Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jackie - So... God... ?

I decided to delve into my spirituality this year -- do some thinking, figure some stuff out.

I don't think I'd go as far as to say that I'm having a spiritual crisis, but i definitely have some things to think and talk and probably pray through. Spirituality comes easily for me, but Christianity is a whole other story. I am a spiritual person and I can't deny there's a God; there has to be something bigger and greater out there than I can't see. And there are those moments when I'm truly and soul-fully open that I can feel God touch my heart and it's the most calm, peaceful, welcoming, loving feeling I've ever experienced. The question of "is there a God?" isn't on the table.

My questions come from a different direction. One of the big ones being: Why do I want to be a Christian when I have to be associated with Christians? Maybe you resonate, maybe you're offended or maybe you've never had to deal with similar experiences. Either way, it's a question I grapple with on a regular basis. It's not that there aren't good Christians or that Christians don't do good things, but from my experience I'm more often embarrassed by the things Christians do and say. And that's become a serious problem for me.

I also sit in a unique position because not only do I work for a Christian organization, but as a music student, I'm around a lot of people who have negative opinions of Christians. At work I am often very frustrated by the things that Christians identify themselves with, the language the use, the arguments they find important and the ways they chose to treat others around them. Then at school my heart sinks as I hear from my classmates how they view the church and its followers, and the reasons that have caused them to come to these beliefs.

I try do to as Christ said -- love people. I accept without agenda... or at least the best my human-self can do, but it can be trying and exhausting and overwhelming. There are so many to love, so many who need to know they're loved by someone, so many who just want to know they're significant. And so many who are overlooked -- especially about all these music and artist types I find myself surrounded by who might not fit into the normal picture of what a good Christian looks like... is there really an ideal of what a Christian should look like? And I do care about the spirituality of those around me and want them to have inner peace, a sense of significance and hope, but it's so hard to offer Christianity to them when I have found Christianity to be so closed-minded.

Which leads me to an even bigger picture question -- What does it mean to be a Christian?

Actually, I have a handful of questions. Alyssa and I got together recently to work through my list of questions and refine them so that I have some direction, but I felt like they all kept coming back to the same thing. What does it mean to be a Christian? I'm very curious to figure out what it will mean for me on the other end of this whole process.

I know there are lots of really smart people who have written lots of really intelligent and compelling books that address some of my questions. And usually a good book solves problems for me, but the questions I have now go beyond reading something in a book. I know a lot about Christianity and even have "answers" to my questions. But at this point, my questions go beyond books and rote answers. I want to hear from the hearts and minds of people I know and respect, and hopefully understand more deeply why they believe Christianity is valuable and worth being a part of.

I know this quest will be difficult and all too personal which is why I'm taking a journalistic approach in hopes of putting aside my own opinions and biases. As I get together with each of these amazing people to share my list of questions, I will take notes and report back to you guys on what I'm discovering. And hopefully along the way, I'll come up with some of my own answers. We'll see.

I know everyone has questions with spirituality and I'd love to hear about questions you might have or spiritual journey's you have been on... feel free to comment or email at

Thanks for traveling this road along side me.

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