Today, because of a previous post from No Passing Fancy, I’m going to discuss a subject that I only rarely bring up on this blog. Today, I am going to talk about being a Christian. I briefly touched on why I am not an active church goer these days but will fill in more details here as well.
This post is going to be part testimony, part rationalization, part observation, part critique and hopefully entirely thought provoking.
First, I want to address the question of why I don’t write about this subject very often. My faith is very personal to me, more personal than anything else I’ve shared on this blog. This should tell you something because I talk about my life a lot and am very candid when I do. I’ve even allowed for the possibility that my candidness may work against me in the future. I’ve explained why that doesn’t really matter to me in this post.
But that’s really the more foundational reason. The reason that you can add on top of that is that I don’t necessarily feel that my blog is the best avenue to address this particular subject matter. I have no issue with discussing my faith with anyone who asks out of genuine interest. I have some issue with discussing it with someone who asks just to start an argument. This does not mean I won’t engage them (3.5 years worth of debate classes practically ensures I will) but it is not my favorite way to entertain myself.
I want to discuss this in a way that is productive. I think a one-on-one discussion is a more effective way for me to share this aspect of my life. If a person listens to what I have to say and affords me a greater amount of respect because of it, even if I have not persuaded them to the cause of Christianity, then I still come away with a victory in my view.
Contrast this to my feelings on the other subject mentioned in my friends post. I don’t even like to discuss politics one-on-one. These subjects are the two where it seems people are most willing to argue. I have no issue with argument if there is a chance people will learn something in the end. Political argument in particular seems to devolve into name calling and other personal attacks quite quickly. At that point learning anything of value ceases unless you really need to know that person X thinks person Y is a hipocritical idiot and person Y thinks person X is a closed-minded jerk.
I can say that I’ve seen and heard many stories about people’s conversion to Christianity. In fact, I never get tired of hearing these. However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard one that went like: “I was arguing with my friend in Facebook comments and I lost”. However, I have heard many where an argument went on within the confines of a person’s own head.
The final reason I discovered that I don’t write about this particular topic very often is that I don’t think I can do a good job of it. As I said in a previous post, I don’t often find myself at a loss for words but that is not true when I consider my faith. Perhaps it is not so much that I can’t find any words but that I can’t seem to find the right ones. I fear I fall short when trying to convey the impact that faith has on my life. At least I feel that way when I write, when I speak I think I’m much better at it.
Before I get any further I must let you all know of one thing that will help reduce some confusion for you as you read further. I believe that the statement: “I’m going to talk about my faith” and the statement “I’m going to talk about my religion” are not the same thing. I do not refer to myself as being religious, I prefer to refer to myself as a Christian or if I must a person of faith.
The difference in my own mind is that religion is something you do or something you practice while a Christian is something that I am. The ceremony of communion is a wonderful religious ceremony. However, receiving communion on it’s own does not make me a Christian, it is because I am a Christian that I receive communion. What I do does not make me who I am, what I am is what makes me do.
Unfortunately, I seem to be losing this particular battle in the never ending game of “what label do we attach here?” and so if you must substitute the word religion when you see me use the word faith, I guess I can’t stop you.
I also used to do this to anyone who found out that I was a Christian and wanted to know what denomination I belonged to but wasn’t going to come right out and ask that particular question. If you want to know what denomination I identify as, the closest one would be Baptist. But I very rarely, even when I was a member of a Baptist church used the word Baptist to describe myself.
I’m going to paginate this entry to make it easier to read in chunks. At the end of each page I’m going to place one of my favorite songs. Most of them will be hymns but this one is more contemporary. I can’t hear this song without thinking of my Grandfather. When he passed away in 2012 a video slideshow was produced that aired at the visitation service and before the funeral, this song was used as part of that montage.
You might be able to watch my grandfather’s tribute here. It will give you all a chance to see me when I was skinny.