I often find myself yelling to my college age friends, “I don’t understand why high school is made such a big deal in movies and TV, and college is this big giant, fun party! Because where you really have a lot of difficulty is in college. You don’t know where the hell you are going, what you are going to do, and sometimes even who you are!”
This past year people have been taking a note on my big jump from evangelicalism to “liberal” Christianity. Some do not even consider me Christian, of course. Yet, college from the beginning has been one big adventure. I left my anti-secular music, anti-tattoo, “waiting til you’re 18 to date” church to one that was chill with it all. It was non-denominational and prosperity-gospel preaching, but it was huge for me.
The past year, though, I find friend after friend coming in community with me with exasperating concerns about their faith, love life, family, their career path, and (of course) their sexuality. I also have a tumblr with multitudes of different opinions and ideas, and I mostly find myself following Christians, from a few Calvinists to a lot of “progressive” Christians.
Yet, I get mad. I tell my friends when they have a hissy over something small, “Get pissed, (fill in name here)!” I often find myself getting this way with myself and asking why I even am upset.
I have my gay Christian friends getting mad at their straight-ally friends for talking too much for gay people, and I have my evangelical friends raising hell against their college’s president.
I go to a gay club, “Josh, you’ve changed. I can’t believe it.”
I reblog something of Katy Perry, “Josh, you know she is racist, right? She culturally appropriates!”
These entirely different ends of the spectrum are all college-aged, and all of them are really trying to find who the hell they are.
We all get uncomfortable. We are each having our personal breakdown on the phone with another. We all are getting our anti-depressants and maybe a few prayers.
The most driving concept of it all is what we tell ourselves to believe and to tell others.
This is something I keep finding myself questioning with others and where I lie. I was talking to an agnostic vegan a few weeks ago about patriarchy and virginity, and my good friend and I got in a pretty insane debate over when patriarchy even began…. What was the concept driving our opinion? He believed history. I believed science and God.
Then, I find myself with my Christian friends reblogging “how to get along in your day” and “what is the gospel” and “how to deal with (fill in the blank).”
Christians are getting in debates over scripture with other Christians using different hermeneutics and interpretation. Tumblr is this huge blue firestorm with other Christians making fun of other Christians because they are for what this other Christian is saying.
Yet, why do we make any actions at all? What is driving us?
Mine personally is Jesus, but oh boy. Here it goes again.
I have one friend on tumblr, who has quoted, “The gospel is not a requirement! It is something YOU step INTO!” And then another, “YOU are fine in YOU!” Both are very Charismatic, which makes me frightened with my own concerns of personal language and enthusiasm, yet what the hell are we saying?
When I came out gay, I started attending the local episcopal church because that’s where I was told to be accepted, and yet it has become where I only go for church. It was a place for me to be finding a bit of solace maybe for a little bit, yet this is where I feel at home and with God. I feel a peace and the love of the Father from my priest, I find community with other believers in taking the Eucharist, I find acceptance in reciting together the Nicene Creed, I find grace in the blood of the wine we drink, and I find profound truth in the sermon my priest preaches.
Growing up in a non-denominational, Charismatic church, I was taught that the Eucharist and the use of written prayers were ritualistic and had a “religious spirit (or demon)” behind it. But, where does my faith lie? Jesus. Why Jesus?
The repetitive question from people has been, “If you’re gay, why would you be Christian?” or “How can you be Christian if you’re gay?”
Not to be all Judah Smith or youth pastor-y, but Jesus. Jesus is proven to be a man to even atheists a person of history and a man that I find myself in great communion with. “I do not even want to imagine myself without him……..” I often retell myself when I’m raised with questions doubting God because the church seems to lack in so many areas for so many people groups and even nations.
I see on tumblr, “If someone leaves, let them” reblogged by Christians. Yet, that contradicts my own ethics — Jesus.
My non-Christian friends are sometimes in despair when they see something of Pauline writing, but I tell them, “Look at Jesus.”
My parents sometimes talk about what a “true” Christian does in a manner of, “A person needs to accept Christ, pray everyday, read their Word” —- aka. The Bible (the correct term).
It’s odd to me at times that I find myself doing things that are of the same nature that I had in my early youth group days since I reject a lot of their teaching. I would ride on the bus in junior high reading the Bible aloud because I had A.D.D. and lost my focus. Yet, I still do it pretty often for my own spiritual nourishment and also to reflect my own way with God and others.
What I’m saying is….the Gospels are where I read anything of the Bible. I’m confronted and am steadily taking myself to understanding with the way Paul presents information about marriage, queers, women, and slavery, but with Jesus I find peace and ethical reasoning. I find joy and hope in God.
So when I have friends that post videos about other (again) “progressive” Christians saying certain hypocritical statements. I get flustered and annoyed. Yet, I remember sometimes back to what my mom told me when I was getting an attitude in high school, “Read your Bible, Joshua.” I read about Jesus.
His words, His actions, His openness to learn drives my understanding, my openness to learn, my hope, and my love for Him and others. How I flourish.
Do I believe that pre-marital sex is ok? No. Am I sure of that? No. What do I look at —- the love of Jesus.
Do I know if I’m going to be a social worker for a long time? No. Yet, the patience of Jesus.
Do I know how to disable the patriarchy? No. Yet, the ethics of Jesus.
How I flourish.