Thursday, 28 April 2011

Lukewarm?




A much feared word in Christian circles! But what do people really mean when they sternly warn us about the dangers of being a ‘lukewarm’ Christian?

Probably a lot of Christians would argue that I am ‘lukewarm’ when it comes to how I live out my fragile faith. I rarely go to church, seldom read the Bible, and I don’t pray much either. My favorite thing to do with God is to dance about to the occasional worship song (or one I’ve decided will be one, between me and God) and watch the wood pigeons clumsily build their nests for the summer. I don’t talk about my faith that much, as I almost can’t articulate my conception of God and I don’t want people to think I am unquestioning or narrow-minded (and these, unfortunately, are characteristics often associated with Christians). Far from being ashamed of my faith, though, I am desperate to represent God well and am prone to panicking when asked what I believe. To be honest, I think the whole ‘God’ thing is much more abstract in my mind then even I feel comfortable with. But does all that mean I’m a lukewarm Christian? Some of the more conservative Christians out there might say 'yes', but I guess I'd just have to disagree with them on that (amongst other things!).

I’m incredibly passionate about truth, freedom, compassion, mercy, justice, and – above all things – love (apologies for that near Moulin Rouge quote). The story of Christ’s love for us, his sacrifice, touches my heart in such a way that even on the days when I feel like my faith really is as small as the proverbial mustard seed, there is this mysterious invisible string that ties me to Christianity. Or, to be more precise, that ties me to God.

I'll admit to being a lot of things when it comes to my faith: Confused? Yes. Bewildered? Sometimes. Unsure? You bet. But lukewarm? No, definitely not.

Like Alice, I do mindlessly chase a few white rabbits, but I also keep plodding and questioning and trying to find my way out of this Wonderland to get home. There's something authentic and exciting about real questioning and real exploration, and that to me is what having a passionate faith is all about.

I’m far from being a cookie-cutter Christian; I’m a yoga-practicing, veggie eating, science-loving, 80s film watching Christian who doesn’t go to church and swears A LOT. But am I lukewarm? When it comes to the things that I think count, the things that really matter, the things that make me feel like I could actually make the world a better place, I really hope not. I guess I just have to hope that those things are high on God’s list, too…I think they are.

We’re all in a different place - physically, mentally, and spiritually - and I believe that our personal faith is as unique as a fingerprint. I’d love that to be cherished and respected in our faith communities as opposed to feared. After all, if God made us all with unique fingerprints, it’s very likely that our hearts are just as special and distinctive. Is it surprising that we all relate differently to our creator?

I'm reminded here of a Morgan Freeman quote from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Yes, I like trashy 90s films, too! And not entirely ironically...):
‘Allah loves wondrous varieties.’

Well said, Morgie. Well said.

The next post will be back on topic…sort of. It's about a duffle coat.

Thanks for reading the ramblings of a vegan student with too much spare time on her hands – your compassion really does know no bounds! If only I could send you all a Jammie Dodger via the internet…the technology is probably on its way.

Peace and love to you all
xxxx
Azeem: A wise man once said: "There are no perfect men in the world; only perfect intentions."

8 comments:

  1. You're a student?? Whereabouts? I've only ever met one other vegan student, let alone a vegan Christian! It's nice to know I'm not the only one :)

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  2. This is sooo honestly an beautifully written and pretty much articulates exactly how I feel, faith wise, but I so struggle to express it. Thank you. I stumbled on your blog as I was googling a kind of theology of veganism. I have been vegetarian for 17 years but have just had a demascus road experience leading me to veganism. Will be checking in often!

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  3. Like you, I "rarely go to church, seldom read the Bible, and I don’t pray much either." But I'm grateful for my Christian upbringing and quietly try to live according to the example Christ set. If there were a vegan church, I'd probably attend it. But I'll always struggle to understand how any Christians could condone violence towards Creation by consuming animal products.

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  4. I encourage you to join twitter - or, at the very least reserve the @veganchristian username, before someone else does. It has quickly become the best way a great way to find and be found by likeminded people. You'll also become part of the greater conversation going on between vegans and help them to find you by linking back to your excellent posts!

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  5. Thank you so much to you all for your kind comments; it means so much to me to know that people are reading the thoughts I'm sending out into the ether!

    To the first commenter: I'm based in Warwickshire, and fear not - you're definitely not alone!

    Lucy, it's lovely to hear from you, and you're very welcome for the blog post! To be honest I felt quite nervous about posting something so personal, but at the same time I felt it was really important to express my passion for honesty when it comes to talking about our faith. Your experience sounds exciting, I'd love to hear about it!

    To the last commenter (I assume this is the same person, because of the time of the posts): Thank you so much for your excellent suggestion. I have now joined twitter as 'VeganChristian', so hopefully this will allow others to find me more easily! A vegan church would be incredibly cool. I too struggle to understand how people could reconcile cruelty and violence with the values of the christian faith. I hope that this changes. I firmly believe that anyone with faith in a loving, merciful God should be leading the way as far as human and animal rights are concerned - or at least trying to! It is the fact that this issue isn't even on the radar for christians that alarms me the most.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful comments, peace and love to you all.
    xxxx

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  6. Hayles, Just read this post. You have a habit of summing up the things that I believe much better than I could- "we’re all in a different place - physically, mentally, and spiritually - and I believe that our personal faith is as unique as a fingerprint." Absolutely! I think it's so important to have respect (and genuine respect and interest, not just token respect) for the different ways in which we seek out God- whether it's in watching the birds outside, reading the Bible everyday or dancing around the living room!

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  7. Thanks for posting this. It took a lot of courage to let us into your personal thoughts about God. However, I sadly have to disagree with you.

    This post sounds something like this to me:

    "I LOVE my husband! He's my everything and I love being his wife.

    I dont talk to him, and I dont like to hear what He has to say, and I don't even like to make love to him. I don't like to hang out with him or anyone he associates with. I can't even remember the last time I saw him cuz I've been so busy. But...

    I love my husband."

    Hmmm?! Sounds to me like you follow the religion: Christianity and not so much the Person: JESUS.

    I know what i'm saying may seem harsh, but you must know that God has called us to be a light in this world. To shine that light He's given you. We have THE BEST news in the universe and it's just too great to just hide it under a bushel.

    Read Matt 5:15 -- No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.


    Listen to Tim Chaddick from Reality La. You can find him on Itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/reality-la-audio-podcast-bible/id123857719

    He's an amazing speaker and I truly think your thirsty soul will benefit from it.

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  8. I'm afraid I would have to agree with anonymous here... there is indeed a difference between belonging to a religion and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You don't have to be conservative to read the Bible, pray and go to Church.
    Also, by alienating yourself from other Christians and effectively not giving God a chance to talk to you, you are missing out on infinite blessings! In the right Church you can share and rejoice with others whilst experiencing the amazing power of God's Holy Spirit through prophecies, words of encouragement etc. Also the Bible is like God's love letter to you, and prayer is your love letter back. As Anonymous said, you love your husband, but you don't want anything to do with Him or his people... I don't know what's in your heart, so obviously I can't judge what's going on deep down, but I can tell you that as a Christian and a vegan, I have found so much encouragement and blessing from being in a great Church and have experienced first hand the sheer joy of hearing God's voice both through personal revelation and the Bible. Jesus has so much more for you, Hales, don't miss out any longer xx

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