Rachel also wrote a follow-up piece to it, "15 Reasons I Returned to Church." It doesn't have nearly as many responses, and while I may yet itemize a 15-point list of my own, this isn't going to be that list. It's tangentially related, though, because once again I'm writing a confession of faith.
No rest for the non-rightist Christian, I guess. Last week it was Tony Jones. This week it's the Anarchist Reverend:
But in our attempt to not be the screaming of the religious right we’ve become a kind of watered down left filled with platitudes and vague warm feelings. That doesn’t cut it for me anymore. And I have a feeling that it doesn’t cut it for a lot of other people either.It was a good question, and although I didn't answer before the 24-hour deadline was up, it got me thinking.
I want to know why you’re in this faith. I want to know why you remain a Christian? Why does it matter?
I posted my response today.
Half a lifetime ago, the minister at my white-collar Presbyterian church preached a sermon, “The Gospel According to You.” I don’t remember the words, just the title and the message: that Christianity existed in the past but it *lives* in the present, in and with and through us. That it’s well and good to read it as a story, but that story isn’t over yet.
As a mainline kid, speaking for others without words or voices: Christianity is *not* a folkway. Jesus is *not* a casually quotable Jewish social critic. Scripture is *not* Emily Post grafted onto an Iron Age anthology.
Christianity is the story of a world. In the world of Christianity Jesus is God-with-us, calling and inviting us to be with Him, and breaking reality when it would stand in our way. Scripture is the setting bible and protocanon of that world, handed across and down so that our retellings and our reworkings and our regrowings and rebuildings can stay high-fidelity and part of the original continuity.
That’s the hard part, really: that world, that story? The one where God has chosen to live among us and every eye is dried? The first time around (in fairness, before the best parts had happened yet), telling that to the poor was as life-changing and numinous as making the blind see and the dead rise. Because there are compelling reasons to think that the world of that story isn’t *ours.*
I’ll say with Eric that I’m still shaky on the canon; that’s probably the least of my worries. I’m probably in no shape to be talking – but that story, that world? If they don’t belong to me, I *need* to belong to them, and I’ve come to terms with that. I need and will and hope to become someone who can live in and with and through that story, and its world in and with and through me.
That need is what makes me Christian.