I have heard “I didn’t know you’re Christian”, “He’s a Catholic? I usually can’t stand Catholics” from friends of ours countless times. I am no longer surprised by these, as it has happened so many times. It is worth a minute’s though, however, why such surprise is so common. I live out my faith in my everyday life in every way I can see. I try to be a faith-filled man who embodies the love God offers to every one of God’s children. Yet if these statements can be true, then how can my Christianity come as a surprise to anyone? The reason, as I see it, is two pronged. The first is the state of popular christianity in the United States today. The second is my choice to lead a publicly quiet and personally enriched life of faith.
My first point is the current state of popular christianity in the United States. To go in to true depth on this topic can, and does, take books all to itself. A shortened version of my own comprehension is the trend of those recognized as christians to bring too much of their own expectations and desires when they come to the faith. In far too many cases, the results desired from religion has already been decided. The introduction of religion is seen primarily as a tool to support pre-existing ideas and opinions. Because of this trend, it has become an assumption by non-religious individuals of the above being the case with any religious individual until proven otherwise.
The second point, my choice to lead a publicly quiet and personally enriched life of faith, is based significantly upon my own experiences interacting with people of faith before I developed my own faith. I never found speaking with people of faith who spoke about faith regularly at all convincing. The individuals I gravitated towards were always those who would happily talk to me about their faith if I asked, yet wouldn’t bring it up unbidden. A quiet life of joy in one’s God has always accompanied those whose faith I saw as the strongest, the most sincere. I have found this practice in my own faith life to be a strengthening approach, as I force myself to spend time reflecting inwardly upon my faith. I spend time recognizing when I am feeling something because of my faith vs warping my faith because of my feelings.