The endearing Jesus

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I’ve more or less passed that point in my young life where I feel like I have to be ready to give a defense of my faith. When I was in high school, I went to evangelical apologetics camps that made you believe that everyone was out to get you for being a Christian. When I was in college, I learned this wasn’t true but that people still wanted to know why you identified as a Jesus follower. You spent time brushing up on your coming-to-Jesus story, on theological debates, on political or popular intersections or conflicts with your faith.

Now, in post-university life, I realize that adults tend to be more or less uninterested in other adults’ religious convictions. You go to church, sit in a pew with like-minded people, but if you don’t, no one particularly cares. Everyone minds his or her own business. This is all well and good, I suppose, but you get unused to having to actually talk to anyone about why you are a Christian.

I was reminded about all of this a few weeks ago. I was confronted by someone who seemed somewhat aghast and maybe even upset that I was a Christian. The person was relieved to learn I wasn’t Catholic (the Catholic church being the primary source of this person’s anger toward Christianity) but suspicious and perhaps pitying that I went to church and was an “active Christian.”

Then the question came: “Do you think you’re a Christian just because your parents are?”

I fumbled around for an answer. I said that yes, maybe, I was, but that I also went through my own phase of doubt and rediscovery in college. At 20, I finally felt like I wanted Jesus for myself–not for my parents’ approval or my community’s reassurance. It wasn’t a very coherent answer. The person nodded, perhaps appeased, perhaps even more wary.

But this is what I really wanted to say:

In the past few years, I feel more and more that Jesus has endeared himself to me. He is more real to me now than he ever was and yet I understand him very differently than I did when I first started becoming acquainted with him. Grace can be a palpable thing. I am surprised by grace on a daily basis, because I so often forget how real it is. Yes, I get irked with a lot of modern Christianity, too. We can talk about the veracity of scripture, the atrocities of the church, the hypocritical Christians you know, the apparent misogyny of the Catholic church, but I don’t really want to talk about those things. Let’s talk about Jesus. Because Jesus is what counts.

3 thoughts on “The endearing Jesus

  1. I identify with this post very much.
    We must strive to speak simply and sincerely. The Spirit will fill in the gaps.
    I used to try to convince people… and usually ended up in a debate or with my foot in my mouth.
    Now I try to be inspired and hope that God uses me to inspire others.

  2. So good to read this post, and so timely for me, since I am going through a similar phase of “doubt and rediscovery”. It is hard to trust the church when you see and hear things that are just not right at all. It weakens you. But then you remember it´s all about Jesus and it brings peace again.
    Always a pleasure to read you.

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