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
Azeem: A wise man once said: "There are no perfect men in the world; only perfect intentions."