What are we living for? I mean really? What does it mean to be a Christian??
I can say that in some ways I feel lost. In other ways-I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be: in the world not of it.
I spent most of my childhood in church. I was taught how to get blessed, what sin meant, how to live a life pleasing to God, etc. and most of it involved following a set of rules. You can’t do this or that. We don’t believe in this. Those people over there? Yea they’re going to hell.
How can we be so sure?
My life altering experience is two-fold. The first comes from my visit to a seminary during my senior year of college. The Christianity I encountered there was NOTHING like I grew up with.
It was loving. It was inclusive. It was mind stimulating and didn’t require me to check my brain at the door. It was…refreshing.
When I returned home to my large mega church I’d never felt more empty.
I slowly began to disengage from church until I was no longer attending. I wanted more. More than just a show on Sundays rooted in emotion. I had questions I wanted answered but wasn’t in an environment I felt would welcome them.
I understand the African-American tradition is a rich one, full of history & heritage dating back to the days of slavery. How could I reconcile my faith with what I saw and experienced on a regular basis? I felt like an outsider in a community that claimed to be loving.
My other experience is an ongoing one…meeting people who love and follow Christ’s teachings but aren’t linked to a specific local church community. They’ve shown me what love REALLY is. Moreso than people who self-identify with Christianity.
Life isn’t meant to be lived inside of this Christian bubble we insulate ourselves in. Life is meant to be lived OUT, to share our lives with others. To be present with them in their times of struggle, to not just say ‘I’ll pray for you’ and then walk away, but ‘I’ll pray WITH YOU, let’s do something about it together.’
There’s so much I could write about it, but in my ‘wilderness’, I’ve learned so much about what it means to be human and love God, love people. More than any sermon I’ve ever heard.
I am still learning what it means to have faith in a world that can easily cause you to lose faith in humanity. I have faith. I have not lost hope and pray that I never will.