Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Kind of Christian Are You?-

What Kind of Christian Are You?-

You are A Brian McLaren Christian
Brian McLaren Christian

A.k.a. a Rob Bell, Phyllis Tickle, N.T. Wright, Tim Keller, Eugene Peterson Christian. You subscribe to Sojourners or Relevant...or, more likely, Rolling Stone, Paste and The Atlantic. (And maybe even Geez!) Your Christian history is rooted in St. Francis, who leads (through Gandhi) to Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. You emphasize social justice as an element of God's kingdom. You might be "emergent" or "progressive," but you're probably post-evangelical.

Want more? Watch videos with Brian McLaren. See Rob Bell on the resurrection. Read Phyllis Tickle's Lent blog. Read our interview with N.T. Wright.

I took this quiz on Beliefnet. I don't know who Brian McLaren is, but in short, it says I'm a liberal Christian. Some of the questions on it have gotten me to thinking a little. What does it mean to be "Christian"? I believe in Jesus' teachings on helping the poor, "suffer not the little children", etc.... the social tendencies to welcome the outcasts that he exhibited. Love God (however you define God) and love your neighbor(including, for me, our non-human neighbors). I don't believe in literal virgin birth, death, resurrection. I believe possibly that he was able to understand more and perhaps become a Christ figure via progressive rebirths, similar to the belief that Siddhartha was able to attain Buddhahood thanks to multiple rebirths that finally led to the life in which he understood Enlightenment. I don't believe in a literal heaven or hell..... well, heaven as a possibility, hell definitely no. But I also believe in reincarnation as a possibility. And lately, Buddhism is starting to appeal more to me. So why not become Buddhist? This is something I've been thinking about a bit lately, as I'm reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Zen Living, and desperately attempting to utilize my Zen practices to balance the most stressful semester of school I've had yet - I didn't do very well on a recent major paper in class, and I'm (temporarily) up to 8 foster kids in my internship.

One thing about Gnosticism is that it is kind of a blend of both. It is Gnostic, Buddhist, Pagan, whatever else, yet it is also above all of that. Being a Gnostic means the practitioner seeks the esoteric similarities within all religions of study, seeking the Divine Spark, the Divine Inspiration, that is the source of it all. Some Pagans(and indeed, a lot of Gnostics), view divinity like a diamond. With the Wiccan "All Gods are One God" view, the belief is that whether you are praying to Zeus, Hades, Apollo, whoever, you are simply praying to different aspects of the same Being. Gnostics seek to find that Being, the big jewel that all the facets make up. That's why you find many Gnostics who, although they consider themselves Christian and pray to Jesus, also pray to Isis, Horus, and other deities(usually of middle-Eastern or Egyptian pantheons). That's something I still struggle with, myself. Before embracing Gnosticism, when I was Pagan, I was a polytheist, and followed a number of deities, primarily from the Celtic pantheon. While I did eventually come back to Christianity as a Gnostic, and recommit myself to Jesus (albeit a different interpretation of him), and even attend a Christian church, what of those other deities? I fully believe that I connected with them. My first experience with Brighid was a very powerful experience, part of why I still feel connected with her and follow her in her Saint form. I don't believe that my experiences as a Pagan were any less real than my experiences as a Gnostic have been, just because my faith has evolved. What I struggle with, even now, is how to integrate the two to make my spirituality as holistic as fits my generally eclectic personality and approach to everything, including spirituality. Maybe it is okay to pray to Jesus, and Manannan, and Brighid, and Isis. I'm hoping the next book on my reading list, Christopaganism, will give me some ideas and insights.


JeniMac said...

My result was "a Bishop John Shelby Spong Christian." :)

Angel said...

Your post on trying to slow down resonates with me. I'm currently beating my head against a wall figuring out how to let my two kids know that they're going back to brick-and-mortar school because they're driving me absolutely INSANE.

I'm discovering the same: You can't do it all. You have to breathe. You have to take care of your own internal needs first, sometimes, or you can't help out in the external ways.

In gnosis it's two steps forward and three back some days. Or months. And then when you get caught up you feel at peace.