A Bad Christian’s Creed
March 1, 2010

I’m doing my week-long blog series on my faith community’s site, journeyifc.com. This was at suggestion of the late David Gentiles several months ago. This is my first installment…

I am a terrible Christian. Because if being a good Christian means serving a God that needs me to defend him, primarily on Election Day by voting down liberals, I’d rather be a heathen. Secondly, if being passionate about Christian social justice requires a presupposition that conservatives are narrow-minded bigots, I will be apathetic. And if being a model Christian equates merely to climbing a social ladder within the gilded sphere of those who are anointed, appointed, and correct, I choose to be anathema. Furthermore, if being “a new kind of Christian” only means keeping up with the latest trends, practicing slam poetry, and endlessly debating soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology, well, I’m just going to barf.

I choose to skip out on all those classes. I need to get off campus and into the wild. I want to roam a weedy trail in the backwaters of spiritual civilization. I want to stay in the woods after dark. I want to climb a tree in the middle of a storm and feel how God’s wind bends even the strongest, most firmly rooted trunks of religion. I want to skinny-dip in a stream to feel the Current swirl around my limbs and joints, pulling away the religious soil I’ve accumulated. I want to stand clean and naked in a meadow, raise my arms and yell in primal joy, in thanks for beauty, peace, and acceptance that doesn’t make sense.

I choose to live my spiritual life off the grid, beyond the tired matrix. I will exercise a love that devours sacred cows to make room for sacred possibilities.

And if that’s heresy, so be it. But I am not alone.

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Three Lives, Part 1: David Gentiles
December 31, 2009

David Gentiles: Mentor to many, friend to all.

I’ve been reaching for hugs lately. Tonight hundreds of us commemorated the life of David Gentiles, who for me was a father figure, mentor, pastor, and good friend. David always met everyone, including me, with a warm glow. Open arms, open heart, a smile, sparkling eyes. He opened his arms and accepted everyone. But he not only opened his arms, he wrapped them around you. Warmed you with a sincere hug that made sure you got the point: He loved you. Since he passed on Dec. 18th, I definitely feel a little        space        he left        blank        with his absence. I don’t have him to welcome and encourage me anymore. But I still need someone to do that for me. And tonight I felt him in the tight, sustained hugs I shared with a few friends in my faith community. We are all trying to pick up where he left off, sharing the morsels of love that he apparently felt were divine gifts to him to pay forward.

So I don’t claim to know the characteristics of God, but if the spirit of David Gentiles is any indication, God must love us all, even if we don’t believe in him. Thank you, David, for being a reflection of a divine acceptance. (This post by Donald Miller, which details Don’s eulogy during the service, says more about David’s character.)

David’s part in my life represents the latest phase of my spiritual journey, a time when I have given up playing religious games and started to open up, in raw honesty, about my doubts. Since giving up in what has been for me the game of faith, oddly enough, I feel like I have caught clearer glimpses of what God might be like, or at least glimpses of the type of entity that he/she/it is — Good. I thank David Gentiles for radiating that invisible goodness. I may not be able to scientifically prove it, but I know it’s powerful…and it’s good.

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I was planning to save this write-up about David for the last part of this short, three-part series of posts, but I couldn’t wait, especially after tonight’s beautiful experience. So, oh well, I screwed that up.

Anyway, I will be writing two more posts about people who served as markers in my spiritual journey, and who died recently, fading out with 2009. So stay tuned.