Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Where I'm Coming From

I'm not sure yet what direction this blog will take, nor who will read it (so far nobody has; it might help if I let a few friends and family know I'm blogging... this week is the end of Christmas break, so I'll be better able to spread the word when I get back to my computer at work, but also likely less available to do the blogging itself!). I do know that I plan on sharing this forum with my Sunday School class as a place to continue discussion of things that come up there, and I certainly hope that some of my less- or non-religious friends, and others, will pop in. Who knows--if I get to rambling about politics, I may even get my own "trolls!" So here's a primer on what I believe.

My world-view is unwaveringly and unashamedly Christian. That bedrock principle informs everything else--I wrote yesterday that I am "a Christian, a husband, a father, a teacher, a coach, and a nerd." Perhaps it is better to say that I am a Christian husband, Christian father, Christian teacher, etc. More on my particular "brand" of Christianity in a moment. I also am conservative (check out the blog list to the right... National Review and Hugh Hewitt are not exactly left-wing). But I utterly reject the twin falsehoods that one cannot be Christian without being a conservative and also that "Christian conservatives" are some kind of mindless, hateful, unenlightened bigots. I'm sure at some later point I'll get to those as topics all to themselves. Had I lived 100+ years ago, I would have been a William Jennings Bryan Democrat. Today I'm what you would call "red state."

As for my faith, that's interesting. I grew up in a nominally Christian home, the child of parents born Southern Baptist but converted to Presbyterianism. We went to church, Mom taught Sunday school, and Dad served as a deacon and an elder. But faith was not central in our home, and even the denominational switch was based slightly on looser social mores (Presbyterians wouldn't have a fit if you danced or drank). My parents complicated my upbringing by sending me to Catholic and Episcopal schools, and as a nerd with interests in the middle ages and the reformation, I became a church history buff. None of this percolated down into a well-defined faith of my own until I met my future wife, whose family had always been devout members of the Church of Christ (btw, Wiki articles are a mixed bag, but this one is GREAT.) It was a far simpler matter for me, the uncommitted ecumenical, to convert to my wife's genuine faith than the other way around. But I balked at my perception that CofC seemed rigid and exclusionary, and that many of the older CofC'ers I met seemed to think that their little platoon were the only "real" Christians, awash in a sea of denominational heretics. It's been 20+ years, and although some of those folks are still around, they are dwindling. Once I figured out that my new church was far more diverse than the caricature I had allowed myself to see, I "bought in." This included buying in to the idea that The Bible, and nowhere else, was the best place to determine how I would worship and obey God (and involved obeying his command to be baptized). This began a love affair with scripture which has continued until now. Like so many, I was spotty in my devotion when I was younger; as I grew older, and especially as I became a father, my faith became more and more central to my life. I try to spend time in God's word every day. The past several years I have done so with a goal toward reading the whole Bible each year; last week I finished for the 6th time and began a 7th. I teach adult Bible classes and serve as a deacon in my congregation.

All that said, guess you can say that I am theologically to the center-left within the larger context of a pretty hard right tradition. I see myself as an orthodox, evangelical Christian and a member of Jesus Christ's universal church who chooses to work and worship within the restoration tradition of the Churches of Christ. I personally hold some views (some of which will get explored here, eventually) which might be considered "progressive" within CofC circles, but to most of you, I'm your uber-conservative fundamentalist friend. Here's hoping that over time, we'll dispel some stereotypes about both.

1 comment:

Tommy B. said...

Sounds to me like you're just one of them no good nerdy, educated, father, teacher, husband, Christian, coach, brother-in-law types...

Which is just the way I like you! Nice blog, you just got yourself a reader.