So what DO you put in the religion column?

In looking at the photos of Crosspointe's Ugandan Acoustic Cafe with all of the drums that I posted on Facebook, a high-school friend of mine joked and asked..."now what did you put as your religion?" Said friend has his religion listed on Facebook as "fundamentalist wacko Christian" which made me laugh out loud when I read it.

In writing this post I started looking through what my friends have listed. Most list their denomination. My emergent friends say, "incarnational Christian" or "Christ Follower." Darren--who grew up in my youth group--wrote the interesting "southern baptist vs. science & history."

On my profile, the "religious views" line is blank simply because I had no idea what to put.

My early years include a large Southern Baptist pedigree. I grew up just down the road from Southwestern Baptist Theological seminary, went to a large Southern Baptist Church, and graduated from a Southern Baptist University. The experience gave me a solid foundation in scripture. (All those hours in front of flannel boards, chapel and Bible studies tend to stick with you.)

In high school I spent a lot of time with Charismatics while performing with Cornerstone Theatre. It was there that I discovered the incredible power of worship and was exposed to the "spooky gifts" like prophecy and speaking in tongues. (This was not covered in my Southern Baptist education.)

My summers spent with the Gillhams taught me the healing power of grace and the true depth of what Christ's death meant.

In John's and my early marriage, we connected with a Nazarene church. I couldn't sign off on something called the 'doctrine of complete sanctification' so I wasn't allowed to actually join, but I did meet some incredible people who became my family while we were far from home.

In Panama, we went to a truly wonderful Bible church where we learned a lot about simply how to live life. (We went to another Bible church from 00-04 so that Chase could have a youth group and learned a lot about practical Christianity from Pete Briscoe.)

We're officially Evangelical Presbyterians--through Crosspointe. I have to confess, the whole denomination thing doesn't mean much to me personally. It is really about David-the-Artist-Pastor, Nancy-the-Insightful, the Cobalt people, the Oxygen people, and all of the other wonderful individuals who make up that group of believers.

Add to that a smattering of other experiences... A close Catholic friend who shared with me the beauty of some of the old traditions. A deeply moving service at an Eastern Orthodox church. The writings of Brother Andrew, Augustine and Fr. Thomas Keating...and I'm left as a bit of a compilation.

So, how do you come up with a single label? Is 'Christian' enough? The word doesn't quite capture the way I feel when I wake up in the morning while everyone else is asleep and I sit by the window to pray. Nor does it catch the incredible beauty of reading in Genesis of God's continual pursuit of man. It doesn't cover the miracles of forgiveness and healing that have touched my life. Nor the power, connection and wholeness that flow out of living a life connected to God.

Somehow for me the label on Facebook feels a lot like the plastic fish people put on the back of their car. At the end of the day, your religious views get shouted to the world in who you are. Not just in relationship to God, but to the people around you.

That speaks volumes more than the label you give yourself.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall