I am both and I am neither.
If there’s an extreme to reach, I can’t. If there’s a side to pick, I can’t. If there’s an ultimatum to meet, I can’t. I’ve looked into both; God has met me in both. I just cannot make myself believe that He only lives in one aspect of everything. I believe He is bigger than I have room to understand.
I was raised around conservative Christians. I grew up and found myself relating to liberal spirituality in some ways, too. I still don’t fit comfortably in any camp. The Bible is my firm foundation and I follow Jesus in relationship, so the latter believe I am religious and closed-minded; I talk about spiritual life on a grand scale and I practice tolerance, so the former believe I am loose and heretical. I don’t fit. I don’t think I am any of the things they think I am; I hope I’m not. I hope you don’t think I am, either. I think I’m just a person just trying to figure things out the best I can. We all are, aren’t we?
It scares me sometimes. Because when you realize no human being has it fully figured out, you don’t quite know who you can go to with your questions anymore. I can talk to someone about something and have such a deep connection with them– then we’ll take the conversation a step further. And we’ll reach a place where the connection ends, where we don’t see things the same way anymore. And I’ll feel alone again.
I realize I will ever fit into any of the categories offered to me.
I’m reading 1 Corinthians. Paul is speaking to the church there, and he mentions that the Jews were demanding signs while the Greeks were seeking wisdom. Two groups wanted two different things to answer their questions, to supply what they felt they needed. Paul then says:
“Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
In Jesus, both groups were met. Because of Jesus, they were no longer two groups, because everything each person was seeking was found in Him.
He was the deciding factor of their identity. Of their unity.
When we base our identity on what others say, on groups we can belong to, on categories to sort ourselves into– we are basing our identity on something other than Christ. And when we do that, division enters in as a natural result.
In the same chapter, Paul brings up how the church is experiencing conflict because different people in it claim to follow different apostles. His response is simple:
“Is Christ divided?”
When we follow teachings and ideologies, it’s easy to be divided, because there are so many options to choose from. But when we follow Jesus? There’s only His person. And we can shape ideas to serve us, but we cannot mold a person to fit us. When we follow someone, we serve them. We learn from them. We learn the truth about them because we are with them and we seek to know them.
I’m not choosing an extreme. I’m not picking a side. I’m not selecting a category I might fit into. I can’t.
I’m seeking Jesus. Because He is the answer I’m looking for. Always.
And… I’m loving you. Whatever you might have chosen to identify with. Because the answers you want are in Him, too. It binds us together as family.
And everyone has a place in this family.