Recently, someone IRL asked me if I was a Christian. I said I was and moved on quickly before they tried to either debate abortion or sell me something.
It did get me to thinking,though. I am a Christian, but with no real need to proclaim this part of my life. I am nominally a Christian by the luck of the draw. I was born into the Christian part of the Western world and was baptized and confirmed by my “go-to-church-on-Christmas-and-Easter” family. As a personal descriptor, being Christian falls well down the list, somewhere around liking to play backgammon.
For some reason, religion in America comes freighted with terribly right-wing political beliefs and uncharitable treatment of women, gays, immigrants etc. So, it was easy for me to write off my religious background entirely. As I get older, that is changing. The sect my family had thrown in with –the Episcopal Church–had become quite socially progressive. I started to read some of the religious left folks online. It made it easier to accept that I am a Christian, have basic religious beliefs and am glad that it is part of my background.
My wife’s family is from Poland and the Catholic Church is a bedrock part of their social and national identity. So when I go to church, I go with the family to our neighborhood’s Catholic church. Luckily for me, it is also very progressive. The congregation is part American and part refugees from the Congo. The Congolese hymns, sung with little musical accompaniment, is stunning. I can relate to this church’s dedication to helping those less fortunate. I don’t know any of the rituals and I do not take communion–but I still appreciate the overall experience.
So, that is where I stand. Anyone up for backgammon?