I’d always thought of Jesus Freaks as fundamentalists. People who hand out tracts as tips (please, fellow Christians; that’s just tacky and insulting) or will start up conversations in the line at Subway with, “Have you heard the good news?” (as happened to me just last week). Jesus Freaks cover their cars in stickers about abortion being murder and have tattoos about how homosexuality is a sin (oh, the delicious irony). That’s what I’d always thought.
But since I returned home from Baltimore–with all its tenuating circumstances and experiences–I have realized how deeply religious I have become. I still reject the idea that I must proselytize to others (at least with words), or that Jesus Christ is the only way to God or salvation. Most of my friends are not believers, and I love them. I don’t think they are deficient. I don’t think that their souls are damned. For some, that rules me out as a Christian. Meh. I have stopped caring what those of narrow minds believe. For evidence, check out my tattoos and dreadlocks. Aaron is gonna do Aaron.
But if you really want to know me, you need to know that everything I do, think, and say is informed by my desire to follow Jesus Christ. I feel it like a burning in my stomach. I want community, works of justice, acts of love, and relationships that are committed to being nurtured, even in the most difficult of circumstances. These are not ideas that I alighted upon by myself. They stem from the gospel, and the gospel alone. I am not saying that one needs Jesus to arrive upon these commitments. Not at all. I am sure there are many people who could read everything in the list and respond, “Me, too.” What I am saying, though, is that I cannot arrive upon those ideas outside of Jesus. I mean, maybe I could grasp the concepts. But I only feel drawn–even compelled–to live them out because of my faith.
I feel that I’ve reached a new place in my Christian walk. I understand that the way I worship most significantly is through pastoring work, through visioning and executing plans to make life more loving, more sustainable, more equitable, more meaningful. I understand sin to be that which keeps us out of relationship, keeps us from being grounded in compassion and patience. And for me, following Jesus is the remedy to that sin. Grace is God putting us in situations in which we are able to reveal our true selves, beings created in the image of God. Theological praxis is prayer given flesh. Putting hands and feet and voices and minds and hearts and souls toward good.
Holy shit, I’m a Jesus Freak.