Thirty Things I Like About Christianity
We are halfway through Advent, and I’ll confess to occasionally feeling just a little bit restless and uninspired. The same texts from Isaiah and the gospels that we rehearse every year. The same rituals and routines, the same hopes and promises voiced, the same baby in the same manger with the same cast of characters. The same hymns and readings. Over and over again. Consequently, I was delighted to come across Ben Myers’ post today called “Forty Things I Like About Christianity” over at Faith and Theology. It was a lovely reminder of the beauty of this faith, this God, this story that we are a part of.
And it inspired me to scrawl out my own list. This list is by no means exhaustive. These are just some of the things that came to mind this morning. Feel free to add to the list!
(I’m not as smart or sophisticated as Ben Myers so I stopped at thirty :).)
- Being God’s adopted kid.
- The introduction of upside-down-ness to a right-side-up world.
- Universities, hospitals, and orphanages.
- Sunday School Christmas concerts that unexpectedly, impossibly, miraculously, end up coming off perfectly.
- “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”
- The Bible—just messy and human and baffling and breathtaking and transformative enough to be divinely inspired.
- The Lord’s Supper. Where a tiny piece of bread and a swallow of wine speak louder and more truly than hours of eloquent sermons.
- People who fall asleep during church.
- The Lord’s Prayer.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky.
- A vision of the peaceable kingdom and the imperative to embody it now.
- Forgiveness. When I least deserve it.
- Validation for the human intuition that the world is a screwed up place and should be much better than it is.
- Genealogies (see #6 above; also, who doesn’t like trying to pronounce some of those names—or at least watching others struggle through them!).
- The same hymns and readings, the same hopes and fears, the same cast of characters. Over and over and over again.
- The Christian Calendar.
- Organizations like L’Arche.
- The Incarnation. God with skin.
- Passing the peace of Christ.
- Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:1-4, and 1 John 4:16-21.
- The hope of newness; the possibility of transformation.
- Visiting churches that look and sound nothing like the ones I am familiar with, and rejoicing that I am part of a very, very large and diverse family of faith.
- The privileging of love over knowledge.
- Church potlucks.
- Hymns that allow me to sing cool things like, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer” (who doesn’t love a good Ebenezer raising?) and “My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought” (I always snicker during the too-long pause before we get to the part where my blissful glorious sins are nailed to the cross).
- The Trinity. To keep us humble.
- Grace. When I least expect it.
- The conviction—sometimes strong and true, sometimes hanging on by a thread—that “all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
- Jesus. The Sunday School answer to every question. The man who baffles, provokes, irritates, comforts, teaches, inspires, dies, lives, forgives, saves. The God who empties himself that his people might be filled.
The image above is taken from last year’s Salt of the Earth Christian Seasons Calendar produced by University Hill Congregation in Vancouver, BC. I’ve been ordering these calendars for four years now. They are a truly marvelous (and beautiful!) resource for those interested in ordering time according to the story of Jesus. You can order this year’s calendar here.