Friday, November 8, 2013

Testify!

I've been around the Christian subculture for a while now. I think the dynamics within the group are fascinating, though elusive. Still, I don't rightly know what to think of it now. Occasionally, I wonder at things. It allows my conscience to rest easy, knowing I've probed the depths of my faith. Talking about faith and religion is something most of us steer away from. Let's call this a reflection then. It's better that way.

Have you ever heard of a "testimony?" (Don't answer that.) It's something we do as christians to share how we came to believing in God. There comes a certain point, a sudden illumination, an epiphany, and we are there, accepting the death of Jesus as our sole saving grace.

Theres a whole culture that's emerged from the testimony. They bring in a kid who was slinging meth when he was four, or a woman that had sex with everything that moved, each reflecting the extremities of human depravity. Personally I hate it when people ask me for my "testimony." The next words out of my mouth are, "which version?" Is it the one where I was molested by my cousin's gay friend? Is it the one where I skip over the whole of High School to save myself from revisiting the awful depression and anxiety attacks I had to endure because everyone was leaving the faith at the time? Or is it the one where I smile and go, "Well, I knew some friends at school and they were christian, so I jumped on board because I was lonely..."

Ideally we should all have "boring" testimonies. Where are those guys? Why does it always have to be weird?

Why doesn't anyone spend that time focusing on people who still are christian, despite it all? Christianity, to me at least, has become an expression of endurance not, an exercise in decision making. My friend's son is in seventh grade and is thinking about getting baptized. You know what I told him? It wasn't my "testimony!" I wasn't trying to present the Gospel as the next logical decision in a sequence of life events. I told him exactly what I wished someone had told me all those years ago,

"Being a christian will be the hardest (though rewarding) thing you will ever do, including getting married, having kids, dying..."

That's what we miss, the details.

It's not adding a notch to one's belt in celebration of a catechism. It's introducing someone to a life of awkwardness and derision. It's all worth it, don't get me wrong, but it's a battle to the finish.



SW



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