How I Define Christianity
I wrote this in the year of our Lord 2014.
I like having internet friends. I have one named Krisko (not his real name...? has something to do with vomiting) and he is a militant atheist. This would not be worth noting, as I have had atheist friends before Krisko, except for the fact that most of my atheist friends take their atheism and my Christianity just as, this like, unfortunate side hobby that we both have. We don't speak of it for the sake of getting along.
95% of the time, with my atheist friends, it's like "Oh, I don't believe that." And like I'm okay, cool. I don't believe your thing either. And then we move on.
But my internet friend Krisko pulls no punches. He will say, and has said, to my face, "that's dumb, you shouldn't believe that." He's assertive, and he believes that religion and believing in it is harmful to humanity as a whole. So he argues against it. A lot. I'm more used to the "You believe what you want over there and I'll believe what I want over here and I'll keep my opinion of your stupidity to myself," but he's not into that. It's assertive, but I respect it.
So I'm trying to proceed in a way where I discuss things with him not for the sake of hearing myself speak but for the sake of getting to the truth (harder than it looks, when you're on the internet) where I'm not belligerent or prideful, where we don't hurt each other's feelings, and where I don't lump him in with Richard Dawkins. The reason I do this is not because I feel I need to prove myself or what I believe to him, or because I need to be right. I like being right, but I don't need to be. I do it because we're friends and because I care about him. And if I was him and I felt the way he did about Christianity, I would want a response that was logical and respectful.
So I am trying this. It's like a social experiment. It's FUN! Right, guys? And besides, I actually like Krisko. I like talking to him, he's funny. He likes Animorphs.
The latest blog entry he wrote was about "REAL" Christians. In it, he says that some christians use the argument "Well, Person X is not a real christian, because a REAL christian wouldn't do this thing or that thing." Fair enough. Then at the end of the blog post, he asks, "How do you define Christianity? How should I?"
This requires some reflection.
So I've written up a list of things that I feel Christianity....is. This is what it is. To me. And much like the Pirate's Code, they're more guidelines than actual rules.
-living responsibly - My friend put it this way : "We live so simply from our day to day lives not thinking about how so many people in our cities and neighbourhoods are not as privileged as us....we have become too accustomed to our way of living." How this looks for each individual person, I'm not sure. For me, it looks like trying to live with less. I choose to live in a poorer area of town, I choose to live with less space, I choose to have things that aren't as nice as what other people may have. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS! But seriously, this is why we can't have nice things.
-Not passing judgment on other people who don't self-identify as Christian
-Sharing economic resources with people who need them more than I do
-Nurturing common life among members of an intentional community
-An open door policy to people in my neighborhood, friends, family, and people I don't know, people that smell bad, and etc etc.
-Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18
-Not being overly involved in politics. I'm not saying that it's not Christian to vote, but I am saying I fundamentally disagree with the high precedence of using Christianity to deny civil rights to others.
-Commitment to justice and peace for the marginalized and oppressed, both locally and globally
-Loving the unlovables
"I say to my non-Christian friends and neighbors, if you want to see the gospel of Christ, the gospel that has energized this church for two thousand years, turn off the television. The grinning cartoon characters who claim to speak for Christ don’t speak for him. Find the followers who do what Jesus did. Find the people who risk their lives to carry a beaten stranger to safety. Find the houses opened to unwed mothers and their babies in crisis. Find the men who are man enough to be a father to troubled children of multiple ethnicity and backgrounds."