Today is Easter! It is the time of year when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I thought that given the holiday I would blog about a simple yet complex topic: Jesus and me.
I typically don’t like to talk “religion” with people. I would prefer to write or talk about enjoyable things in life. If you talk about Jesus with people then walls go up and people assume you are trying to get their money, or worse convince them to vote for a Tea party candidate. I don’t want your money or your vote. I don’t even want you to have my theology or see things my way. I don’t want to convince you to come to my church or that I am some kind of awesome Christian man. In truth I am a terrible Christian. If you look to me as an example of evangelical Christianity you will be sorely disappointed. I enjoy beer and philosophy. I love hanging out with people from all backgrounds, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs. Worst of all I enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons and I loved the Harry Potter movies and books. The typical guilt trip for evangelicals is that someone will look at your life and go to hell because you didn’t live it the way the preacher thought you should. I don’t buy that at all. We all have our own journey to go through and decisions to make. At the same time I don’t want to come across as another progressive leaning blogger that is going to talk about his bad experiences with church. I suppose I have been blessed because my wonderful experiences with church outweigh the bad ones.
So with that mini rant out of the way I want to talk about Jesus Christ and me. Why do I believe in him? Who is he to me? Where did I first meet Jesus? I was raised Roman Catholic. We went to church every Sunday. Even when my parents divorced and we were avoided by people at the church we still went to Mass. Eventually my mom started dating a guy that went to a local Assemblies of God church. She invited me to it and got me to go by telling me they had a live band playing in the church. As a music lover this was something I had to see. In Mass there is no band rocking for the Rock. So I went and I enjoyed the music and more importantly for the first time in my life I felt the presence of Jesus. It was a divine love that penetrated my soul and warmed my heart. I went forward and was lead through the sinner’s prayer by a youth leader. That was the easy part of the whole experience. That was when I was 17 years old. This year I will have been a professing Christian for 20 years. My journey has not been the neat one that Charismatic Christianity tries to sell you on. Every day has most certainly not been a Friday. The biggest challenge that hit me was when my wife of six years left me at 33. Shortly after that I lost a well-paying job that I had moved closer to home for. Those experiences destroyed me. They tore down my worldview and my heart was in pieces. For a time I didn’t believe in God anymore. I had worked hard in ministry for 7 years. I had gone to a Christian college. I had saved myself for marriage. I hadn’t “sinned” like other people I knew. So why was this happening?!
I reached the point in my journey where it was Jesus and me. As much as I didn’t want to believe in Him I still felt his arms around me. I still saw his hand on my life. I still felt that divine unexplainable love penetrate my heart. So I decided to just rebuild myself. I have rethought everything. I realized that Jesus made me the way I am and that most importantly he died on the cross so that I could be with Him forever. I don’t have to be perfect or give up X,Y and Z to keep his favor. I know that a lot of my beliefs don’t fit in well with the dogmas of modern Christianity. That is fine with me. I am different. I am my own man and I have my friend and my God Jesus Christ. I still have doubt and I still have days where I think my life is going nowhere. At the end of it though I know that Jesus is there. I don’t know how to explain it.
I don’t have any desire to be a “good” Christian anymore. I don’t even know what that means. I am not out to save the world or thump the Bible at anyone. I am just a broken hearted man with my Jesus. In the end it is just about Jesus and me. The one who endured a hellish execution so that he could redeem me. So that I could have a relationship with almighty God. So that when I was all alone. When my ex told me she wanted a divorce and I was crying so hard that my tears dried up and all I could do was wail. I could look to Him for comfort.
Life is not neat. It doesn’t fit into nice little religious boxes that can easily be explained. I take comfort in knowing that neither did Jesus.