Sunday, May 16, 2010

Explaining Jesus

Have you heard of Jesus? If you have heard of him, have you ever met someone who genuinely has not? For those that may stumble across this blog, let me explain that I live in the south. The south eastern section of the United States is stereotyped as the "bible belt". I grew up around the buckle. Right now I am raising my family in one of the thickest sections where the tongue overlaps. So, as my priest pointed out in one of his sermons, you could tackle a thief carrying a gun and running from a jewelry heist, ask him if he knows about Jesus, and he could tell you who his pastor is on Sundays. "Church" is a way of life down south. Lots of southerners don't actually attend, but from our blue laws to our little league scheduling, church is most always considered. Which is why I have been taken off guard to meet more than one family lately that genuinely does not know anything about Jesus. I'm talking no preconceived ideas other than what one may take away from American movies. That's it.

Guess what. So far I have been the one explaining Jesus to my friends. This is a unique position for me. Though I grew up in the south, I also grew up Episcopalian, and evangelizing was almost a sin. Which is why explaining Jesus is odd to me. It feels like I'm being evangelical. What I'm learning is that most people are interested in religion. Humans want to know about different spiritual beliefs. Another Sunday school teacher said that and it stuck. So when I meet families from other cultures that ask me about Jesus, it is okay for me to answer them. And what I mean by answer is a real response that isn't watered down with rationalizing and prefaces to statements - just simple, sweet, and honest. It's even okay to say, "I believe..." Most others won't laugh or poke fun; they are actually curious. I realize some people do this all the time. For me, it's a new thing. Not the beliefs parts - the talking out loud parts without all the prefaces. It's a bit intimidating putting yourself out there; but now that I have dipped my toes in the process, it's not so bad.