I used to feel I couldn’t consider myself a Christian because I didn’t fully agree with any of the major denominations and there were/are so many connotations when it comes to calling one a ‘Christian’. So for a while I just told people I was atheist or agnostic. But I pray. I like reading the bible at times. I like a lot of what smart and thoughtful Christians like C.S. Lewis has to say. Being raised Christian, there are aspects of it that are a part of me, who I am. Many say you can’t “pick and choose which scriptures you like”, but thats essentially what the founders of the denominations did. So much of theology and church practice, etc evolved over the centuries. None of them fully agree with each other. Are Catholics Christians? Black Hebrew Israelites? Oneness Pentecostals? Many consider others heretical for allowing women as pastors. Many say you must pay tithes or God won’t bless you, others say tithes is not required. Some say you must take everything in the bible literally, so they believe the earth is 6,000 years old, others say its all allegorical. And when people take issue with all these various contradictions amongst Christianity, what do they do? They start a new church! It starts out rejected by the other denominations but as it grows and more people join, it may eventually become recognized as at least within the ‘Apostles Creed’. Or not, they may still be rejected by the ‘orthodoxy’ (which is just a fancy word for popular, dominant, politically influential Christian denominations) then those people would consider themselves the ‘true Christians’. Then this church itself begins to have its own issues tying its various interpretations together. I’d just rather practice what makes sense to me and leave the church thing alone though I do see the value in it for others (who don’t feel pressured to go out of a belief that they’re going to hell or outside of God’s will if they don’t). Its just not for me. But for a few reasons, I still like considering myself a Christian these days. When you were raised Christian, it can be awkward at gatherings during the prayer or spiritual conversations for people who aren’t ‘in the fold’, so I’d like to redefine what that means. Its about tradition, culture and not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Its my love for people and accepting of who I am why I desire to be called a Christian and be amongst those broadening what that means. I don’t the like the militant atheist or snarky agnostic approach to handling philosophical differences. I think we can all agree there’s a huge aspect of our lives that just looms over us, the unknown, its very humble to acknowledge it and try to find some connection to it or explanation of it, and even work our way through explanations of it enough to figure out what our next steps should be. I think we can still love each other while having different methods and ‘revelations’ in regards to the unknown. I think one can be respectful of the bible and specific religious practices as it pertains to those who value them deeply while also rejecting the aspects we find harmful, nonsensical, or arbitrary.