Friday, January 27, 2006

155 all I have...

You know, I started out writing a blog about why I'm a Christian despite the fact that I've got issues with God and his church. But I quickly ran into a brick wall. See, that's part of what I'm trying to figure out. In point four of blog 153, I talked about how I'm trying to figure out what I believe and how that belief affects the way I live. I'm not really ready to lay out reasons for why I'm a Christian, and I suppose that should be a scary place to be...but I'm not scared.

See, even if I can't explain it and even if it's never explained to me, I know I'll still believe in God and his son Jesus. I know I'll still be a Christian, even if I'm a poor representative. And it seems odd to me that I can't really articulate why that is. I mean, I've been in church almost all my life so I've got lots of handy, dandy religious phrases in my pocket that I can put on display, but I'm tired of pulling from that deck of cards, and besides, it's not my deck.

What if I were to jettison all of the religious terminology I was raised with and tried to articulate the reasons I choose to live as a Christian. What would I say?

1. It's all I have.
Truth be told, this may be the most honest answer I can give at this point in my life. It's not very compelling and it's not as sexy as those God-delivered-me-from-drug-addiction testimonies. Frankly, it's kind of embarrassing. But it also happens to be true.

I don't know any other way to live, and even though some might say I'm missing out on a world of experiences (sins, to resort to a religious term), I couldn't do it. I can't just stop believing that sex outside of marriage is wrong or that doing the right thing even when no one is watching is still the right thing. The commandments, the rules, the guidelines in the Bible are so woven into who I am that I doubt I could just drop them.

But why not? What would keep me from just going out and getting laid (apart from the fact that I don't have a girlfriend and that I know about as much about seduction as a tree knows about algebra)? Let's say that right now my cell phone rang and on the other end was some other Christian girl I used to know who decided that fornication wasn't a sin anymore and that she wanted to exercise her newfound freedom with me. Why wouldn't I go?

(Just to clue you in, I'm staring at that question, trying to come up with an answer. I've been trying to figure out what to write for about fifteen minutes now, and it's not because I'm trying to think up a reason not to go and sleep with this woman, it's the opposite. I'm trying to figure out why it is that I wouldn't...because I wouldn't...but I'm not sure why.)

You know, I can't explain it, but I just wouldn't go. It would be like me trying to do something just completely out of character and against my instincts - like trying to gnaw one of my fingers off. And I don't want to make a huge deal of this as if I'm all smug and self-righteous. I like to think I know what I'd do in some racy situation, but I don't, but I'd like to think that I'd resist the temptation and walk away. But why would I do that? And again, in my mind, that's just not done. It's wrong and I don't want to do it.

And back to my original point (that Christianity is all I have), living without rules would be a kind of chaos for me. I need the structure and order and stability that the Bible provides, because, for me, a world without borders is wooly, uncharted wilderness. And I don't want to go there.

Call it a crutch, call it a cop out, call it whatever you want. It may be all that I have, but it's also something I need.

There are more reasons I want to write about but it's late and I've got work tomorrow. This is turning out to be a really interesting exercise.


rev-ed said...

Why wouldn't you go? Conscience. Paul explains that the law is "written on our hearts" in Romans 2. It's not your upbringing, it's not your church experience, it's God working in you.

When I start to realize that I don't have answers, I always get back to the Answer Book. Scripture and prayer. Scripture and prayer. Study the Word. Memorize the Word. Find someone trustworthy to answer your questions. A stronger relationship with the Creator makes your faith stronger.

Just some advice based on prior experience(s).

The LoneTomato said...

Wow! I hope you don't mind if I say I'm honored by the fact that you took the time to reply. I'm a regular visitor to Attention Span and I really enjoy your work.

And yes, conscience plays a part, as does the fact that I am a new creation (2 Corrinthians 5:17).

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, why not? I mean, if she's especially hot, you've probably already committed the sin. Not going through with the actual act doesn't let you off the hook. She's invited you, so she's also already committed the sin, too. How does the earthly, carnal act make the heavenly offense worse?

wilsonian said...

Doing the deed definately makes it worse.

Wanting what you don't know is bad.
Wanting what you know is awful.

Good on you.

The LoneTomato said...

To anonymous...

I don't have the scripture to back it up (Romans 5-6 comes to mind but isn't quite what I'm looking for) but I have to believe that the act is worse than the contemplation of it. And I think you're missing the point that Jesus was trying to make when saying, "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).

At the time (and as is still happening today) people were more concerned with the letter of the law than they were with what the law was there for. They figured if they didn't commit the act then they weren't guilty of the sin and so they refrained from the act while turning the thought of it over in their mind like a geek on a Rubik's cube. The point of the law against adultery (among other things) was to respect the sanctity of sex and to avoid the objectification of women.

I don't know how literally we're supposed to take Jesus' statement about adultery in the heart, but I know he didn't mean it as a justification to consummate the thought.

'Tart said...

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I tried to contact you off your profile but I am not joing myspace to do it therefore I was forced to leave a message here. Please remove this immediately as I will make sure Blogger takes the proper steps against you. Absolutely unbelievable.