I Used to Call Myself a Christian….


Hi … I know its been a while, frankly I am not certain how much longer I will maintain this blog. The truth is  I am not really certain of much of anything anymore.

I have not been in a good place lately and I am really not happy about that, of course I am also at a loss as to how to get back to a good place or even what a good place looks like.

My faith…. or rather the realization that my faith is not faith but just a verbal assent to what I want to believe. The idea that somehow I am in control of conjuring up faith, the fact that true faith is a set of actions based on an internal surrender, and that righteousness can somehow purchase favor with God. In other words, you really can’t fake it till you make it.

Therefore I have decided not to call myself a “Christian” any longer… because I feel like every time I do makes me a liar.

If  I want to be a Christian, I need to be willing to lay down me, myself and I, I would like to say that I would gladly follow Jesus anywhere and do anything in my identification with Him. As spiritual as that sounds I have never walked that way… Underneath it all my desires and my perceived needs have controlled my motivations.

My hope still rests in Jesus, I believe the bible is true and maybe Jesus isn’t done with me yet…. maybe he hasn’t even started.

JT

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About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
This entry was posted in God, introspection and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I Used to Call Myself a Christian….

  1. I have been born again since 1986. in that time I have been in one trial after another. why? because I was more centered on myself then on anyone or anything else.
    Finally last year I hit bottom. all I could turn to was God. in my year of Job I learned the most important lesson on all.
    I Am Nothing.
    God is everything and everyone, but me.
    I let go of me. I let go of personal possessions.
    I let go of selfishness.
    We are told to be selfless and humble.
    Sounds like you got the humble. now it is time for the selfless

    • JT says:

      Thanks Dreamwalker for reading and taking the time to comment. I don’t have anything.
      I have everything. I know that sounds like an oxymoron. Let me explain I have a family a job, people that care for me, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food to eat. I have so much that 3 quarters of the planet is doing worse than me.

      I have everything that matters and yet I have nothing. I have belief but not faith, I have knowledge, but not wisdom, I have words but not actions.

      When I look at the bible I act like the Israelite’s in the wilderness not the disciples who put down their nets and followed Jesus leaving everything else behind.

  2. schroera says:

    I am reminded of the prayer of another father: “Lord I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” God help you as you struggle with faith. I just wrote an article about faith… I don’t know if you will find it helpful, but check it out: http://364daysofthanksgiving.com/faith-hard/
    I would love to hear what you think.

  3. JT says:

    Hi Schoera,
    Thanks for reading and the link. I did read your piece and find that I agree completely. Faith is hard …. but maybe it should be stated differently. Maybe like Jesus says no one comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws them. If the Spirit draws them I would think it wouldn’t be hard to do. If some asked me to pick up one hundred pounds, I could do it… I would strain a bit but I could lift it. If someone asked me to lift a thousand pounds, I could strain all day and never get it off the ground. If God said lift that 1000 lbs on my Command anyone could it… if they had faith and acted on that faith, however if they said Okay God, I believe you but when they attempted to lift on God’s command all they did was strain at it then there belief is intellectual and bears no fruit.

    I am a tree without fruit.

    • No, you’re not.
      Don’t let other people through stumbling blocks along your path. You have intelligence as one of your talents. Remember the parable about the man who didn’t use his talents? Nothing wrong with thinking for yourself. Most people have an inherent sense of right and wrong. It’s only during serious moral dilemmas that we need to dig deep and then find moral authorities greater than ourselves. “When you have done all that you can do to stand. Stand.”

  4. Tom G. says:

    I know of a person, Karl Bushby, who set out on an adventure to walk all the way around the globe, Real Story, Honest! He started at the southern tip Chile and planned to walk all the way to Alaska, cross the Bering Strait in winter while the ocean was mostly frozen ice pack, then cross Russia and continue until he reached his home town in England.
    He didn’t complete his trip, not for lack of ability, but due to some passport and visa entanglements at the Russian border. Yes, he actually walked about 17,000 miles from the Southern tip of Chile all the way North through Alaska and then walked across the ocean ice pack of the Bering Straits and onto Russian soil. But his journey and not his completion is what’s important here.
    What does his journey have to do with your faith journey? You probably already know where I’mm going with this. Karl had his highs and lows. He spent time in jail in South America when authorities found his story suspicious. For a stretch of several miles and days he had to float down river clinging to the underside of a log under cover of darkness to avoid capture by militia factions in a country were the government was in upheaval. He almost killed himself with an accident involving a stove and tent in bad weather. He had more than any human’s share of foot and leg injuries, ailments, etc. He traveled alone for thousands of miles and at other times had traveling companions. And, with rare exception, carried his own load on a two wheeled hand cart for nearly every mile. He crossed valleys, mountains, rivers, and roads. He walked through miles of heat sand and wind, he walked through rain forests with oppressive heat, humidity, and bugs that would carry you away if you stood still too long, and he experienced winter in the extreme and spent 14 days walking across a moving ice pack of frozen ocean.
    Through all that he kept his eye on one thing and one thing only, his goal. Everyone’s faith walk is much the same. At times we can feel distant from people while standing in a crowd, at other times crowded in by all that the world throws at us even though we are sitting in a quiet place alone.
    I suspect we have all, or will all, go through what you are now experiencing. But… life would be incomplete without the experience. Until we experience emptiness we don’t know the true value of being filled to the brim. Until we experience being distant from God or loved ones we don’t fully know or appreciate the ecstasy or intimacy of embrace.
    But through it all if we can just keep our eye on God, we will be the stronger for having been there.
    You made the observation that materially you were better off than 3/4 of the world. I would suggest that your awareness of your faith struggle likewise puts you closer to God than 3/4 of the rest of the world.
    Hang in there!

  5. I Used to Call Myself an Atheist
    That title is appropriate for where I am now. I spend a lot of time online, which means I come across the two extremes of what people can be, including the entire spectrum of thoughts and feelings in between. At times it can be very unpleasant reading the comments people make when they have anonymity.

    I joined an Atheist Community just because I wanted to have interesting conversations with people. I reasoned that unfettered by dogma and absolutist types of rules, they’d be a bit more three dimensional than some believers, who I’m sure you’ve come across where you know exactly what they are going to say before they say it. People are somewhat predictable, but that level of conformity takes away a person’s basic sense of self and personality. I don’t think you should concern yourself with being a person. If God wanted robots, he could easily have made those. It’s your uniqueness that makes you interesting. I’m sure God doesn’t want to be bored for all eternity.

    About the atheist group. Basically the one I joined was just an echo chamber with the people mindlessly repeating the same anti-religious sentiments, as if everyone fit neatly into specific pigeon holes.
    These hate chambers as I’ve come to call them are filled with people who don’t believe in anything. nastier comments are difficult to come by. I don’t want to be associated with them. The question is who do I want to be associated with? Another question one might ask is who would God want to be around? I don’t think it’s al Qaieda types, although they believe that. God made a world filled with an abundance of diversity. Was that a mistake or does he like diversity, and dislike robots? I know my answer to that.

    As I mentioned to our mutual friend, Don, several days ago, if I were a dishonest person all I’d have to do is to say I’m a believer and I’d have some online friends, some brothers. Not everyone on that day who says “Lord, Lord, have we not. . . will enter the kingdom of heaven. Do the right thing, and you can’t go wrong.”

    Jowett was a theologian, a translator and commentator on Classical Greek texts, a well-liked professor, and a good man. When a young student was having struggles with is faith, Jowett would tell him not to worry and just do the best he could. I can’t think kinder and more realistic advice than that.

    • JT says:

      Thank you Don … I know in time my perspective will shift again and that perhaps I will even discover joy, For now perhaps even a season of self loathing can bear something good.
      I will say this, one of the things I have always appreciated about you is your honesty with words!

  6. We live in the space between the Already and Not Yet, yes? =) We have yet to become perfect. Thank God for grace.

    Onward and upward,
    HW

  7. Hi JT. Just thought I’d say hi. Just want to say hello and say that I hope things are good with you.

  8. Wow…I go away for a few months and what happens? I just dropped back in and Donald sent me a word. He was kind of scolding me, actually. He may have a point, but just want to say I believe you are made of the “right stuff”, and this too shall pass. You and I are having a strange year. I have not worked for 9 months now. Much to my amazement, my wife hired me to work on house and we have been living on part-time, Cracker Barrel waitress income. I was ready to find a job but my wife said no, and I liked her offer. This situation has given me like a 9 month sabbatical. I must say it has been very good for me, but nothing I ever thought would be possible. God sure can surprise us with unexpected things. Right now you are questioning a lot of things that may need questioning. I would not want to make light of the spiritual dangers that are possible. It is not wrong for us to question things, as long as our hearts are right. I do think “surrender” is the most underestimated freedom. The most underestimated position of power. People just don’t see how giving up everything to the love of another can be so fulfilling. Surrender is underestimated all the time. It is God’s power house. His launching pad. The way up that looks like the way down, but is actually up. It is freedom. It is true victory, when it is surrender to God. I think Dream Walker was hitting on the same note. I have learned it is the bird with the broken wings that soars. Breaking may hurt a lot, and make us think we are surely beat, but don’t give up, my brother, you may be closer to soaring than you know. I hope that is the case. It’s not our faith that needs to break, it’s just us. My prayers are with you.

  9. Sean Durity says:

    No advice. No platitudes. Just a word of encouragement. Jesus still loves you, right where you are. Don (Cowboy) asked me to remember you in prayer. That I shall do.

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