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I identify as a Christian, but my beliefs and understandings are not what most traditional Christians would call orthodox. And because I am a public figure many people ask me why I still identify as a Christian, so I took a few moments to write down my thoughts. I believe you might even find some of this helpful to your own journey as well, so here's what I believe:
1) At some points in our lives we all naturally deal with self-centeredness, and we sometimes think (at least subconsciously) that the world revolves around us - and we tend to take ourselves way too seriously. But Jesus said to put others first. He said if we want to know love, we must give love to others as we would expect to be loved. He said if we want to find ourselves, we must first lose ourselves... That all resonates with me.
2) At some points in our lives we all naturally feel anger, resentment, or lack of forgiveness for past events. But Jesus said to let go of anger, forgive everyone, love our enemies ... and if someone slaps us on one cheek to turn and give them the other. He said to let go of past hurts, and instead to look forward with peace and joy... That all resonates with me.
3) At some points in our lives we all naturally feel jealousy, envy, and greed. But Jesus said to give of ourselves and our possessions generously, and with cheer. He said our hearts would be with that which we treasure, and that doing for others is more important than our own social status and the size of our storehouses... That all resonates with me.
4) At some points in our lives we all naturally feel unnecessary anxiety, fear, and insecurity. But Jesus reminded us not to worry, or be troubled, or afraid; as those negative emotions won't add a single minute to our lives. But instead to exhibit courage and live with a noble purpose. That all resonates with me.
After subsequent exploration and research on Christianity though, I identified aspects of modern mainstream Christianity which I could not subscribe to or have any degree of certainty about. For instance, I don’t literally believe stories like Adam & Eve, Noah’s Ark, Jonah, Job, or others like them... at least not literally, and in many cases not even figuratively. I think many of these stories limit our spiritual growth and were mostly tribal attempts to harmonize a good God with a challenging (pre-scientific) world.
I do “believe” Jesus existed, and I follow many of his teachings. I believe in the idea of the "Christos" which is that spark of the divinity (or anointing) in all of us, and I believe that Jesus most fully taught us "the Way" to experience and share that anointing. I believe in "God," although I cannot in any way try to define God or ascribe limited human attributes to God (such as a white beard). So I choose to believe that some undefinable God does exist, but I understand if you don't. I “believe” that aforementioned undefinable and uncategorizable God has some good purpose with existence, but in this wild and crazy world I can’t articulate that point much further. I don’t “believe” Jesus was born of a literal virgin, and I'm pretty confident that Jesus didn't believe that either; and if Paul, Peter, or James believed it they would have likely mentioned it somewhere in their writings.
I do “believe” Jesus is the son of God, just like I am the son of God, or you are the son / daughter of God (for whatever that may mean), for in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prayed to “our Father,” which shows that in his opinion we are all sons and daughters of God. Intuitively that also just feels right to me too. I “believe” Jesus died for our sins, in the sense that he understood our sins and was willing to go all the way to death to try to turn us from them. The Bible says there's no greater love than to lay down one's life for another, and in that sense, you might also say that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King died for our sins. I still go to church as it’s one of the only positive places on earth to be in community with other seekers and be reminded to slow down, take time to reflect, and serve others on a regular basis... although I do have to tune out
Oh, and lastly, I believe the word “believe” plays much too large a role in today’s spiritual conversation, because something either is, or it isn’t, and "belief" doesn't make it more real or unreal, although our actions in response to it might. So after this post I don't believe I will use the word believe so much.
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