We both grew up in Christian families, asking Jesus to forgive our sins at young ages, long before we’d before we’d done our worst. We’re in turn raising our kids in a Christian family, of sorts anyway 🙂
But when we really take a step back and consider from a logical, human understanding, let’s be honest – Christianity is weird.
If you don’t see that, we must not be reading the same Bible. It’s got some nice parts, sure, but overall it’s been a bit romanticized by the church. I’m as human as anyone – there are plenty of tough, hard to grapple with bits in there… lots of things that don’t really sit too well with me and I don’t want to have to try to explain to my kids.
In spite of what may seem to be the case based on the history of the Catholic church at the least, and modern Christian evangelistic efforts at best, Christianity at its core is not interested in forcing or coercing people to become “members”. Jesus’ invitation was open, but he often seemed to be trying to convince people not to follow him.
It’s not an easy message. It’s definitely not a puppies and cupcakes thing.
This time of year there are a lot of nice little messages and trite little sayings floating around the interwebs. And as great as the real message is, I’m not gonna lie, I cringe a bit at some of what comes through my Twitter feed.
But humanity is messy. A puppies and cupcakes solution doesn’t cut it.
We believe that life is not so simple as what we can see, isn’t about what it seems, and is far more than we can comprehend or understand in our very human limitations.
Our spirits know this, our dreams know this, our imagination knows this – they all point to more.
Where it all gets confusing is that truth is truth.
Truth is at work in all sorts of religions, and for people who don’t necessarily even believe in God, let alone Jesus; because truth is not dependent on our belief in it. Truth just is.
Our world itself functions out of structures and processes of truth – our understanding of these is what we call science 🙂
Secular ideas about karma, dream boards, positive thinking, to name a few, all operate off of truth principles. There are lots of self-help things you can do with varied degrees of success – lots of ways to be a “good person”.
Our human understanding of “truth” and “good” is all relative, but to recognize anything as true and anything as good is to acknowledge that there is, in fact, a scale. This in turn means that there is a greatest, or infinite good.
Whatever we put at the top of that scale is what we acknowledge as our god.
Most religions are about acknowledging that what belongs at the top of the scale exists outside of our current understanding, and aim to provide methods for getting us as close to that top as possible.
The core difference of Christianity is its acceptance of human limitation, viewing humanity with humility – recognizing that not only have we not arrived at the top of the scale, but we are not capable of getting there in our own strength.
While we do not claim to understand all the vastness of God, nor of Truth, nor of His Word or methods, we do wholeheartedly acknowledge that we are not the source of truth or goodness, nor does it exist in infinite measure within our humanness.
And that is why we bow to Jesus.