Over the past 7 years or so I have taken a slow, and sometimes painful journey out of the strange realm of Evangelical Christianity. At the age of 15 I encountered Jesus Christ and began to consider myself his disciple. Over time I began to identify as an Evangelical and began to adopt the its worldview. Around the age of 22 I began to retreat. Now, I do not consider myself an Evangelical and go back and forth as to whether I would consider myself a Christian at all. I know many people would be quicker to affirm that I am not a Christian because of some of my beliefs and direction in life. Despite all this, I am grateful for many things that happened to me as a result of my encounter with the Spirit of Jesus through the Word of Jesus found in the New Testament.
The main thing I was thinking about this morning was that before I met Jesus I was a racist. Sometimes openly so. At one point I even flurted with neo-nazism. I grew up in a home with a father who was openly right-wing and latently racist. He was no Klan member, or Neo-Nazi, but the word Nigger was heard from time and time and I imbibed a common right-wing ideology that poor black people were part of the problem. Let me say, that my father no longer is like this at all. He, himself, is now a Christian and is a very gracious man.
But it was through the encounter with Jesus that my racism was dashed. I saw that there was no place for judging my fellow human being based on the color of their skin. I learned that fear of the unknown and of what is different is no good reason to form a judgement or opinion. Through my encounter with Jesus I gained a love and understanding of the poor. I came to realize that the American Dream is not God’s dream. I also discovered something called “the kingdom of God” and “the life of the age to come”. Through Jesus I discovered that my life could have a clear purpose and direction and that it could be channeled to building a new world; ushering in a new age here and now.
Through Jesus I learned the importance of community. I discovered that human beings are created to be in community- to share our lives and resources- with one another. I discovered that the whole world is my family. And there is so much more. Now, I don’t equate the kingdom of God or the life of the age to come with what evangelical christianity does. I am not speaking of a world where everyone goes to church, votes republican, or knows that they are going to heaven when they die. I am talking about a community of people in the earth who are committed to one another and to building a new world in the shell of the old. Just thought I’d share.