This weekend I was sitting at my Christmas party discussing God with my Jewish friend, M. Both she and my atheist friend, J, have honestly been the two people who have made me feel like I can still be a Christian in light of my adjusted beliefs. This weekend, as M and I were talking about the religious aspects of our respective December holidays I found myself confessing to her how I had felt this year that if I told people some of the things I'd been thinking- that LGBT people are exactly who they should be, that maybe there are more paths to God than we'd suspected- I wouldn't be allowed to be a Christian anymore. That my religion, my beliefs would be taken away from me. "I want to believe in God," I told M and she said that no one could take God from me.
What I told her is the truth. In spite of all the confusion, upheaval, frustration with the church, etc. I want and I do believe in God. I believe that "God is love and He loves everyone." I believe that my highest duty in life is to love God with my heart, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. I believe God is here with me and I believe that the miracles around me are the work of his hands.
I also believe that we are capable of really screwing things up. And that the world is broken and evil. And that there are questions I can't answer. That the hatred of the world can deeply wound people. That there are many people dying and suffering and I can't say why that should happen to them. I don't blame people who reject the idea of God, I understand why they feel that way. But I can't. I don't want to. I want to believe there's something after this life. I want to believe in the Summer Lands and the world CS Lewis describes in The Last Battle where justice is served and it gets bigger and better and more glorious the further you go in. Where love reigns.
So that's where I stand this Christmas season. I quietly sang Christmas hymns all the way home from work last week in thankfulness when the shooting at Virginia Tech didn't turn into another terrible massacre. I lit the candle that illuminates our holy family nativity and smiled. I prayed for peace and comfort for a family that lost their teenage daughter this weekend. I hoped that I could reclaim and hold onto a God and Savior that has meant so much to me.
I basked in the glow of friendships that have blessed and comforted me this year.