At church family camp last summer our presenters asked us to answer this question. As I have something resembling PTSD as a result of growing up unchurched in Dallas, Texas (not just the Bible Belt, but the big shiny buckle on the Bible Belt), I have struggled mightily with this question over the years. Yes, even after more than a decade of seminary and chaplaincy and ministry, I still struggle. My voice stumbles over the words, “I am a Christian.” I am a person of faith—Yes. I love God with my whole heart and try to serve God with my whole life—Yes. Jesus is my Rabbi, my Path and my Way—Yes. So, yes, finally, it must be true, I am a Christian. But, why? Why am I a Christian?
The best way I can answer this question is with a story. (This is a theologically sound way to go—Jesus was forever answering thorny questions by seemingly ignoring the question and diving into a story instead.) So here we go:
When my life fell apart, and I had a mini break down, I went to see my pastor. He is one of my very favorite people in the whole world. He sat with me in my pain and my misery and he said,
“I know it’s hard to believe now, but you will get through this.” After a long silence, I practically screamed out my biggest fear to him,
“But what if I don’t get through this—what if I am stuck here forever?
He looked right at me and said, “Then Jeff and I will climb down in there with you and we will stay with you until you get out.”
I raised my eyes to his and said,
“Sucks to be you.” And then we laughed out loud—the realest truest laughter in all the world. We laughed long and hard and then I said,
“I think I meant to say, ‘Thank you.’”
And Dave said, “That’s how I heard it.”
It turns out Dave was right about everything. I did, in fact, get through it, even though, at the time, that seemed impossible. And both he and my wonderful husband Jeff (and many other fabulous amazing beautiful friends and healers) did, at times, climb down into my pain, and simply be with me, so that although I was not yet through it, I was not alone in it.
They were the very presence of God for me in that darkest, hardest time. They were–every one–bearers of God’s grace and healing and love. Through them, God’s power restored me, and filled me with courage to do the work that had to be done.
Why am I a Christian?
My pastor Dave is a Christian, and I want to be one too. If that is what it means to be a Christian, I want to be one too.
I want to spend my life out this way, bearing God’s love and power and grace and healing to everyone I meet in this beautiful and broken world. Just like Jesus did. May I follow him more fully and faithfully, today and all the days of my life.
Mondays on this blog are for theological musings…please feel free to muse along with me. I would love to hear your thoughts, or even your answer to the question above. Blessings!