Our family was discussing a writer who has done paradigm-breaking innovative work.
“Is she a Christian?” my daughter Irene asked.
“Yes. She’s a Christian. With a small C, I’d guess.”
“What’s that?” Irene asked.
“Hmm… Someone who goes to church, more or less respects Jesus and the Bible, but who does not see the existence of God, and the coming of Christ as the central axis on which their life spins.”
Irene: “Are you a Christian with a small c or a big C?”
Me, “Oh, I am hopelessly Christian. Christian with a Big C.”
Zoe adds, “Except you do not go to church.”
We all laugh.
* * *
This is slander, dear readers; I do go to church. But these splendid summer days often find me exhausted by 5.30 p.m. when it’s time to leave to church, and so I, on occasion, worship God by a long solitary walk through the fields around our house, or a nap, or gardening, or even quietly praying in the empty house.
Having grown up Catholic, there is glorious freedom in being able to skip church without guilt. I, however, truly believe in the value of Christian fellowship and in belonging to an excellent church; I frequently come back from services at our church, St. Andrew’s, Oxford, with peace in my heart, and a smile on my lips. However, a key life verse since my twenties has been “In repentance and in rest, you shall be saved. In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”(Is 30:15). So when I am tired, I try not to push, not even spiritually.
We talked about the writer’s brilliant book, Daring Greatly which I loved. It is about understanding and developing the self, and about bravery. Saying it’s about being your best self sounds too pop-culturish, but that’s one way of summarizing it. It is an excellent book, just not a Christian book, particularly: it isn’t one that Jesus would have written. Jesus would have said that we find our best selves in losing ourselves, in serving, in washing feet.
Oh Jesus! You do complicate a girl’s life, don’t you? I would be Christian with a small c if I could, but you have stretched my mind and spirit to a new dimension, and so I have to follow you, slow step by step.