the salvation. In fact, on any given day, I question what those things actually mean, and what they mean to me.
I don’t find Christianity particularly compelling. But still, I can’t leave it. I think I’ve worked out what it is that makes me stay.
What I find most compelling about Christianity is Jesus Christ.
And what I find most compelling about Jesus Christ is his humanity.
For Jesus Christ to be made of god is important, and important to me. But him being made of dirt and blood and bone is far more important as far as I’m concerned.
I need to know he is like me.
So many religions and paths try to convince me I am a kind of god whose basic problem is I need to lose my humanity – that I will not be enlightened/transcendent/evolved/abundant/all-fixed-up unless I unbecome all the things a human being is.
Dirt, blood and bone.
Flawed, imperfect, vulnerable.
Damaged, scarred, wounded.
Shackled to memories. Tied to others.
A product of my past. Afraid for the future.
Hungry. Thirsty. Naked.
Nailed inside my head, my heart and my humanity.
But I just can’t do it. Because those things connect me to others, help me help them, help me help them heal. And I think Jesus Christ got this. It was a stroke of genius, so simple, and so misunderstood. It’s not his god-ness we love and need so much. It’s his us-ness.
They killed a tree with a blade of iron
a tree that grew in the earth long before they were even born
hacked it in pieces
split into beams it took two of them to carry
on their shoulders to a hill
a burial mound
and they broke up the body of a man three different ways
rent that body until the sap flowed out and on the ground
on their hands
and they pounded the iron into his meat
planted him in the ground
mocking creation and the creator and creativity
look at me, I am man and I can kill
as if ending life meant it was somehow transcended
but the killer died long ago
and the one he kills can never die
I want Christianity because I want a religion and a god of flaws, imperfection, vulnerability – a god of earth, blood and bone. I want a god with dirty feet. I want a god who knows what it means to be abandoned, misunderstood, abused, rejected, broken and sworn at. I want a god they suspected was mentally ill, accused of being a heretic, cast aspersions upon regarding his character, his origins and his motives. I want a god of mood swings, anger, generosity and grace. I want a god who has experienced shaming and blaming, ignorance, injustice and prejudice. I want a god who doesn’t have complete control. I want a god who cries and rails and who sometimes gets there too late to do any good. I want a god who sees people. I want a god who was born and died like any other human being.
I want Jesus Christ.