“We are called to act with jutice,
we are called to love tenderly,
we are called to serve one another,
to walk humbly with God.”
— David Hass (paraphrase of Micah 6:8)
Over the past month or so, I’ve been asked and asking myself questions about some of the particulars regarding my faith and faith in general. Some have been small in magnitude, but others much greater, like, “Do you believe in an afterlife?” or “Is there a ‘god’ that created everything?” Many times I try to duck these questions, especially when I’m asking them to myself, but if they come from someone else, it’s a bit more of a challenge.
Recently I was asked a tough question in a group discussion, and it’s one that I usually answer to myself, “It really doesn’t matter,” but this wasn’t sufficient for those collected, so I decided to verbalize the “if I have to say something” answer I usually refrain from in an attempt to avoid going deeper into what that means for me and my faith. After I got it out, it was OK, because what I said was only the truth of what I feel deep down, an opportunity to be honest with myself in a way I usually avoid.
In the past few days, since verbalizing that uncomfortable answer, I’ve been contemplating what exactly it means that some of my personal beliefs might conflict with some seemingly significant (doctrinal?) pieces of the faith I claim when I call myself a Christian. Am I really fooling myself and others? Calling myself “Lutheran” anymore is probably a stretch and likely now more of a cultural connection for me than anything, but Christian? Is that no longer true, too?
But singing the words from Micah 6:8 (above) this morning at a Christian (though non-Lutheran) service, I was reminded again that while there may be questions out there I answer differently than others who consider themselves Christian, and which might cause certain other Christians, if they knew my answers, to tell me I’m not, in fact, one of them, that doesn’t matter to me.
For me, being a Christian is all about following Christ, and following Christ to me means living a life full of love and grace, of kindness and hospitality, of justice and peace. Does any of that have to do with being “saved” or believing God created the earth in a certain number of days or even believing in a “tangible” afterlife where people or souls or spirits or whatever spend eternity?
My “philosophy,” as someone termed it in a question to me last month, is simply one thing: love. I believe following Christ — him bing for you the “Risen Lord” or just another great guy — is about the love. I may not answer some questions of faith in a way you might expect or agree with, but I believe that following love and seeking, as much as is humanly possible, to be love is what makes me as much a Christian as those who sat humbly at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teachings and going forth to do likewise.
So instead of letting the questions I may answer “wrongly” or not have the answers to get in the way, I hold firm in that which I do know — God is Love, Christ is Love, and by putting Love above all other things, I truly am following The Way.
Peace and love as you discern how The Way might be calling you, too.