In our immediate family I am considered the one to read a bible passage when required, to stand up in church and say a few words when required, then one to pick a hymn when required … In other words, the one most comfortable with church and God stuff (when required).
And the rest of the time I have my weaknesses and strengths, my eccentricities and rough-edges, my hot-buttons and foibles. In other words, the rest of the time, the church and God stuff count for little.
The label “dad” and/or “husband” is much the same I think. When required it is a fact of life. The rest of the time it either gets in the way or is ignored. And there have been times when I have thought “But I am you father … “ when some “family dynamic” became complicated and my opinion on the matter was found wanting. There have been many times when I have thought “But I am you husband … “ when some “relationship dynamic” seemed intractable and my love was found to be not enough.
And in my journey through “cultural Christianity” … to “absent belief” … to “reinvigorated belief and relationship” …. to relationship … to now becoming “bible blind” …
None of those labels or descriptions matter.
Does that mean I believe or not … does that mean I am of faith or deeds … does that mean I am saved or have recanted … does that mean I am one of us or one of them?
I am drawn again and again to the simplicity and mystery.
I am … what?
I am … about to do what?
I am … about to say what?
I am … in favour of what?
I am … of this belief or that belief.
I am … in this pigeon-hole but not that.
I am … a member of this club but not that.
I am … one of them – or one of us?
And yet “cultural Christianity” has turned this simplicity and mystery into certainty and evidence.
I Am is God.
And God is I Am.
And God is …
And off we go to the bible and the embedded institution and qualification of scriptural correctness. The clear-cut and documented-definition of creeds and required beliefs of our all-are-welcome church.
( I ask again – why should “All Are Welcome” ever need to be said?)
Came without all the baggage we have added – all the interior decoration and styling we prefer. The greatest of these is not enough. We need clarity. We need certainty. We need God to be in a box of our making. A box of convenience.
Or else how would I know if I was a good Christian? How would you know if I was one of us or one of them? How would we know if I was a false teacher or not? How would we both know whether I had given my life to God or not?
We need clarity and certainty in this life of “walking in faith”. Enough clarity and certainty to judge others and ourselves. Enough evidence to make that certainty something to live and die by.
I Am is not enough.
And yet was in the biblical times of the Gospels …
I Am is the role model.
I Am is the attainable.
I Am is the master.
I Am is the dream.
I Am is enough.
Enough to change lives and deaths. Enough to cast out all fear. Enough to lay down my life for others. To give my precious heartbeats in time and space for others. Enough to overcome boundaries of belief and culture. Enough to invite and embrace, to resolve and welcome … enough to be enough.
Is the greatest of these. Is Love without condition. Is Love without need. Is Love without need for being biblically correct. Is enough always.
If I allow.