Please do not call me a Christian.
Although the teachings of Jesus have shaped me into the person I am today, that statement might seem shocking for many of my friends.
From the writings of the New Testament to learning the noble qualities of my mentors, including my dear mother, I have learned how to love and how to forgive. I have also been moved from the wisdom of Jesus, who had such a close relation with God that he called him his father.
I believe in Jesus as a historical person. He may have been one of the most influential men in history. I believe in God, but my God may not be the same as yours.
I speak of God and pray to God often, but it does not relate to an entity who cares about me personally, forgives me of my sins, or who is preparing an eternal residence for me after I die. My God is the exalting mystery and beauty of the universe itself, which arduously reveals itself to us one morsel at a time.
So it would be hypocritical of me to say I am a Christian. That designation contains far too many implications. If I said I am a Christian, you might assume I believe Jesus is the only son of God, that he was born from a virgin, that he rose from the dead, and he will return to judge us.
I do believe in miracles. The fact that I can see these letters as I type them is a miracle. That I can embrace a warm cup of coffee in my hand as I behold the sun rising in the morning is a miracle. That we can peer at a star on a deep night and realize we are looking back in time is a miracle. Miracles are everywhere and one never has to struggle to find them.
That does not mean I believe Jesus walked on the sea, turned water into wine, or raised Lazarus from the dead. And even if he did these things would that prove he was a man who came to earth as God incarnate? Would it prove that his death unlocked an opportunity for us to be forgiven so that we may have the chance to live in everasting paradise?
I don’t think God works that way.
In fact, for those who are anxiously awaiting a greater paradise than has been bestowed upon us, I ask you to savor the very real moment of hugging someone you love or being kind to another. This moment will never come again.
We sometimes assume that when someone proclaims themselves as Christian, it means they must be good persons. I find it more honorable to be judged for not what we believe, but for how we conduct our lives and how we interact with others.
I have been immensely influenced from the life and ministry of Jesus. However, considering the general beliefs necessary to be considered a person of the Christian faith, I cannot consider myself a member. I do not want to mislead anyone or imply I believe something that I do not.
I do believe in a universal element of love. I believe in the power of forgiveness. Some may say this element is derived from the very essense of our past experiences, how we relate to the world around us, and consciousness itself. You are welcome to call me a follower of Jesus. To be his follower, it doesn’t matter what happened before he was born, how he was born, or what happened after he died. The real miracle of Jesus was not when he walked on the water- it was when he walked on the earth.