14 October 2012

I am a Christian

I am a Christian.

I am tired of people trying to put me into their vision of what that means.

 Some examples - these are things people have actually said to me:
  "I'd think a Protestant Christian would agree...."
 "You know, Christians are only concerned with..."
 You want to know what I think about a subject?  Then ask me.  Don't assume that I have a stance on something just because the media or "society" or your own personal biases tell you that some stereotypical Christian should.  I choose who I want to vote for, what I want to believe and how I want to think because I was given the same free will as everyone else.  Hello, remember, that human thing called free will.

That said, I am a moderate conservative who is Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay rights, and Pro-Education. WHO or WHAT I vote for is my own business.  What I believe about the various social issues that affect the world today is between me and God.

I chose to be a Christian in 1995 in the summer between my eighth grade year and high school.  I had been going to church with my parents for a few years before then, but it wasn't until I stepped out from their shadow and started to do my own thing that I really started to see what had been taught to me by my parents and those at church.  It wasn't until then that I experienced God for myself. 

I can recall the moment I felt touched by God and knew that this was what I would believe for the rest of my life.  It was on my very first trip to Mexico.  I went there with the youth group from my church.  My mom practically had to force me to go, because I didn't want to go.  Towards the end of the trip, I was having fun, but was totally out of my element.  The last day, as we were getting ready to leave, a light seemed to touch me and I felt a presence that couldn't be described.  I didn't start speaking in tongues or anything, but I knew that I had felt God's presence in my life.  And looking back on those times, I know now that God had been with me before then.

My walk with God has been a series of comings and goings.... every time I think I can do things on my own, he reminds me in his own way that I still need him.  I have tried to turn from God, but have found that I can't.  There's a connection that I have with him that no other one or no other thing can fill the void.  Some may call that a crutch, but I call it having faith in something larger then myself.

My faith has been shaken many times. For four years I tried to hide my light under a bushel for fear of offending people - I didn't want my non-Christian friends, most of whom have been hurt by Christians, to turn away and not befriend me anymore.   Before that, it was Christians themselves who caused me some faith shaking in what I perceived to be ostracism because "square" me didn't fit into their "round" peg of what a Christian should be.  Before that,. it was my own doubts that I couldn't be "good enough."  And each time, God has whispered in my ear, reminding me that he knew who I was before I was even formed.  I was welcomed back into his presence over and over and over again.  Each time, I felt like I was coming home.

What I believe is simple: I believe that Jesus is the Son of God sent down to reconcile any who choose to come back to God with the Father himself.  I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I believe that the Bible is written by man and inspired by the Holy Spirit.  I also strongly believe that Jesus taught of love; love for EVERYONE no matter what they believe or do and I try to live up to that command, though I know I fail miserably.

So please get to know me before trying to fit me into your belief about what a Christian should be or what they should do.  

"The problem with stereotyping is not so much a racial problem as it is a problem of limited knowledge and perspective." -Vine Deloria Jr