These are questions I think about all the time. Turns out, other people think about them, too.
In our world today, people have the ability to choose their religious affiliation-- an option that did not really exist for much of human history.
But now deciding what faith you will or will not have is choice most people deal with at some point in their lives.
In a time when religious fundamentalism poses so many societal threats and when religious “reasoning” is behind so many political arguments, being able to give an account for your beliefs and spiritual practices is a part of being a global citizen.
I have always been a spiritual seeker. I found love and grace and acceptance in God. And I found God in Jesus.
Choosing Jesus has never been hard for me. Sure, I have had to wade through a lot of bad theology and ask a lot of questions and get to the point where I’m ok with the fact that the more I know the less I know…
But-- Why am I a Christian? Because of Jesus. It is that simple.
The harder question for me is and always has been why church?
Why choose to stay in the church? Why work for the church? Why make such a huge part of my life church?
Why choose to continue to be a part of an organization with such a checkered, embarrassing and often downright evil past?
Why stay in a church that has institutionalized itself into seeking its own self-preservation as its bottom line?
Why stay in a church that has and continues to hurt so many people, including me?
Why stay in a church that so often fails to practice the message it preaches, that stumbles all over the place while trying to walk the walk not just talk the talk, that just can’t seem to figure out how to do the one thing it was created to do—follow Jesus?
Why stay in a church that moves so slowly it is constantly in danger of being left behind in the wake of the Spirit is says it follows?
Why stay in a church—that is so freaking human?
Honestly, because I don’t have a choice.
Technically, I guess that’s not true. Of course I have a choice.
But choosing to leave the church would mean choosing to leave part of myself.
The thing is, Christianity is not just about Jesus.
It is also about this crazy, weird, amazing God whose very Being is relational.
Christians believe that God is Trinity—three in one.
We have given the Trinity lots of different names—Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Creator, Redeemer, Giver of Life.
Whatever we call God, however we know God, God cannot be separated from relationship.
We cannot know God outside of relationship.
So, why Church?
Because figuring out what the hell it means to be a Christian cannot be done alone.
Because if I want to follow Jesus, I need to be in relationship with other people who also want to follow Jesus.
Because I cannot opt out of being a human being... and neither can you.
By its very nature, anything we create together is going to have our beautiful, messy fingerprints all over it.
If I am honest, all the things that frustrate me about the church also frustrate me about myself.
My redemption and my forgiveness are wrapped up in the church’s redemption and forgiveness.
Why church? Because I can't escape who I am. We can't escape who we are.