That was the question posed on a website LiveandLaughwithJesus, a site I would normally avoid at all costs! I could imagine Jesus and I having a few beers and an awesome pizza (no anchovies though, Jesus doesn’t care for anchovies). But I received a comment from that blogger and she invited me to check out her blog, so…anyhow I came across that question and decided to give an answer. I surprised myself. I am a Christian, but before you start jumping to conclusions about that, you should read the comment I left.
For me, being a true Christian is an enormous challenge, and that doesn’t really begin to describe it. Jesus makes it quite clear that you must devote yourself fully to being a Christian. It is the first priority, above family, above your country. However, before that devotion is given, you must establish a genuine relationship with Christ, on the most intimate level. So Christ can literally speak to you. He asks a lot of a Christian. You must give all of yourself to whoever is in need, with no hope of anything in return. You must love without conditions, all life. You must leave the judging for God, and do not presume to be God’s spokesman. The requirements are so extreme that I doubt many people are capable of being a true Christian, but the good news is that Jesus understands that. Jesus is more concerned about your making a sincere effort with all of your faulty heart to be a true Christian. That can be tricky, you don’t get to use your imperfection as an excuse. The Christian path is a Radical path. It is not about being comfortable, or smug in your self-righteousness. It is about a genuine self-sacrifice of your false self, which is the hardest thing for a Christian to do. But once you see you are sacrificing something that did not exist to begin with, it makes it better. All of this coming from a man who shudders at the very thought of Christianity! Jesus wants me to cop to the truth, that I will not deny him. I am a Christian in the way he intended. At least, I pray that I am.
I am actually embarrassed that I wrote that. I don’t want to be a Christian. I despise most Christians. But I have to admit that I have a personal relationship with Christ. I have had the feeling that he was present in my life ever since childhood. However this is so far removed from the crap I see all around me concerning Jesus, that I hesitate to write these things. For me Jesus is a very personal matter. It is based upon the feeling that he is there no matter how bad it gets. That, in the final analysis, everything is alright, even when it doesn’t feel alright, or especially when it doesn’t feel alright. He is unconditional love. No judgement. That may be adolescent fantasy, or wishful thinking, or whatever, but it is my experience. I would love to be able to say with confidence that Jesus never existed, and Christianity is horse feathers, but I would be denying my own experience. I wouldn’t be true to myself. As unpopular as it is with many people, I am a Christian. I hate writing that, I really do! I don’t like it, I’m not proud of it, or bragging about it. It pisses me off, and confuses and perplexes me. I am not comfortable with Jesus. I wish I were. A lot of the time I wish he would go away, but I am often glad he’s there. Is it a figment of my imagination? Who knows? All I know is that my experience of Christ is a fact. It’s not something I enjoy writing about. I have nothing in common with the so called Christian braggarts that have monopolized the conversation regarding Christ. I am not by any stretch of the imagination a Rick Santorum supporter. But nevertheless I am a Christian. Who would have thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure.