In retrospect, that seems like such a simple question, chitchatting before a recent Angels game. So I was surprised by my hesitation.
"I dunno know." Long pause. "What do you mean?"
"Do you believe Jesus died for our sins?"
Longer pause. "I don't know. ... I like Jesus."
A conversation ensued with me explaining my Catholic upbringing and how I was an altar boy and how I couldn't fathom how the body of Christ was supposed to be the literal body of Christ when I ate it during Communion. I'm not a cannibal. Am I?
I remember engaging that debate in grade school with a teacher.
Am I a Christian? Shoot. I should've relied on my improv skills with a "yes and" answer. I should've said, "Yes, and I love my neighbor as myself."
Unfortunately, I didn't say that. Despite being an improv wizard, I stumbled and bumbled, and a lengthy conversation ensued. I appreciate my buddy for listening to my issues.
But, jeez, as I get older, I'm feeling more spiritual. I suppose I could say I feel the presence of God. However, my religious background is of such with so much fallen-Catholic baggage that I resist the word "God." I prefer holy spirit because the god I imagine is such a non-human force that holy spirit represents my feelings better than god.
I believe we all are enamored by our personal experience, and we value that more than anything else. How else do we really know anything? However, truth be told, our personal experiences are limited, yet we do have the ability to tap into others' worlds and others' experiences. After all my time on this planet, I've tapped into a lot, and it turns out I'm quite a believer in something god-like.
Do I believe in God? Yes, and I feel God all around us.
Do I believe in Jesus? Yes, and I love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me.
Do I believe in Allah? Yes, and he'll take care of me when things look impossible.
Do I believe in Yahweh? Yes, and I won't have to lean on my own understanding.
Do I believe in Buddha? Yes, and he's quite the prophet with killer mediations.
Is there anything I don't believe in? Yes, and it's negativity, no's, don'ts, if's and but's.
Am I serious? Yes, and I feel it's perfectly fine to have cross-spiritual beliefs.
Can I pick a side? Yes, and I go with enlightenment or the holy spirit or Allah if you prefer or the human spirit if you like that or God if you must or whatever term you want. My god is here, all around us.
Is life a highway? Yes, and I want to drive it all night long.
Am I a Christian? Yes, and I love my neighbor as myself.