I am not a Christian.
I was baptised as one shortly before my first birthday.
Neither of my parents were really Christian, (I think) though they were, nominally.
My mom, and her family, even, have been of the "you will be when you really need it" school of thought (ie: Christ isn't in our lives every day, but in crisis, we lean on him, at least that's how I heard it.) Actually advocating Christianity, not as the truth, but as something we need to get us through tough times. This has never made sense to me (though I have been there now, I have called out in my darkest hours. I'm not sure what effect it has had on me)
My dad is now a quaker too. I learned as an adult that our views are very similar (which means I probably picked his up, somehow, as a child, though I don't remember him telling me anything about God) I don't even know if he would say he's christian (isnt' that odd?)
Sometimes, I would love to be. I want to have mystical experiences, and feel that Jesus walks with me in my life (or I walk with him I guess, wouldn't want to get 'uppity')
But really, when I think of that, I am afraid. I don't feel like Jesus is bad, but I do feel like he's been "stolen" - that so much hatred is justified in his name, I don't know if I can even use it anymore.
And more than just hatred, it's not just that. I can't put my faith in someone who hates gay people and is part of sending people to hell, and doesnt' want women to speak in church.
But I dont' believe that about Jesus, that's just crazy stuff that's been made up about him.
But, still, there's the power thing. I don't experience God as a King or "Lord" (a word I think I was fond of as a kindergartener in Catholic school), or as "above" me.
No part of me believes (or wants to believe) that there is a being that is:
1- seperate from me
2-more powerful than me
That I must beseech, or pray to, even whose "will" is differently from "my will" and I must do his
A lot of people seem to choose the term "a higher power" as less offensive somehow, than specific 'religious talk'
It offends me more. that is thet whole point - that is why I'm quaker. It is not a higher power, it is a broader power. It is not a parent to ask permission of, it is an earth, a universe, a life-force, to feel in the cells of your being. It is different from distracted, superficial, "every day" life, but it is not higher. It is deeper
I believe that perhaps Jesus was the most (only?) perfect manifestation of this in human form.
Or maybe he was a spiritual leader who said and did a lot of amazing things. And had some cool stories written about him.
I do believe he called us to do amazing things.
I do believe that we can do them.
I believe that he died on the cross because many people, in every age, choose not to do them.
I feel sick when I try to even understand people who claim that he died on the cross because his father loves us and doesn't want us to go to hell, but would have to send us to hell, even though he's God, and theoretically shouldn't have to do anything he doesnt want to.
I dont' even know what to do wtih the fact that people believe that.
Every now and then, in moments, I think I am a christian.
the last time was a year and a half ago, on Easter. I went to a UCC Church, right after having attended my first (and only) passover seder at a friend's house (where all the non-jews sat at a "kids table" and the conversation among us degenerated into a terrible discussion of what sort of motions christians might make if Jesus has been stoned or electrocuted)
But anyway, at the seder I learned about the Elijah cup, the one everyone pours part of their wine into, to set a place for Elijah, who will come and announce the coming of the Messiah. At the sermon the next day, the pastor said he took that cup (not just "the wine" which I had always heard) and gave it to everyone to drink in rememberance.
And for a moment it was all clear. It was not a call to blind worship, to some sort of magical thinking about human sacrifice, but a call to be the Messiah, in rememberance.
I could almost be that kind of Christian.