For the record, both D and I are Christians. He's a conservative inerrant Bible believing evangelical while I belong to a progressive denomination and observe the customs and traditions of my ancestors. I think we "met" online because he followed me when I covered the local NHL team for a national website.** To have two rather largish things in common: religion and a love of hockey, we're only barely on the same page on most of the time.***
My friends on Facebook, many of whom are not familiar with the culture around the Predators' fanbase are only seeing this guy in a hand full of responses to a status on my timeline and to them, he looks like a mouthy guy with maybe too much to say. What they don't realize is that I'm more often than not a blue dot in the sea of red people. If some of them can find a place for a blue dot in their lives, I can exercise my (probably overactive) sense of humor about being a blue dot. So yeah, I thought the whole thing was weird but funny.
When someone pushes buttons and it's D or someone like him, I know it's in fun with the small hope they'll nudge my thinking. There is something more to it. There's always something more, isn't there? What they may be asking without even meaning to ask is: "How much do you love me?" When that happens we have to ask ourselves how much further we'll push ourselves out of our comfort zones to allow people entry into our lives and our hearts.
It's easy when it's someone in your life like D. You know his heart is in the right place. Difficult Christian? Nah. Just different.
Yeah, but I'm not one of THOSE Christians.
It has actually been easier to cop to the aspects of my spiritual life that come from other influences. Saying or writing that I'm a Christian always makes me feel shaky and fraudulent. There are two, no, three reasons for this. I'll touch on the first two because I would feel dishonest if I didn't disclose them.
- My roots are primarily in other religions and I still identify with those groups culturally.
- I am what some people would call "unchurched." Churches feel like tribes and I haven't found mine yet. I usually give a church one to three months. If I still feel like I'm just visiting, I know it's not going to get any better. In truth, I'm not trying too hard to find my place any more. I have a feeling it's not in Nashville and it may not be on this particular path. (See number one, rinse and repeat.)
- Other Christians.Yes, those DIFFICULT Christians.
Me? Oh, I'm nothing like them. I do my forebears' kitchen witchery and divine and plant by the signs and observe the lunar and Gregorian calendar and I just happen to be Christian. Just happen to be.
It's easy to be a Christian when I'm with a group who accepts and understands that we are a part of the picture that is actually just one section of an even bigger portrait of the human family. We're one third of a triad of religions with a common origin who should get along much better than we actually do. It's easy when on-the-ground Christianity is all about Liberation Theology and social justice and the Be-Good-For-Goodness'-Sake-ness that is the ministry of Pope Francis. It's easy when it's just me and the Bible and my company in faith is made up of people I've read about since I was eight and feel like I know even more than I know Gem and Scout and Atticus and Wilbur and Templeton and Charlotte.
I don't have to answer the question of love when it's like that. It's not even a question.
I don't want to ask.
But I do. It's safe to say that all of us ask that question once in a while. Some of us may be asking every day without realizing it. How much do you love awkward, possibly aspie me?**** I really don't want to know and in spite of myself I ask. Asking someone to love you, or just realizing that you're asking someone to love you is harder than remembering to love someone else. Not that the latter is always instinctive. Maybe if we remember we are all difficult Christians to someone else, the love going both ways gets easier.
*Probably not a word. Also not going to look it up. Neener.
**Okay, international. It's based in Montreal and sometimes I am not sure if I used to forget I wasn't in Canada or thought the U.S. was a Canadian province (Southern Territories, y'all!) or Canada was some kind of socialist annex of the U.S.
***Conservative, Liberal, Predators, Wings 'n Caps, Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to-cakes... This may or may not be the last annoying footnote.
****Okay, it wasn't the last one. As of right now, I don't know for sure, but I have my suspicions. Or maybe I'm just an asshole. That's not in the DSM...yet.
copyright 2015 Jas Faulkner/Zen Dixie