It has been three weeks since I went to Chicago to attend the “Why Am I a Christian?”(#WX2016) conference. I still cannot put into words my feelings about the experience. Over the last couple of weeks, I realized that it wasn’t an accident that I got to be with this amazing group of women. Doug and the girls had planned this special Mother’s Day gift for several months. Their timing was impeccable, my soul needed a bit of restoration. The WX2016 experience has affirmed me in many ways about my faith.
WX2016 attracted 1,200 Christian women from across the United States. The women came from various religious affiliations and represented every hue of the ethnic and cultural rainbow. In two days (Friday morning to Saturday afternoon), we journeyed through stories that dealt with the question on why we remain a Christian in the midst of a broken and dysfunctional system? What keeps us engaged and active in our faith instead of walking away after being hurt and disappointed?
I thought I was alone, but I finally believe that I have found my “tribe.” I am an African-American female, who is a practicing fourth generation Roman Catholic. I usually don’t see a lot of “me” at religious conferences. What made a different experience this time was that it wasn’t the color of my skin, gender, martial status, socio-economic level or the common link of being a Christian that bonded me to these women. It was the common bond from our scars that we got from being a part of our churches and got hurt somehow along the way. We found our solace and courage to take the power of the Gospel and find the capacity to live beyond what our denominations claim to be.
I’m not sure if it’s the Pascal Mystery (death and resurrection of Jesus christ) or the Incarnate God (the human and the divine living among us) that I embrace, but I do know that either of these religious thoughts gets clouded by the actions of other “Christians.” So, why do I remain a Christian?
It is because I believe in the Gospel that has endured for over 2,000 years. It is the Gospel that forgives, heals, and restores. It is the Gospel that looks out for the poor and the marginalized. It is the Gospel of social justice. From my experience, the act of evangelization can be more powerful if it’s felt through everyday, ordinary actions. Our walk and talk needs to be aligned and consistent.
This past Monday, I was pleased with the conversation that the women on the View had about Evangelical Christians and their possible vote in a few weeks. It disturbs me to no end that good Christian people could use their privilege to cast a vote that promotes hate and alienation in the community that they live in. So, another question to ask in the future is why don’t we follow the Gospel?
So, my “tribe” is like-minded sisters and brothers that want to find ways to deal with the social injustices that plague our daily lives. We aren’t afraid of getting our hands dirty and our hearts working together in ways that go beyond religious affiliations and political parties. It’s about living out the Gospel, everyday, in ordinary ways. My mind has been spinning with the themes that I mentioned above. So much that I would like to make a commitment to myself during the upcoming liturgical year to explore them a little further.