I'm a self-identified Pagan (because I venerate nature and utilize a variety of Pagan and Neo-Pagan religious symbols and metaphors to assist me in my spiritual growth). I am a post-Christian (because I reject the history of the organized church almost in its entirety from my context in a multicultural, post-colonial, postmodernist world), a spiritual feminist (because ecology and gynocentric spirituality are deeply connected), a Goddess-woman (because although "God" is no more a woman than a man, the development of the metaphor has healing properties), a freethinker (because like Lucretia Mott, I accept Truth for Authority and not Authority for Truth).
I write this because it must be said. You have to know that I'm "that kind of person" before you can answer my question. My other blog entries begin to grapple with these labels. I am playing with theologies and thealogies, with linguistics, history, philosophies and theories here. I have written at length about all of these labels and will do so again. But not this time. Let's see what happens when I don't.
1. I am not a Christian because I don't believe in the special divinity of Jesus of Nazareth.
2. I am not a Christian because most people who call themselves Christians would certainly exclude me from the definition given my devotion to and interest in the above mentioned beliefs and affiliations.
3. I reject and do not wish to be associated with the lion's share of orthodox believers in any Abrahamic religion not just because they do not share my view (which is not a problem) but because they pronounce them inferior, dangerous or even evil (regardless of their understanding or lack thereof).
4. I do not wish to be associated with a religious perspective that has used monotheism to justify devastating those with whom it disagrees. I'd rather cast my lot with non-theists, polytheists, pantheists and complex monotheists who are open to more (and even conflicting) varieties of truth.
So why can't I leave it there? Why does THE QUESTION plague me still? Why when I answer, "I am not a Christian" does a little part of me wince?
1. Because the teachings of Jesus remain the center and foundation of my values.
2. Because despite my fascination with and knowledge of other spiritual perspectives, I judge all things as good only if they do not disagree fundamentally with his teachings especially related to love (agape).
3. At the end of the day, my love for him is somehow different than my admiration for any other historical figure. The thought of him still brings me to tears regardless of my belief that he was "just a man." My brain may always deny his divinity but I believe my heart would leap in his presence.
4. I know that many Christian individuals and groups do/did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God or otherwise specially divine. Heterodoxy is not the same as unbelief or disinterest. That orthodox people exclude me does not mean that heterodox people would exclude me. Should I exclude myself?
5. My relationship with his teaching and with his history, his mythology, his people is undeniable, deep, permanent, and emotionally significant. He remains at the center of who I am as a spiritual person. His story lies at the center of what I believe and who I am.
So am I a Christian? God only knows.