This post is a bit of a confession on my part.
As a bit of background, I started a new job a few weeks ago, and it has slowly come out that I am a pastor. As one might expect, this has lead to a lot of interesting conversations, and more than a few surprises. Chief among these is that, as a Canadian living in the South, I grew up hearing about the Bible belt and how there is a church on every corner and pretty much everybody down here goes to church. While I have found there to be a great deal of truth to these stereotypes (there’s not a church on every corner, but there are a lot of them, and a lot of folks do go to church, although not always for healthy reasons), the biggest surprise has been to discover through my job that not everyone has a healthy view of who Jesus is and why the Bible might be considered a trustworthy source of information on our situations in life. Even those who identify as “Christian” have views that make me stop and think. There are a lot of very different ideas and perceptions of Christianity at play in the world today, and some of them will show up where you least expect to find them.
Now let me stress that I am not trying to encourage or force anyone into a box when it comes to who Jesus is and how He cares for you. I have my beliefs, and I’m pretty sure you have yours, and I want to be respectful of that. That being said, as a writer I cannot in good conscience talk about how Jesus is the hope and love that we need when we’re longing to be comforted in our darkest hours, and how He is the only one who ever really satisfies, without exploring how we can know that to be true. I can tell you that from my own experience, but if this is really true then there should be more to it than that.
As one of my job trainers said the other day, “I love to ask how come? How come Jesus? How come Jesus and not Mohammed? How come the Bible and not the Koran?” It’s easy to take those questions further, too. Why not New Age beliefs? Why not Buddhism? Or best yet, why not just whatever works for you?
Those are the kinds of questions I want to look at here in addition to the questions I’ve already been working through over the last month. I firmly believe that Jesus is the hope that we long for, and that He is the only one who can love as fully, in the midst of all our hurt. I will continue to explore those topics, but I also want to build an honest foundation for those beliefs. Like I said, if all of this is really true, and I believe it is, then there is so much more to explore.