I’ve been becoming a Christian for ten years… or something like that.
If a date matters, I’m not sure of it.
If context matters, I’m no longer sure on the details.
If trusting that I was mature enough to actually understand the commitment I was making at the time is important, I absolutely do not think I was.
But I did. When I was 12. Somewhere between January and March in 2002. It was in that time I asked the God I believed in to work with me in figuring life out. I decided in that time Christianity was something I wanted to journey in.
I say ‘the God I believed in’ and ‘Christianity’ in the above sentences because Christianity involves very particular beliefs about God’s activity through Jesus in his interaction with and fulfilment of the story of Israel via the kingdom of God and how those who follow Jesus in discipleship interact with the new creation signalled by Jesus’ bringing of that kingdom in his life, crucifixion and resurrection. When I was 12 I believed stuff about God and Jesus but very little involved anything that previous sentence included (which of course isn’t surprising).
But I signed up to a journey. A journey on which I would become a Christian and I have been, I hope.
Being a Christian has been intertwined with every detail of my life up to this point. Confidence, hope, doubt, grief, happiness, staticness – all of it as someone who is coming to believe and live something like what a Christian believes, a person who lives in faith that the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead is living with me, somehow, promising the same thing. Though I probably wouldn’t have said anything like that until this year that’s how I’ve found it, becoming a Christian.
I’ve been learning to speak, learning to doubt, learning to think, learning to believe, because being a Christian is not something that begins complete.
Becoming a Christian has meant becoming a disciple. Becoming a disciple has meant becoming a person who follows Jesus. Following Jesus has meant living my life as he would live it if he were me. Learning to serve, learning to die, learning to be content.
That is something I started to think about 2 years ago. Maybe I became a bit more of a Christian then because that was important. It was important because it was transformative, it made a bit more sense of Jesus, it made a bit more sense of what it meant to journey with Christianity.
The same could be said for resurrection (because this life, in this body, matters) or the kingdom of God (because people living together in community matters) or new creation (because novelty matters) or grace (because people need help and rescue and God gives us it in wresting life from death). My belief in God and understanding of Christianity had none of those words ten years ago and has acquired them over the course of those years throughout which I’ve been becoming a Christian.
I want to learn more about those words, I want to learn more about what they meant to and how they originate from Jesus and I want to let them mean something more to me as I live as a disciple. I want to learn new words and let them mean something. I want to continue doing that, as a disciple, as a citizen of God’s kingdom, with his people – because it’s not a journey without friends learning to become Christians together.
In short, after ten years, I want to become a Christian.