I’m a Christian and it informs everything I do because I was reared Christian in a missionary Baptist household. We went to church every time the door opened. I was baptized in the Mississippi River, an experience I remember profoundly and am in the 8th draft of a story about. Mine was a good childhood. It was not flawless but then, whose is? I grew up with a clear sense of right and wrong and a feeling of being protected by my extended blood and church families.
Except for this post and an interview of me some years back in the Christian Science Sentinel, I don’t talk about being a Christian. I’ve written this post because I’ve been dismayed over the past several years and recently about the behavior of some people I hold dear and some new friends in the making over statements and attitudes around what they consider being Christian to mean.
So here goes:
I’m a Christian and it doesn’t mean that I need a Christian stylist to do my hair or need to find a Christian credit union or use a Christian bakery.
I’m a Christian and it doesn’t mean I can’t go places where alcohol is served. In the household I grew up in, alcohol was forbidden but it didn’t mean Uncle *** couldn’t come to dinner and have his “taste.” It didn’t make me recoil at other people drinking.
I’m a Christian and it doesn’t mean that I don’t dance or pretend that I don’t by calling my movements praise dancing. (Even though the steps and the music beats aren’t lifted straight from secular music. ) Dancing is dancing. (Liturgical dance is different.)
I’m a Christian and I’ve “peeped” that a lot of other people I’ve met who are not Christian hold and live similar values as mine…sometimes they live them better.
I’m a Christian and it doesn’t mean that I have to be narrow in my thinking or pass judgments about other people (except in these blog posts, of course). I would never say to someone else, “You’re going to hell because…” something I’ve had said to me by an oh-so-Christian childhood
friend and heard other Christians pronounce to others.
I’m a Christian and have learned that “everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there.” (Don’t know where this phrase comes from but I’ve heard it all my life.) This means that my red flag goes up if I hear “have a blessed day” too ardently.
I’m a Christian and I’ve learned that going in the church doesn’t mean you’re of the church.
I’m a Christian and I pray and say “Lord, have mercy” throughout my day. It helps me, I can only suggest that it may help you.