Thursday, November 17, 2022

I Might Still Be A Christian

[Image by James Reid from
The Life of Christ In Woodcuts]

I Might Still Be A Christian

About a year ago I started
calling myself “Christian-adjacent”

Some of my friends were like
“I have no idea what that means”

I don’t know what it means either but 
I could say the same for Christianity itself 

Yet somehow I felt this tug to distance myself
from all the creeds & crusty old doctrines

not to mention all the cranky judgers
at church with all their petty agendas 

even if I was still endlessly wrestling 
with the love-talk & the cross

In Anne Lamott’s conversion narrative in
“Traveling Mercies” she talks about her lineage

with parents who were secular hipsters 
with friends who were stoned hippies

California leftists all of them & with such a crowd 
calling yourself a Christian is just plain awkward

She resisted at first the call that Jesus placed on her 
because frankly it wasn’t cool & who would believe her

I think I have resembled Anne Lamott my 
entire adult life but in this regard especially

I still remember when Sunfrog got sober he encountered an illuminated 
Jesus & joined AA & some friends just frankly thought I was joking or

maybe needing medication 
more than revelation 

Earlier this summer I saw that a favorite religious author
Brian McLaren was making the podcast circuit again 

oh -- he must be peddling a new book 
this one is called “Do I Stay Christian?”

& deep inside my body my spirit-brain was
clamoring “why are you asking that now”

I already deconstructed -- don’t you read my blog?
I already left religion -- sort of & a second time

but of course we all know why he was asking it now
because MAGA Trumpists tried to chase us all

out of church if not out of Tennessee or 
the south if not out of America entirely 

but more importantly there is this utterly 
annoying absolutely intoxicating possibly invented 

maybe completely made-up story of Jesus that keeps 
creeping back into my thoughts without my consent

Come on now you might know what I am talking about the 
Holy Spirit has no boundaries or respect for my agnostic side

Prefers not to take “no” for answer when
You already said “yes” a hundred times before

So here we are in my monthly weekly daily midlife 
existential crisis where I admit the godawful truth

that I cannot live with church &
I cannot live without it & 

besides you may think I’m a backsliding heretic
but whoever heard of anyone being unbaptized 

I could not live without God even if I tried 
yes because God is as real as life itself is & 

like Ashley Cleveland sang
“I Need Jesus” & there’s more:

as a retired pastor & I agreed on a phone call that
while organized religion may be a net bad in the world 

it has still been a net good in our lives even if it is
just some approximation of faith that some

Christian scholars once dubbed “therapeutic deism”
I frankly prefer some framework of the divine

in my life rather than not & because the religion 
of my lineage & of my youth feels radically more

authentic than any of the delicious alternatives
that I have explored & frankly perhaps I understand

what some studies say: “Participating in spiritual practices may be 
a protective factor for a range of health & well-being outcomes”

I have to admit not just my genuine interspirituality but
that the Christianity at the core of my being speaks to me

in the voice of Jesus in the voice of scripture in the voice 
of protesters & in the broken bread & juice or wine & even 

in the voice of the radical 
theologians who have come before

& I also have to admit: I love the brimming yumminess of the
Whitmanian multitudes spilling over the edges of our existence 

so that I can include Buddha & Laozi & tree spirits & 
fairies & unicorns & The Force & Tarot Cards & the I-Ching

& sacred Mama Earth & mutual aid & anarchism 
& my beloved Unitarian Universalists even as

I walk this undeniable Jesus path with all its 
consequences of crosses & enemy love 

So like the shock of the first cup of coffee before the
first light of dawn I have to admit it this morning that

I might still be a Christian