The Two Facets of Christianity

Driving across Iowa is boring. However, it’s something that B and I find ourselves doing a few times a year, and two weeks ago was yet another one of those occasions. Before we got married, we used long drives as an opportunity to work through our 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married book. As was its intended purpose, the questions spurred many deep and thoughtful conversations. Now, having worked through the book and passed it on to my best friend and her fiancé, we are continuing the trend. Somehow, being confined together in a small space for 3+ hours with nothing to do but drive (and occasionally change the CD or playlist), we become reflective.

As I’ve shared before, B and I come from very different religious backgrounds and viewpoints. And, although we attend church together every week, our beliefs still differ greatly. But instead of tip-toeing around the issue, B and I have learned to listen to one another as we explain our views, where we’re coming from, and where we stand currently.

One thing that B shared with me on this past trip really stuck with me. As I was elaborating on my recent experiences with Yoga, and what that meant to my faith, he said that he didn’t really feel like what I was talking about had anything to do with Christianity. I got quiet. He continued, saying that, although Christianity is (obviously) a huge trend in American culture, and many, many people call themselves and view themselves as Christians, he feels there are very few real Christians in the world. He went on to explain that he feels like real Christians are people who are out there in the world, doing something about what Jesus preached and what God asks of us. It’s not enough to feel close to God or feel a connection to Jesus, B explained. You’ve got to get out there and work to change the world.

At first, I felt offended by what B said. I’ve been feeling so connected to God and my faith recently, that I took this is some sort of insult. I felt that B was saying that what I was experiencing wasn’t good enough. “Well,” I responded, “I’m a Christian. So you can consider me a Christian.”

But, having had a week to reflect on our conversation, I’ve been able to get my thoughts together a little more. So, here goes:

I believe that Jesus brought peace to the world. I believe that this is the connectedness I feel when I do Yoga. It’s the connectedness my dad feels when he meditates. Different people feel peace in different ways; regardless, this feeling is what needs to become internalized before one can go out into the world and respond to the charge that Jesus issued to his followers. When living in peace, one is able to hear God’s call and respond to Jesus’ request. The call sounds different for every person. This is the personal, spiritual aspect of Christianity.

For me, I feel called to work with children. I want to share the love and peace I know with my students, and I want to change their worlds for the better. I do this by teaching them to read so that they can experience the world through books, teaching them to think so that they can form their own opinions, and teaching them how to handle their emotions so that they can form strong relationships in their life. This is the action-based aspect of Christianity.

The spiritual and active facets of Christianity work together to make one’s faith. One part cannot exist without the other; peace and action work hand-in-hand in my faith.

So, readers: Do you agree or disagree? How do you find peace? What is your call?

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5 thoughts on “The Two Facets of Christianity

  1. Allow me to be different but I find peace without God. In fact I have never felt his presence and don’t even believe he exists. Perhaps this isn’t exactly the response you were looking for. My bad

    • I will more than allow it, I’ll encourage it! I am exploring this new idea for myself, and welcome feedback. I know lots of very spiritual people who I think have experienced the same transformative feelings, but would not attribute them to God.

  2. Katie, I totally agree with this post. And I love this part: “this feeling is what needs to become internalized before one can go out into the world and respond to the charge that Jesus issued to his followers.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with needing to find that peace within yourself first. Paul said to remove the thorn from your own eye first (which I realize is regarding judging others, but I think it applies here as well).

    The tricky thing for me is that there are lots of people in the world who are motivated by peace that aren’t Christian. There are even lots of people in the world who believe in Jesus’ teaching but don’t believe him to be the Son of God. So I often wonder why one needs to follow any particular religion to find this calling of sharing love with our neighbors (For a good read on this I suggest “Tea with Hezbollah” by Ted Dekker).

    It’s taken me a while to learn that sharing love and peace in the world can be done through so many different calls–not just church work or missions. My pastor in college always said, “Where your passion lies, there you’ll find your calling.” It’s simple but true! And it’s comforting to be reminded that your calling doesn’t have to seem epic to be real. Realizing that has helped greatly over the last couple of years.

    ps. My new-found passion is now in health and wellness! I actually am starting a new job soon at a Chiropractic Wellness center, and I’m super excited about it! So to answer your question, I find peace in loving what I do everyday and the people I do it with!

    pps. sorry for the super long post.

  3. Hi Katie! I agree with Cheri above: “internalizing peace before going out in the world” stood out in that post.
    Thanks for subscribing to my blog! I laughed when I read the first line of your post: “Driving across Iowa is boring.” I grew up in Davenport, and moved to Washington 3.5 years ago. I also am relatively newly married (1.5 yrs), follow Jesus, and had to figure out what being in charge of food and housekeeping looked like. (learning to cook and learning better nutrition is a bigger responsibility than i thought!) Anyways, thanks again for subscribing 🙂

  4. Christianity is about a relationship with Christ. Jesus IS the Prince of peace. So I agree HE gives us his perfect peace when we trust in HIM ( see Isaiah 26:3&4). I believe we were made for relationship with HIM. Though yoga has its roots in non-Christian religions, i do agree we need to spend time being still and quiet meditating on The Scriptures. Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still so we will know HE is God.
    The other aspect of your question and B’s comment is very true as well. Faith without works is dead. I challenge you to read the book of James.
    I’m also a teacher and truly believe teaching is a gift and calling. We’re serving Jesus when we serve our students.

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