Christianity is not a Test; it’s a Relationship

Certainty is part of the American culture. We love confident people, go-getters, and independent leaders. Contrast this to Latino culture which values relationships and keeping the peace.

In an English American Christian church, I’ve heard a person described as godly because they are a go-getter and they are doing great things for God. (This would be a Choleric temperament or an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs test.)

family Latino

In a Spanish American church, I’ve heard a person described as godly because they keep the peace and can get along with everyone. (This would be a Phlegmatic temperament or an INFP on the Myers Briggs.) These personalities are opposite, ESTJ and INFP. Interesting, huh?

If you believe Christianity is about having the right answers, like you were taking a test, which is the right answer?

This causes me to question my Christian experience. How much of it is influenced by culture? How much is influenced by Jesus Christ and his teachings? Can we look critically at our Christian experience, even question it? Some don’t like that suggestion.

When we don’t let people within Christianity critique Christianity or talk about the stuff within it that baffles or hurts them, they will just walk away. Jacqueline Bussie in Outlaw Christian

In fact, one might argue that you learn more by exploring questions than by collecting pat answers. Questions are necessary. Creating a learning environment where questions are welcome is important.

The opposite of a learning environment is one that only transfers information from the expert to everyone else. The expert could be a teacher, a leader or a preacher. The one who talks is the one with all the information. The goal is for students to retain and repeat the correct information. It’s a test environment. If you contribute to the discussion, you’d better have the correct answer. If not, you are chastised in front of the whole group.

question-1262378_1920Think about another use of questions, not as a test but as exploration. In an environment that promotes relationship and connection is not like the typical school environment where the teacher is searching for a specific right answer. In a relationship, there are several directions that one can take. In fact, exploration of thoughts, feelings and perspectives are necessary for the relationship to grow. The key is to stay connected.

So, go ahead and ask the hard questions. I don’t promise easy answers. But ask Jesus. Feel free to ask him and have it out with him, if you need to. Just stay connected to him in the process.

As long as we are talking to God, even if we are arguing, complaining, lamenting, and questioning, then we are still in relationship. Any kind of communication is still relating, and is not the same as shutting out or shutting down. Jacqueline Bussie in Outlaw Christian

You don’t have to have it all together. Just walk with God. Honestly. Every day. Bring him your questions and wrestling.

©2017 Belinda Perez McDanel

2 thoughts on “Christianity is not a Test; it’s a Relationship

  1. It’s no wonder we have so many different denominations, each too afraid of the risk that it could be wrong, too afraid that someone else might be right. Relationship with others based on our relationship with God presents the opportunity for dialogue. And if we faithfully search our own hearts, open to the work of the Holy Spirit, we might find that we have no REAL differences after all. Good post!


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