I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last week about her faith, or lack there of, and I was struck by how many people in my life have chosen a life devoid of faith.
Now, when I say faith I mean it in the traditional sense… a belief in God, or whoever you perceive your higher power to be and whatever name he or she takes.
I grew up under the banner of many religions… Catholic, Baptist, Mormon… and I haven’t attended church regularly since I was a child, but my faith has always been a source of comfort and guidance for me, even though I never had one denomination to call home.
People are usually surprised by my strong belief in God and Jesus, and the bible. I don’t live a particularly “Christian” life and I am certainly not condemning people around me who don’t agree with my beliefs. I support gay marriage, freedom of choice and religions that differ with my own. I drink, listen to R’n’B music (the filthier the better) and did not save myself for marriage (although I wish I had!). I also cuss like a sailor. But throughout my entire life, which was tumultuous at times, there was always one constant, an unwavering faith that a higher power was watching over me who I could go to for guidance and compassion.
Now, by that I don’t mean that I believe there is a man on white throne up in the sky who has a scroll with my name at the top and everything I am to achieve in life is already decided for me. Quite the opposite. I believe in an energy, a power that shows me roads I might take, and even though at times it would like to push me down the right one, is simply a hand on my shoulder as I decide my own journey… and who every now and then gives me a tap to remind me there are other roads to take when we hit a dead end.
At this point people will usually ask me… so do you actually believe that there was a man called Jesus who came from heaven and performed all these crazy miracles? My short answer… Yes. But let me explain how I interpret the Bible.
Do I believe God created the earth in seven days… No. But an energy in the universe created earth and life from nothing. Give that whichever name you wish.
Do I believe in Adam & Eve… No. It’s a nice story though.
Do I believe a virgin gave birth to the son of God… No. Do I believe a woman who was young and innocent gave birth to a special child who would change the world, yes. I believe people are born every day who have a special mission on this earth, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela… Kanye 😉
“So you believe that Jesus could walk on water?”. No. But I believe sometimes we meet people in our lives who make us feel like we could do anything, who inspire us and lift us up until we feel like we could achieve the impossible.
“And what about bringing people back from the dead?”. No. But I believe that someones we meet people who wake us up and make us feel more alive than we ever have.
“Giving sight to the blind?”. No. But haven’t you ever met someone or heard a story that opened your eyes to something you never saw before? Who changed your perception about something and made you look at something in a different way?
“Turning water in to wine?”. No. But we all know people who are so intoxicating that being with them makes you giddy and excited, as though you are drunk.
“Filled empty baskets with fish and bread”. No. But people who sustain us in so many other ways that our soul and heart are full.
“Rose from the dead”. Unfortunately, no. But anyone who has ever lost someone dear to them knows the feeling of carrying them with them after they have passed. Of feeling their presence throughout their day to day lives long after they are dust in the ground.
I think one of the biggest mistakes of the church is that they teach the bible too literally.
Here is what I believe. Really good people are born everyday, people who will selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to help others. I believe there was man called Jesus who was that kind of person. He changed the way people thought, showed love and compassion to society’s undesirables and challenged the establishment in a time when it meant death. Can you really say you have never known or at the very least, read or heard about this type of person?
The bible to me is the (extremely) dramatised version of a simple man’s life. A good man. A man who happily took on the sins of his brothers and died for them.
So when people ask me am I Christian, I say yes. Any by that I mean, I believe in GOOD, the good of everyday people. I also believe in the spiritual realm and in forces greater than myself at work in the world.