, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve never been one to follow the “Christian” brand.

Sure, I’ve read a few of the Left Behind books, seen one or two Kirk Cameron movies and listened to some Michael W. Smith in my time. (I actually still like those Michael W. Smith songs from the early 90’s.)

I never dated on the Christian website, mostly because quite a few of the men want “traditional” women. (Being a female member of the clergy and a feminist, I’m far from traditional.) I stay away from Christian programming because it seems preaching, self-righteous and judgmental.

My primary reason is that I like flawed characters with growing edges. I don’t want to see a character that starts believing in Jesus, and then immediately everything is perfectly resolved. Life doesn’t work that way. My faith is a journey with God. Some days are strong and others are weaker. Just like every other human, I’m flawed – and looking for ways to continue to grow closer to God.

In Christian pop culture, I often see easy resolutions and life in polarities. Good or bad. Clean or unclean. There is no grayscale. There is no flawed Christian who is born again.

And Christian pop culture makes it seem like there’s one Christian theology, one view of salvation, one type of relationship with Jesus. But my beliefs are far from that.

I don’t call God “father” unless I also refer to God as “mother.” I’m not “born again” but I find resurrections in my faith each day. I believe everyone goes to God at death – whether they are Christian, another faith or no faith at all. I believe in a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage.

I don’t follow the typical Christian mold. So why would I follow Christian pop culture that predominantly supports this way of thinking?

You will find me watching shows of flawed clergy (The Vicar of Dibley, Rev., The Book of Daniel). You will find me listening to music with implicit spiritual reference and reflections of the Divine (Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, U2). You will find me viewing movies with challenging theological themes that force each of us to look at Christianity differently (Saved!, Dogma, The Last Temptation of Christ). I am authentically living my faith by looking for the Divine in mainstream, edgy culture rather than crisp clean “Christian” mediums. As I believe God is everywhere, God also abides in the edgiest of situations.

I think that’s where Jesus was too. He could have hung out with the clean people of faith but, instead, hung out with those on the margins – those who society and religion deemed unclean. By recognizing the Jesus who hung out on the margins, I know I am called to shine a light on the Divine in the unlikeliest of places.