I’m a Christian. I believe in God and Jesus and the magical salvation/justification through faith or the crucifix or little wafers or whatever. I go to church sometimes. I sing songs. And, when I’m late on a credit card payment or stuck at a really long traffic light, I’ll ask God for forgiveness for whatever sin it was that landed me in this predicament.
That might be blasphemous, but I never said I was perfect. Just Christian.
I’ll even go one step further and say that I sorta like church. The worship band plays guitars and drums and sounds more like a rock band than a stuffy old church choir; more so now that they turned off Mildred’s ancient pipe organ. Mildred keeps on playing. She’s deaf. She doesn’t know the difference.
The pastor wears jeans and tells self-deprecating stories like the one where he got beat up by the girl on his little league baseball team. Or how he wet the bed until he was almost 13 years old and his mom “cured” him of this problem by hanging the dirty sheets out to dry on the line next to their small apartment in The Bronx where everyone could see them, including his friends and the girl he wanted to date (the one who beat him up at baseball practice?).
I don’t know what any of this has to do with Jesus, but it’s a lot of fun.
One thing I hate about being a Christian is reading the Bible. It’s like exercising. It SOUNDS like a good idea and, for a while, you keep up. You even feel good about yourself; good enough to lord it over other people anyway. “I just read Ecclesiastes, bitches. Watch me do some situps!” After a while, though, you get caught up in the boring books like Leviticus – which is just a bunch of lists and rules – or Proverbs – which is exactly the kind of good advice my uncle John shared with me before I went off to college and promptly forgot everything he told me, and you start to wonder about all the amazingly interesting things you could be doing with your time.
Like cleaning the “mold section” of the fridge. Or watching American Idol.
For a while, I’ve floated along, singing the songs, listening to my pastor tell his personal, Keillor-inspired Lake Wobegon stories, sending up prayers to God at traffic lights and when meetings at work run too long, and watching American Idol with mold-encrusted hands. But that kind of happy existence can only last so long before you start to ask important questions. Questions like “Is there more to life than just this?” and “Why are so many Christians I know nothing more than assholes in fancy suits?” “Are the apologetics I was taught as a kid enough to maintain my faith in God?” and “If God is really there, does he actually care about what I’m doing?” and, most importantly, “That green cheese I just ate is making my stomach churn. Should I call the ambulance or engulf everything with healthy doses of Milwaukee’s Best?”
I guess what I’m saying is I want to know if any of this is real. Is God out there or am I just playing games.
Everyone I talk to, including my bedwetting pastor, says to ask God and see what he says. They also say to read the Bible. Shouting at the sky to see if it shouts back. I like that, so that’s what I’m gonna do, starting at the beginning with Genesis and going right on through to the second or third chapter of Genesis, where I’ll likely give up and return to watching reality television.
Will I 1) finally meet God, 2) decide it’s all a pile of dog crap, or 3) decide that I’m lazy/agnostic and float through the rest of my life with the same paltry amount of introspection I’ve had thus far? Who knows? I’ll try to write some here for our collective entertainment.
It should be a good ride.