Yesterday I met a stranger to the Christian faith story, someone that does not believe in (any) God. We did not talk about religion or Christianity, instead we small talked about the country, Africa, crime, cycling and work. Afterwards I imagined the conversation going a bit deeper, towards him asking me why I am a Christian.
Why do I (try to) believe? I will leave the "what" for another doubtful day.
Why bother with religion, faith, church and God?
My answer will probably sound soppy, but just bear with me for a moment.
If not for Jesus son of Mary and Joe (and eventually "son of God") I could not have cared less about faith. The last few months I read the four Gospels' account of the life, death and new life of Jesus the Jew from Nazareth. The more I think, contemplate and allow the stories about Jesus to shape my everyday spiritual imagination, the more hopeful I get about knowing God.
Here was someone who got life right, in such a way that his friends (and even family!) experienced his way of life as the Way of God (also known as the coming of the kingdom of God). Even after his death, or especially after his death did the picture he drew about humanity and God bacame so clear that his friends (and family) believed him to be alive again. Some of them had the gift of (re)telling the stories about his life in such a way that it kicked started a revolution of faith. From all walks of life people joined the movement in the direction of a new way of being human.
Because of the way Jesus lived and died, a new world is possible.
It took me a long time to believe in this "new world". I got stuck in the ways of religion and culture, but through the stories told by Mark, Matthew, Luke and John Jesus rescued me from the mundane ways of religiosity and the selfishness of consumer humanity.
I (try to) believe because I see it to be the only way to reconnect with what it means to be truly human.