Guest blogger NorEastMom is one Christian mom who doesn't take the Bible literally and is sick of being pigeon-holed.
I am a Christian woman. Now, before you assume to know me, you might be surprised to learn a few things. I do not believe in Creationism ... although something miraculous happened to the human race clearly, otherwise monkeys would have Wii's. I do support gay marriage, and I don't take the Bible literally. My views don't strictly follow my church's views, my views have changed many times over my lifetime, and my views don't need to be yours. So, I'm just wondering if anyone might relate to my growing annoyance that nowadays when people hear you are Christian, they hear "religious extremist."
I should also mention that I was raised Catholic and still practice many of their rituals and traditions. Which might make some of you add, "Well then she's definitely NOT a Christian!" Either way, I am pretty convinced you do not have any interest in my journey of faith, religious beliefs, etc. I happen to feel that people's spirituality should be at least as confidential as their health records. So if you want to know about all my beliefs and how I arrived at them, you'll need to sign a HIPPA contract. That being said, I would like the freedom to state that I am in fact Christian in my beliefs, without someone jumping to the conclusion that I am of the Christian right.
The definition of Christian, according to Wikipedia is "a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament. Its followers, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and the Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. To Christians, Jesus Christ is a teacher, the model of a virtuous life, the revealer of God, as well as an incarnation of God, and most importantly the savior of humanity who suffered, died, and was resurrected to bring about salvation from sin." Nowhere does it say, "And a Christian follows only one particular translation of the New Testament, and a Christian must take all antiquated language of the Bible literally, and they must fuse their political and spiritual beliefs, and also, Christ wants everyone to be as dogmatic as possible with the rules and regulations of this religion ... no flexibility." Uh oh, my beliefs are showing ... back to the point.
In fairness, then, shouldn't anyone who believes these basic tenets be called "Christian," and the fundamentalists come up with another name for themselves, such as maybe the FUN-CHRI's? Kinda cute, right? They could be Orthodox Christians, Neo Christians, Conservative Christians, Bible-Based Christians, or of course, just Fundamentalists. Yes, the term already exists, but no one seems to be using it, and that's the problem. Certainly, I'm aware that no one intentionally took over the term Christian, and popular culture is just as much to blame for their stereotyping of this group as Bush-loving neoconservatives. But in fairness this definition "Christian" does belong to billions of other worshipers out there, be they Catholic, Protestant, or other, so let's do what Jesus would do -- and learn to share.