Why am I Still a Christian?

21 Nov 2021 by Rev Andrew Smith in: Letters, Thoughts, News

Why am I Still a Christian?

From Rev Andrew Smith
Presbytery Minister - Congregation Futures

Last Saturday I gathered with 15 people from Woden Valley Uniting Church for a morning of rich conversation about why each of us is still a Christian.

The initiative to engage with this session arose from the Mission Planning Group of the congregation out of a desire

  1. For members of the newly amalgamated congregation to get to know each other better at a somewhat deeper level than can be done over coffee or other social events.
  2. To enable members to talk about and better communicate their faith.  It is important that we can talk about our faith if we are to attract new people to our church.
  3. By communicating our faith together, it will become clearer who we are as a community and what it is that God is calling us to become.

On the day, the comment was made that we are often better at saying what we do not believe or stand for in Christianity than we are at saying what we do believe or stand for in Christianity. The session was aimed at helping us articulate what we do believe and stand for in Christianity.
The phrasing of the question is important. It is “Why am I still a Christian”. Note that the question is not “Why I became a Christian” or “Why I go to Church”. It is “Why am I still a Christian”. Your answer will no doubt draw on experiences from the past, but it brings those into present as your present hope and reason for still being a Christian today.
Here is a summary of what the group collectively expressed. It is framed in the form of an affirmation of faith …
We follow the Christian way because in it we find:

  • a philosophy for living and community to explore faith;
  • a cultural cradle, and the opportunity to explore spirituality and to serve;
  • a comfort, the holy in others, and the call to serve;
  • community, the Sacred in music and strength through prayer;
  • love, the essence of Jesus’ teaching, and belonging to community;
  • a framework for meaning in life
  • a home and comfort;
  • a journey that brings us to the values and principles of social justice of Jesus Christ,
  • values, teaching and social justice of Jesus Christ and the community support of those who share these values;
  • community of like minded people round the teaching of Jesus Christ, especially social justice
  • the Holy other in the universe and the challenges and connection with others around Jesus’ teaching;
  • the space to re-explore faith and spirituality, and the community to do this with;
  • the Holy other, the call to justice, the call to life, and Scripture and theologians to inform our journey;
  • the Sacred within the community, belonging to community, hope and trust
  • the life of the pre-easter Jesus draws us to what he would do today.

The session was also a “taste and see” experience for the Mission Planning Group to get a better sense of whether the session is the kind of thing they would encourage for the wider congregation and, if so, how to best arrange it. There was enthusiasm from the participants to carry this further into the life of the congregation. So we look forward to this shaping up in the near future.
The question “Why am I still a Christian” comes from the “Makes you Wonder” resources prepared by Rev Dr Ian Robinson. You can access these resources through the following link to the Uniting Mission and Education website of our Synod: Makes You Wonder - Uniting Mission and Education. For the session about why am I still a Christian, look under the link “my story”.
If you are interested in how a session like this might work in your congregation, please have a look at the resources, and feel free to give me a call or an email to begin a conversation about it.