My Approach to Being A Christian

By: Brian Robertson

At the base of my own beliefs as a Christian, I'm not concerned with knowing the religion about Jesus, but rather the spirituality of Jesus. After all, I believe that is exactly what God calls us to do and I believe accepting that invitation is what makes a person a Christian.

A rock thrown into a pond causes a ripple that moves out from the central point of impact. In a way, then, the ripples as they move farther out can be compared to "second hand knowledge." Religions of any types, with their dogma and creeds and checklists of belief, live on the ripples and not at the center.

Jesus' spirituality and life was the rock, in the above metaphor, and if we are to know God we must be content to not float along at the point of second-hand knowledge, but rather live at the moment of impact. We are asked do what Jesus showed in that impact -- active concern for the needy, the hungry and those without a home or in jail and, further, to react from the heart. Jesus does not say, "I'm starting up a Church to get to heaven you had better join up and sign off on a few concrete beliefs. Then, start worshipping me and go no further. Oh, and as extra incentive, everybody else is going to hell, so climb on board now."

Jesus attributes no such limitations to God. He said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." It is not, then, a question of getting a few facts right and being in with the right Church or even named religion. It is about the heart, not about writing a check to this or that group or following this or that rule and assuming one has become "saved.". What Jesus is speaking of, instead, is about having a heart that is, in some mysterious way, the heart of God. It is an invitation to the heart to live from the center of love and of truth as I am able to see and understand it, no matter where I live or what my culture or tradition.

For me, the very instance of impact -- Jesus in history where we can see the finite and the Infinite meeting -- makes this possible. Whether the person has even heard the name of Jesus, whether or not they believe in this or that creed or even believe at all -- it is their purity of heart that enables them to see God.

The Universe is not a constant battle of "Us vs. Them" in terms of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, who God likes and doesn't like, and so on. Human limitations do not stack up well against God's complete lack of limitation and unbounded love, no matter how blindly we try to impose those qualities of ours upon the Mystery.

I admit, t his little essay quickly became far more complicated than I meant it to be! I can only go back to the first -- that in my life I am not looking at the religion about Jesus but, rather, at the spirituality of Jesus. This central point of impact is what I search for when I look at the Bible's often layered approach to Jesus and his words. More importantly, I also look for and find it in the kindness and love from hearts I see in people every day, in God's presence in the books and scriptures and wisdom I read from outside my own tradition. One day, God willing, I hope to see it in my own life and heart, moment to moment.

That hope, coupled with the example of Jesus, is my approach to Christianity.