I have had an interesting life journey.
I was born into the home of a Southern Baptist preacher. I was on the "Cradle Roll" in the nursery. If that sounds like a foreign language to you, it simply means I was probably spending my first Sunday in the church nursery before my umbilical cord had time to fall off.
My parents are truly amazing people. They actually live their lives like the Jesus that they believe in. They are the real deal. I can't tell you how many times we helped people who were likely ignored by others. My mother's faith that God would provide - always - is still beyond comprehension. It's faith. True, hard-core faith. I've watched her pray for a bicycle when her car broke down, only to find an actual car in the driveway. A gift. No, really.
They love everyone. They judge no one. I have watched them fully embrace every other human without trying to fix them. They never charge into the details of a person's life unless explicitly invited. They are love.
I went to a small Southern Baptist college. I married a Southern Baptist minister. Yet, I think everyone can agree I have always been "me." I have always questioned and doubted and pushed to find answers for myself. When I caught myself just listening and regurgitating, I would eventually dig my way out of it. It happened. Plenty.
When we went to visit what would become our new church home in Oklahoma, I stood in front of a sanctuary full of people and said, "I will most definitely disappoint you. I'm human. I don't play piano. I'm a little funky. I may not be able to meet some of the expectations many churches have for their pastors' wives. I may not be what you're hoping for." I will never, for the rest of my life, forget how many people came up afterward and hugged me. Many with tears. Thanking me and saying, "We want someone real. We can relate to that. We want that." That little church had its issues, like they all do (cause they're full of humans!), but I have never been more fully accepted and more fully loved exactly. the. way. I. am.
Much to their chagrin, it was their love and their acceptance that gave my husband and I space to understand exactly how we were supposed to be living out our lives. It was going to look very different from how it had always been and it had nothing to do with the institutionalized church. It was going to be messy and complicated and risky. Many of those sweet people sent us on our way with a tight hug and a look on their faces that said, "We're pretty sure you have lost your ever-lovin' mind, but we sure love you!" We understood their concern, but are still so grateful for their blind encouragement.
And here we sit. In the middle of the country. Running an RV park. Filling our lives with the world. Never happier. Still growing.
The one question I continue to hear in recent years?
"You never blog about your faith anymore. Why is that?"
I understand the question. I used to say a lot of spiritual things. I could connect a verse of scripture or a proverb to virtually every post I write (I'm goooood, y'all). I am a gifted speaker, and back in the day was also a gifted pray-er. I can lead a room full of people into lots of "Mmm Hmmm" and "Amens" and "Yes Lords." I'd love to say that it was all genuine, but some days it was absolutely for my own self satisfaction. I'm not proud of it. I knew that I was "blessing" others, so I justified it. I have a way with words. I enjoyed the feedback. It made me feel that I appeared more spiritual, even when I wasn't feeling terribly spiritual.
So, I detoxed from it and have no intention of going back. For me. For my validity.
Why don't I blog about my faith and/or beliefs anymore?
Actually ... I do. Every single day.
For the first time, I'm being truly authentic. I'm living my life based on many things I still hold true (and many I have walked away from). What do you read here? What do you see? Who am I?
I blog what I believe more than I ever have. I understand that some of you want more. That's how we do things in our society. We want to draw hard lines in the sand religiously and spiritually to form teams. You won't get that from me anymore.
In the last three years I have been called liberal, emergent, dangerous, pagan, luke-warm, lesbian, moderate, agnostic, new age ... the list goes on. It also gets very entertaining. And by "entertaining" I mean: "What the hell?" If I had a dollar for every time someone comments or links to me by first saying, "I don't agree with everything you say, but ..." I'd buy the world a cocktail.
Hmmm. That one always interests me, because it has never, ever been said to my face. But that's another post for another day!
So, I thought I'd take a minute to just set the record straight.
I am no label.
I am Christine.
My gospel is love.
(photo by Exceptional Living - I highly recommend following her on FaceBook!)