There’s an excellent column in the most recent issue of Relevant Magazine in which Lauren Winner shares why she’s still a Christian. She points out that this is a different from the question of why one is a Christian. Winner shared what has sustained her long after those initial catalyzing moments that moved her towards faith. It’s a great read and I’m totally going to copy her with the implicit understanding that I am not as good a writer thus meaning the read will not be quite as great.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means and some of you are probably going to wonder, “Why doesn’t he just say ‘Jesus’ and be done with it?” Still, here are a few reasons why I am still a Christian today.
I am even more keenly aware of the fact that I am sinful and that I need to be redeemed. Despite my best efforts, I cannot will myself to be the kind of person that God wants me to be.
Seeing the Grand Canyon with my own eyes.
The jittery passion of Arcade Fire’s music.
The reminder of what Jesus did every time I take communion whether it be by intinction at Fourth Pres in Chicago, passing the elements at my home church in Spartanburg, or silently raising the bread and the cup on a beach with a large group of students and adults.
Reading passages of scripture that I’ve read tons of times before and having them spring to life again.
Watching other people—like our summer staff—love God and love others.
Those seminary classes when I hear other students sharing their stories or dig into academic study and remember that I love studying faith in this way.
Sitting in a movie theater and watching a beautiful story unfurl on the screen.
Pieces like Gungor’s Ghosts Upon the Earth that paint what God has done without resorting to cliche or easy answers.
Theologians like N. T. Wright that honestly dig into the gospels to show it to be something far more beautiful and complicated than we’ve been led to believe. I don’t agree with everything they say (of course I don’t agree with everything anyone says) but their work and their passion helps me in unspeakable ways.
The tons of people in my life that have ministered to me: my parents, my pastors, friends older and younger, and siblings.
Seeing EA teach. Seeing the creativity that comes out of my brother’s work. Hearing my sister preach her first sermon. Seeing my Dad lock into a teenager while talking to him. Watching my Mom move through her day treating everyone with grace. Watching my loved ones strive to honor God with their gifts.
Seeing God all over unexpected places like To Kill a Mockingbird.
Those moments when I look at the night sky and get lost in the enormity of it all.
The Sermon on the Mount. The Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Challenge of Matthew 25. Paul’s reminder that there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from God’s love for us in Jesus.
Conversations that EA and I have while driving in our car or as we lie in bed at night, hashing out what we believe and why we believe it. Just my relationship with EA in general.
The scattered people on the internet that don’t feel like they fit in with the church of their youth, still seek to follow Christ instead of leaving it behind, and try to engage those that question their faith with grace and humility.
Our Sunday School class back home. The way that we are able to be real with one another, laugh, and try to talk through our faith.
Those moments of pure, unadulterated joy when I realize how blessed I am.
Running. Talking to God. Listening to music. Cathartically letting go of the anxiety in my world.
The times when I remember that I don’t have all the answers. The times when I learn something from individuals with whom I strongly disagree.
The confession booth scene in Blue Like Jazz.
My son: running around, playing, laughing, talking, and growing up before my eyes. When he laughs, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Realizing that I’m never going to completely “get it.” That faith is something that I’m always going to have fight and scratch and claw to hold onto. That has helped me not take all of this for granted.
Jesus. I just cannot let go of him. Even though I struggle with so many things in life, I cannot let go of that story of our brokenness and God’s love for us demonstrated through Jesus.