I laugh sometimes at my self-described agnostic friends. The laughter isn’t always “ha-ha” funny. In fact, it seldom is. It’s tinged with sadness, because I sometimes think I’ve learned more about living a Christ-like life from some of them than I have most of those I’ve run into who attend church on a regular basis.
The sadness isn’t for me, though. It’s for them. They’ve been so discouraged by what they’ve seen and heard that they don’t know the “truths” I see them live every day were once talked about by Jesus a long time ago. Might’ve saved them some time.
Gandhi was reported to have said, “I might have been a Christian except for Christians.” Unfortunately, I think I know what he meant. Though I’ve been a follower of what I interpreted Jesus to say since I was a child, the greatest emotional wounds I’ve received have been at the hands of people who call(ed) themselves Christian, yet could not step outside themselves to evaluate their own utterances and behavior and see how vastly discrepant they were from the teachings of Jesus, even if they believed that the King James Version was channeled by God instead of dictated by a Scot appointed by Queen Elizabeth I to succeed her. (And that despite the fact that she had cut off his mother’s head.)
Obviously, I don’t believe that the King James Version was channeled by God. If I did, if I “took the word” of those 17th Century translators who lived in a feudal system (which dissolved into the classism we know today), then I would have to believe that the masculine-only God of their persuasion played a mighty cruel joke on me. He made me sensitive and smart, expressive in word and song—all wonderful things—and then promptly rendered me mute, unable to use those very gifts to His glory.
Why? Because I am a woman.
Fortunately, I don’t take the word of the 17th Century scribes. Or the fundamentalist denominations. I don’t even take the word of the 1st and 2nd Century guys who quoted what “they” said that “they” said that “they said” Jesus said (whoever “they” were), unless it makes sense to me in the context of my life and the experiences I’ve had two millennia later, in a time they couldn’t even have imagined. (It’s as close to the horse’s mouth as I can get, though, so I have read what they said.)
You see, I don’t have to take their words. And neither do you. I don’t think a man who reportedly said, “Lo, I am with you always,” quit talking in 33 CE. I agree wholeheartedly with Gracie Allen, who once said, “Never put a period where God has placed a comma.”
What God says to me may resonate with you. And it may not. But, if it does, there will be two of us, gathered in Her name.
They don’t know it, but those agnostic friends of mine have been right there with me many a time, and there in the midst of us…
And then again, maybe they’ve known it all along.