Scientist Mother is doing this very cool thing, where she sends you 5 questions and you have to answer them in your blog. I volunteered.
She got easy questions about how her new job is going and where she lives and what her perfect day would be like. I got really freaking hard questions. So hard that I had to email back with more questions. So hard, that I had to pour myself a shot of Maker's Mark.
1. Were you always religious?
I have to ask this. Do I come off as religious? Because if I do, I'm really sorry. I like Christians. I don't like religious people. Generally they get on my nerves. Honestly, when I'm around "religious" people, I have a terrible urge to smoke and drink and swear. And if you are at all inclined to say things like "praise Jesus" or talk to me about going on dates with Jesus (he's the Messiah, not your boyfriend), I'm going to be irritated.
I think the question is have I always been a Christian? The answer is no. I became a Christian when I was about 16, in high school. I didn't like God for a long time. It seemed that the world was really unfair and unjust and people were hurting, and hungry and broken, and it didn't seem like God was doing much of anything about it. Mostly I was hurting and broken, and no one was doing anything about it. God showed up in the midst of it. He didn't heal me overnight. In fact, some 15 years later, there are still broken places in the midst of me. But he did remind me that he's bigger than I am, and that I cannot fix the world on my own, and I need him in my life. I've been a follower ever since.
As for going to church, mostly, I have gone my entire life. To an Anglican Church as a child, a Baptist Church for 3 years as a newlywed, and back to an Anglican Church. There have been times that I haven't gone. I think the thing about church is this: It's a family. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it just hurts. The church isn't a museum of saints, it's a hospital for sinners. We aren't always going to be perfect. In fact, we aren't always going to be good. We're going to be there, and trying.
2. Have you ever questioned your faith? As in wondered if there really is a God?
Absolutely. Many times. How on earth do you prove that God exists? He's the most logical illogical thing in the world. An all knowing, all powerful being, that doesn't show himself. I see the works of his hand, I protest that even the rocks shout his name, but I can't take you to meet him. And when terrible things happen, both in our own lives, and in the world, I do ask. I do wonder. I've written about it a lot. Here, and here and here. Truthfully, I find if I stop praying, stop reading my bible, stop going to church, I find I feel further from God. All relationships have to be cultivated, even when it's just hard work.
Perhaps as my relationship with God deepens, I ask fewer questions about whether God is real, and more about where he is in the situation.
3. You're a very liberal individual, how is it living in the conservative capital of Canada?
Infuriating? Truthfully, what bothers me most is the anti-intellectualism. The idea that any old hack who can door knock and stuff envelopes can be a politician, and sit in the house representing our interests. I don't think you have to have a Ph.D. I think you have to be sober and thoughtful and have good ideas. Perhaps more than anything, you must be willing to listen. Not just take the pulse of the population and do the obvious, easy thing, but the right thing.
I think it's exemplified in something that happened during Premier Ralph Klien's time. He said that he was for "stupid cutting". Essentially, this was Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, before it was popular. And I suspect a few cuts needed to be made, but truly, why as a political leader, would you be for stupid anything? Shouldn't you be for smart everything? Providing the best solutions for Albertans?
Ed Stelmach was the last of my involvement with the provincial Tories. Mr. Spit and I worked to get him elected, because Ted Morton scared the pants off me, and Jim Dinning would sell our health care system to the highest bidder. Last time. And we don't talk about federal conservatives, affectionately known around chez spit as "the bastards who destroyed my conservative party."
4. Do you agree with all the teachings of the church?
I saw this question and gulped. Which church? What teachings? This is one of those questions that I had to ask extra questions about. Do I agree with church teachings? Well, sometimes.
The church gets stuff right, creating hospitals, orphanages, being the original social workers of the world. We also get it wrong. The Crusades, the sun orbiting around the earth, sexual abuse by priests.
God gave his people a job. We call it the great commission - go into the world and tell people about God - to make disciples, to baptize. Telling the Gospel is telling others about God. You cannot have God without the Gospel. You could have a divine being of your own belief, and that's absolutely your right, but you cannot have a Christian God without the Gospel. Everything leads to the Gospel.
So, the church has the Gospel, and the Gospel gives us a job. Mostly, I think we get it wrong. We go into the world and we tell people about us - about what we are doing for God, and how amazing our life is. We go into the world and we tell people about them - what they are doing wrong, what terrible people they are. That's not what God told us to do. He told us to go out in the world and tell people the story of him. Of God and his son. Of the cross and the Resurrection. Of what God did for us, before we even asked. And the response to that is to become God's disciple. Not for everyone. Some people hear the story of salvation and they aren't interested. I won't say I get it, but I absolutely respect their right to not believe it.
I believe, along with the great commission, that we all need salvation. I believe that God planned Christ's death on the cross to accomplish that salvation - to be the perfect sacrifice for my sins, for your sins, for every ones sins. I believe that we need to personally accept that salvation. And yes, I do believe that the only way to heaven is through Christ.
5. If you could have anyone to dinner, who would it be?
Would you believe me if I told you this was the hardest question? I have no idea. Karl Marx because I'm sure that we get his ideas wrong, all the time, and I'd like to ask him what he meant. Aristotle because I'm dying to know what he thinks about Obama. Elizabeth 1, wondering what it was like to rule Britannia, and never marry. St. Paul, because while he's always gotten just a bit on my nerves, he was so on fire and passionate about the Gospel. Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, because I have always admired what they did for my country, although the bit about activist judges on the supreme court drives me crazy.
Now, it's your turn. Do you want to be interviewed?
Of course I'll ask really hard questions!