By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. - John 13:35 (NIV)
I've been on a spiritual journey lately thinking about what it means to be Christian and if it makes sense for me to still identify that way.
Many of my questions begin with phrases like, "What if I no longer believe in…" or "How often do I need to attend…"
I look in the mirror and see someone who is sex- and body-positive, queer, and in charge of what happens to my body. Those things don't always reconcile with mainstream conversations about Christian women. I wonder if I should still call myself a Christian when I don't feel like I fit in within most Christian spaces.
I've internalized a lot of rules about being Christian that have little to do with me or God, and more to do with the rigid boundaries Christians sometimes try to put on Jesus and those who love him. It's so easy to fall into the trap of believing that being Christian is about being able to cross off items on a checklist rather than having a real relationship with the Divine or real relationships with people.
Thankfully, every time I think it's time to stop calling myself a Christian, Scripture saves the day and reminds me that God's checklist and the checklist of my internalized shame are incompatible.
I don't have to fit into rigid boxes or complete shame-centered checklists to be part of the beloved community.
People will know I am a disciple by my love—of God, myself, and others. People will know I am a disciple because I strive to help create a world where love is the most valued currency.
Loving God—thank you for blessing me with your love and calling me to share it with others. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is a spiritual director in training and the Director of Public Relations and Outreach for the Unitarian Universalist Association.