If you are not a Christian then I hope you do not find, and read, this article. I've published it, and you have every right of course, but deep inside I feel like I'm being irresponsible and destroying something of precious value by publishing these words.
I was praying to God recently and I asked a fairly typical question, for a Christian like me, and it was, "Lord, how can I use the gifts you've given me, for your purposes, even if it is way outside of my comfort zone?"
The fact that I am a Christian, and you are not, and that you might read the previous sentence, is precisely the thing that creates a creeping sense of anxiety within me. Even as I re-read it I'm not sure I will have the courage to hit publish.
The Christians who will inevitably read this article probably don't even realize how indicting those words are. Most days, we are too immersed in our own sub-culture to realize how cryptic and off-putting our vocabulary is to your ears.
The Worst Part
My primary concern, as it relates to you and I, is influence. I fear that if you discover how deeply religious I am on the inside, you will squeeze me into a stereotype based on things you've read on Facebook, videos you've watched on YouTube, or people you experienced directly, repeatedly, on Sunday mornings growing up, when you were too young to choose how to spend your own time.
Do you want me to get really specific? Ok, then. I want you to think I'm intelligent. Partly because, well, who doesn't? But mostly because of the whole influence thing. I'm sure that if you knew the breadth and depth of what I believe it would compromise your trust in my ability to reason. You wouldn't feign amusement. You wouldn't even be cordial. You'd be concerned for my mental health, but not be able to help me because this form of delusion is sanctioned by the state.
The Heart of the Matter
If I share how I live my Christian life here, using phrases like the prayer above, with too little context or explanation or backstory, you will inherently trust my judgment less. If you trust me less, I am handicapped in my ability to share with you the single greatest truth that I believe has made my life better than humanly possible. I care about what you think of me because I care about you and your wellbeing.
It's a hell of a burden if I'm being honest.
So, as I sat in prayer the other day, asking that question, it occurred to me that this was probably the answer. God would want me to use the gift of writing to communicate what I believe about him, and why I believe it, in the most uncomfortable place in my world.
I told him not to get his hopes up.