I'm typing on my laptop, so there's going to be typos. I'm old school and need to type on a raised keyboard to have it turn out decently, that and the fact that I'm a terrible typist. Anyhow! The point.
I'm puttering around on Twitter and I see someone retweet a message from Wondercafe. For those who don't know what retweeting is, it's like forwarding an email. Anyhow, Wondercafe rings a bell with me, and then it hits me, it's the online campaign for my church, the United Church. So I follow them, then I think for a minute "Oh wait! Then folks will think I am Christian or something." Then "Ummm Joy, you ARE Christian." Then "Yabbut, I don't want people to think I'm one!" And then I asked myself why.
Really, I can list a million reasons...well, a dozen, but all good reasons. I don't want people to think I'm some raging homophobic asshole, I don't want people to think I'm someone who follows the Bible blindly, someone who never questions faith, leaders, congregations. I don't want people to think I'm some stuffy thing who sits through boring sermons because of some matter of duty, rather than them actually being meaningful in my life. The brand that is Christianity, really, isn't a pretty one. We have a bunch of wingnuts on one end protesting funerals, screaming about gays and lesbians, preventing safe sex and forcing their moral code on everyone. On the other end, we have a complete snorefest of boring people, boring church, boring songs and nothing at all interesting. The middle ground isn't marketed very well.
Well, I'm Christian and I'm interesting! I am dammit! You wouldn't be reading this blog otherwise. I'm also progressive. I believe wholly in issues such as same sex marriage..in churches! Condoms are a necessity, not abstinence, a woman's body is HERS. I'm pretty sure by all the dinosaur gear we have, I support the theory of evolution and I have an utter disdain for the words "Because I said so!" (unless, I'm the one saying it) so blindly following is not in my agenda.
What I do believe though is that a man walked the Earth many years ago. He embodied true love, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, social justice, all the good stuff. I believe that we all are capable of those qualities and that every so often God sends us a reminder in a big way of those qualities. It could be Jesus, it could be Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, the local volunteer who gives selflessly. Jesus was the man of the time and so we, or maybe just me, use him as my brand. (looking for lightningbolts in case I'm horribly wrong and being blasphemous big time). Nope, still here. I don't know if I'm right, I hope I am though.
My brand of Christianity is putting your money where your mouth is. It's one thing to bemoan the plight of others, it's another to volunteer or donate, praying for them is nice, but tangible help is a big thing with me. My brand aspires to avoid judgment, it's something we all do, (seeing how I called a bunch of people stuffy and wingnuts in this post) but I at least try to step back for a minute and figure out what the heck is going on before judging. My brand doesn't like to focus on negative things like who is going to hell for loving someone, or believing in something else. I have friends of many paths and don't intend to lose them by being an ass.
Maybe I'm picking and choosing all the good parts of the Bible and avoiding the bad parts. Is that necessarily a bad thing though? I mean, is it wrong to think of God and Jesus loving me unconditionally like a parent and no matter how much I mess up, that love is still going to be there. Is it wrong for me to try and aspire to that in my life and with other people? I don't think so, I hope not. If it is and I reach the pearly gates and I'm in the wrong, there is going to be a hell of an argument.
I know plenty of Christians like me. The problem is, we're really drowned out by the noisy lot, but we're there. We need to work on being noisy, social media and getting our brand out there. Our marketing plan is usually leading by example, which don't get me wrong, rocks, but we need a two pronged approach that lets folks know that Christians aren't all cut from the same cloth and that my brand of Christianity is out there, and we're pretty freaking awesome. And no, I'm not trying to recruit you, though if you are inclined, I have a friend who needs more volunteers on her fun fair committee.
So I'm going to try and not be so frightened to market my faith a little bit. Not in the form of proselytizing, or begging you to come to church, but simply by not hiding or making excuses. To celebrate my faith as loudly as I do anything else (God help us). I will try to volunteer or donate what I can, try hard to be a good person, raise good little people and work on that whole judgeypants thing. I acknowledge that I am imperfect and in my brand of Christianity, that's A-okay. I'm a cool person, and I am Christian and I endorse this message. :)