My thoughts on Jesus. Yes, a post about my faith.

I’m coming up on my fifth year of blogging here at Punch Debt In The Face. Over the years I’ve casually referenced my Christian faith. Today, I’m taking a break from personal finance to go a little more in-depth about my beliefs. Even if you don’t share a similar value system, I hope this is still of some interest to you. 

It’s probably important to note that I do not come from a long lineage of Bible Thumping Christians. In fact, no one in my immediate family goes to church. What’s more, my brother is on an Atheist Debate team. Literally. I had no idea such a thing existed, but apparently it does. All this to say, I wasn’t brainwashed in to religion like many non-believers might think. I came to Jesus, on my own accord, sitting on a rock, in the middle-of-nowhere Canada.

My life hasn’t been the same since. He literally has changed me from the inside out.

I was awkwardly shy pre-Jesus.

When I was in first grade I had a super small role in a school play. So small, I only had one line that came about half way through the performance. When my moment to shine came, I was paralyzed by fear. I struggled to get seven simple words out of my mouth. They still haunt me to this day “Sure Honey, don’t mind if I do.”  It was a disaster.

Fast forward eight years later. I’m a freshmen in high school  and I get asked by my TV Broadcasting teacher to be a “co-anchor” for my school’s news show. I felt sick at the very idea of being on camera. I politely declined and asked to work the soundboard instead. I got my wish and avoided the camera. But went home that night and cried on the couch alone. Frustrated that I couldn’t bring myself to do something as simple as read a script in front of a camera.

Almost as soon as I committed my life to Christ, my social anxieties and fears were washed away. My senior year of high school I dressed like a woman and performed a J-Lo song for my entire school (yes, I even taped toilet paper rolls to my booty to have the full J-Lo effect). In college, I spoke in front of thousands of people as I was in charge of the Student Activities Department. Heck just last year, Girl Ninja and I were flown out to Chicago to be on national TV to talk about personal finance.

Needless to say, Christ gave me a confidence I couldn’t find on my own.

How can you believe in something you’ve never seen. 

I’ve never seen or heard God. I’ve also never seen, felt, smelled, heard, or tasted jealousy, but I definitely experienced it when Girl Ninja told me she wasn’t ready to date me because she had feelings for a different guy. Likewise, God doesn’t need to be seen to be experienced. It’s my favorite thing about Him!

I would not spend my time reading a two-thousand year old book, praying to the sky, or investing in high school kids lives, if I hadn’t experienced Christ’s love in a very real way.

But what about science!?

This is where I’m probably different from many fellow believers. It makes no difference to me if God created the earth ten thousand years ago or ten billion years ago. Nor does the Big Bang theory make my blood boil.

You see, I don’t believe science and God are mutually exclusive entities. I love science (I took Physics, Organic Chemistry, and Molecular Biology as electives in college)! I also believe God created everything. Wether that means he made the heavens and earth in six literal days, or used the Big Bang over the course of billions of years to bring us life as we know it, doesn’t change the fact that he was the start of it all.

When you think about it, Atheists and Christians really aren’t all that different. We both believe there was nothingness, and that somehow we came from that nothingness. Pretty cool if you ask me!

But Christians make me want to vomit.

For real though! They can be pretty terrible. Ghandi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” The good news is I don’t worship Christians. They are not my standard for God’s character and they shouldn’t be yours either.

I’m embarrassed that the church has poured millions of dollars in to combating same-sex marriage, when Christian divorce is at a staggering 50%. Hey church, let’s try to fix our own marriages before we go and tell a bunch of other people who they can and can’t marry. Ya know, that whole removing planks from our own eye thing. 

On behalf of all the sucky, abusive, authoritative Christians you have come in to contact with please let me apologize.

I’m sorry.

Don’t let a broken body of people cloud your judgement in regards to the character of Jesus… you know… the guy who often put the religious leaders of his time on blast.

Why make all this in to a blog post? 

A few reasons…

    1. This is a personal blog. If I can write an article about 401ks, why I hate cats, or my wedding, I would hope that one post every five years about my faith is acceptable.
    2. To hopefully show, that while my personal convictions and beliefs may be different from yours, we’re probably not that different.
    3. To have a thoughtful discussion in the comments section. MNSBC has the liberal market, Fox News the conservative. I’m hoping that, since Personal Finance is a relatively neutral topic, you can be open about your feelings here, without feeling like you’ll be attacked

I could seriously keep typing forever. Sharing ways that my faith has impacted my financial decisions. Or how He freed me from a temper that I could not control. Or rant about how frustrated I am by luke-warm Christians. But I have to end somewhere, and I think that somewhere is here.

Simple question today. What do you believe in?

46 thoughts on “My thoughts on Jesus. Yes, a post about my faith.

  1. “I’m embarrassed that the church has poured millions of dollars in to combating same-sex marriage, when Christian divorce is at a staggering 50%. Hey church, let’s try to fix our own marriages before we go and tell a bunch of other people who they can and can’t marry. Ya know, that whole removing planks from our own eye thing.

    On behalf of all the sucky, abusive, authoritative Christians you have come in to contact with please let me apologize.

    I’m sorry.”…

    My heart breaks for those that have been hurt by the church. My hope is to be a small representation of Jesus; a person who is understanding, accepting, generous, and loving to the excluded. He is one who sees people’s pain, broken hearts, and weary souls and wants to restore them to a greater way of life.

  2. Ahh this is a great post! Seriously I wish more Christians were like you. As an atheist, I have zero issue with people believing in God, and I think Jesus was a pretty rad dude who espoused some awesome values about helping the less fortunate and shunning material wealth. It’s people who try and push their belief systems on others who get my blood boiling, so I’m happy that you don’t fall into that category. 🙂

    • Yeah don’t get where the whole Atheist vs Christians thing came from. Jesus doesn’t hate on people, so I’m not about to start.

      I have to ask. Have you ever heard of an Atheist Debate Team before? Is my brother going out of his way to find such things or are they way more common than I ever knew. I seriously want to go to one because it would have to be an interesting experience at the very least!

        • Word. For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard of a Christian debate team either. Although I guess one could make the argument that many Christians themselves are their own debate team. Haha.

    • “It’s people who try and push their belief systems on others who get my blood boiling, so I’m happy that you don’t fall into that category.”

      Well, I just try and do like Jesus did. He makes it pretty clear; “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

      Notice he didn’t say, “I’m going to kick your door down and shove a Bible down your throat.”

      Dude was the real deal and couldn’t imagine how awesome earth would be if we all just did a little better at following Him (myself included).

  3. The Atheist debate teams are popular at many of our universities up here in the Great White North((Alberta)so no he’s not going out of his way to find one

  4. I like this. I would like to see more of this. I remember when I would be embarrassed to clap and show excitement at church, yet I did not stop moving at a Jay Z concert. Knew word for word, but not the word of God. I am happy that you feel comfortable speaking about God.

  5. I knew there was a reason I liked you 🙂 Very interesting and insightful post! It explains so much about you. You should link this post on your About page. Hmm, just I checked out that page, methinks it needs an overhaul now. Even though I’m not very religious, I do agree that there are good and bad aspects to all religions. I’m not good on the specifics, but I’m sure you can appreciate where I’m coming from. Kinda like Jordann, I think.

  6. I loved your post! You and I are on very similar pages especially in terms of science and Holy Books with only one small exception. I am not Christian. I am a believer but, I do not follow all the rules of my religion. My relationship with God concerns only me and my religion is my business. That is how I feel.

  7. You remind me of the distinction the (very gay and also very Catholic) political blogger Andrew Sullivan makes between what he calls Christians and Christianists. Christianists thump their Bibles but pay no heed to what is most essential in Christ’s teachings, making far more of an issue about other people’s sexuality than the Bible ever taught and ignoring Christ’s explicit statements that the love of money is the root of all evil. The U.S. is ostensibly a Christian nation, but a truly Christian society would never tolerate the kind of poverty and income inequality that are threatening to tear this nation apart. And you would think from the obsession with gay marriage and same-sex rights that those matters were all Christ ever thought about, when in reality there is considerable historical evidence that in the early Christian centuries the Church tolerated homosexuality. I have little hope the situation will improve, but for Catholics, at least, there is some hope of a truer Christianity with the new Pope Francis than there was with the god-awful Benedict, mincing about in his little red Prada shoes.

    I was born Jewish but was never raised very religious, and whatever faith I ever had was lost very early, probably the day after my Bar Mitzvah. Like your brother, I too consider myself an atheist, as I have no faith in any higher power, but if such a power exists, I have a feeling that there are many gay people who died of AIDS who will be sooner welcomed into heaven than many of the judgmental, Bible-thumping preachers. “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37

  8. Born and raised Catholic, became disgruntled with the church in high school/college (this is when abortion politics, gay marriage, and the clerical abuse scandals were forefront in the news) and have been a home(church)-less believer since.

    I take more of an inclusive approach to religion now; I see Christianity as my way of understanding the system of higher powers, but not to the extent that I think other faiths are wrong. To me, religions are part of cultures just like languages. Mine is not the be all and end all.

  9. Was raised Roman Catholic, and wanted to be a nun at age 10. Co-taught several CCD classes, and then, I started to question my faith by age 14. I simply didn’t agree with some of the tenants of the church, or the direction of where the church was going. So I didn’t confirm a year later. Instead, I found paganism, and I’ve been a tree-hugging, earth-loving, eco chick ever since. I don’t wear black or a pentacle or crazy stuff like that, and I don’t really practice, but I believe in the sky and the moon and the dirt and the grass, and a higher power that made it all happen. I also studied Asian religions in college, so I dig Buddha and Hinduism and the cool gods/goddesses like the one with more than two arms. I still really like Jesus, too, and I love reading and watching faith-based and Christian movies that speak of love and kindness (yay Christmas and all the awesome love it stands for!). And sometimes I go to church and can sing hymns like the best of them. I like, respect, and study all religions, because I believe that all faiths lead down the same path and have the same end-goal. You hit the nail on the head – it’s the crazy fundamentalist preaching crazy people I can’t stand, not God.

  10. This is a great post and I love reading the comments.

    I was baptized in the Christian faith, but my family never attended church except for weddings & funerals. I went to Catholic services a few times with friends in college, and while I liked the sermons, I did not care for the rituals. As an adult, I do not attend church, nor do I consider myself a Christian. I think Christ was a great man with a great message, but I struggle to believe that he is the son of God. I won’t go into why because that would take forever.

    I do believe in God and have no doubt in my mind about his existence. I look around this world and it’s hard to think there couldn’t be a divine creator. Like you, I also believe in Science. To me the two things are not mutually exclusive. I just have a hard time with organized religion and the lack of acceptance many of them seem to have with those who are different than their ideal. I am, however, very interested in religion from a sociological standpoint, and love learning about the various world religions

    I probably align most closely with Buddhism as a way to live my life. I try to be kind to the earth and its inhabitants and live a moral life.

  11. Ninja – you and I are totally on the same page with this entire post. Love this post and its frankness. Love Christ and am disgruntled by how many people who claim to love him treat other people. Am disgruntled by the ways that I fail him sometimes too, but I am trying!

    • Amen to that. Although I do think the church has an unfair expectation placed upon it. It’s just a group of a bunch of sinners, so it’s silly to not expect issues will arise. I heard a quote once “The church is a whore, but she’s also my mother.” Sums things up nicely. I love church, I love attending church. I love being in fellowship and community. But I also know it will fail miserably in some aspects. Christ is the only metric by which people should evaluate God.

      I will say I’m probably most frustrated by luke-warm religious people. I don’t get Jewish, Catholic, Christian, Muslim, etc people who say they believe, but don’t live a life like they do. Meaning they compartmentalize God. Maybe they pray before meals, or attend Church on occassion, but they don’t live their life in earnest pursuit of a relationship with God. Boggles my mind how someone can say I believe Christ was who he said he was and then go against his teachings (sex outside of marriage, not giving to those in need, etc).

      • I’m a bit curious what you use as a metric for “luke-warm” religious people. I feel like there are so many teachings and rules, if you will, to live by but also so many contradictions. Additionally, in having so many rules, invariably people come to the conclusion that some of those rules are outdated (I guess this is where the slippery slope kind of begins)…which I think is largely why there are so many branches in not only Christianity but many religions. So I guess to sum it up where do you personally draw the line here? And do you not also compartmentalize God to a certain degree? Just a bit curious here…

      • I really enjoyed this post and the responses but I’m curious about ‘luke-warm’ followers. I’m not a Christian, nor a follower of any other religion but I can totally get on board with the main teachings religions seem to have about how to live life – those about kindness, consideration, honesty etc.

        What has consistently turned me off organised religion are those ‘rules’ I see as peripheral and/or interpretive. I have to say I’d include sex outside marriage in this. Provided those involved are willing participants I don’t see the harm, nor, frankly, any reason that an organisation should get involved.

        Religion is an emotive topic all round for me, my brother in law converted to Christianity a few years ago now and while I’m happy that he has found such happiness, I must say I abhor the change to some of his previously closely held views – he now believes gay relationships/marriage to be wrong, for example, and will quote sections of the bible to support his beliefs. Firstly, I struggle with the view full stop, but I also can’t stand the fact that he believes he has the right to sit in judgement. And yes, I recognise the irony in what I’ve just written!

  12. This is one of the best faith-based posts I’ve ever read. I’m more of an atheist myself, but this line really hit home, “We both believe there was nothingness, and that somehow we came from that nothingness.”

    I do not have many qualms with the information in the Bible and the Catholic religion, but more with the history of Christianity and some of the more terrible things that have happened in its name. That being said, I think most of the power-hungry and egotistical dictators and warlords throughout history have acted in the name of some god or another to support their own agenda.

    Keep up the great work Ninja!

    • Yeah that whole crusades thing doesn’t really help the cause. That’s why it is super important for each person to “wrestle with God” and not with religion. He doesn’t disappoint. Ever. We often do.

    • Also, I’ve said before that I think Atheists arguably have more faith than Christians. My brother attributes our existence to randomness, chance, and the perfect recipe for life (Big Bang). I get to say I don’t know how the hell it all happened, but I know who does 😉

  13. Great post! I grew up in a Christian home and strive to follow Christ to this day. I’m not always perfect, but thank goodness for God’s grace. My dad, who pastored a church for a little while, used to have a saying “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” That is the kind of faith that I try to portray.

  14. I have to admit Ninja, when I saw the title of your post, I was a bit worried. I am an atheist (though never heard of the debate teams either-weird), and I kinda loathe reading preachy posts by “believers” that one sometimes comes across. I should have had more faith in you though-I appreciate your honesty, nuanced view of the church, and non-judgy approach. I have a colleague, who like you, believes and lives strongly as a Christian. He and I have great chats (respectful, calm, etc.) about how we understand the world and I always feel like I learn something from him, even though he and I don’t believe in the same things. Thanks for sharing your views. (I also love the comic at the top!!)

  15. Great post! I was raised Catholic and have found a home in the Episcopal Church (and in a very liberal diocese). Count me as another Christian who gets annoyed at the hypocrisy of many other so-called Christians! I try to just remember, “don’t look to Christians, look to Christ.”

  16. As a non Christian I just love this post. I wish more people felt the way you did and be more Christ like. I need remember that people like you represent Christianity and not the other kind

  17. I’m a Christian, too — and one who fervently believes in the notion that our lives and actions express much more about our faith, than what we just blatt off in words. Good for you, to let your posts speak for you, instead of sermonizing. I’m with you on that.
    He changed my life when I was 15 — and I was never the same. I am a better person for letting Him be in charge, instead of me.
    Just saw a vivid movie about Martin Luther (called simply “LUTHER.”) When he was in despair, his fellow monk said, “Pray to Jesus Christ. Say ‘I am yours – save me.’
    And He has.

  18. I really liked this. There is no need to be apologetic for posting about your faith if you do it in an open, respectful, (dare I add Christ-like?), and calm manner, like you did here. Thanks for sharing.

    I particularly liked your thought about experiencing something (jealousy) and experiencing God.

    I grew up with casual christianity, then dabbled in more extreme (“evangelical free” / “born again”) in high school, but that was very much not for me. A lot of my classmates were the types of christians that stereotypes portray (but nicer, less crazy). With all of that, I never “experienced” God, the science that goes with religion generally doesn’t line up, and I don’t understand reading a 2000 year old book (that i don’t believe was written by God) when there are other inspiring things to read. I would have liked to be a part of a religion, but in my heart of hearts, I believe life is a lucky and random chance.

    I would like to sit in on a debate between you and your brother! Do you guys talk about it much, or agree to disagree?

  19. Dear Ninja
    The title of the post almost made me want to unfollow you (ok I said almost), but then I read it, and boy I’m glad I did.
    As an atheist, I cringe when the topic of God comes about. Somehow someone always buys me the bible to read, after the conversation ends (I have 12). And it’s always handed to me with the magic words that supposed to scare me to death “you need to read the Bible, if you don’t you are going to go hell”. I will admit I read Bible Cliff notes, I was curious what the fuss was all about, but I still did not read the real thing.
    Not sure if this will make sense – I do not believe in God but I do have faith.
    My faith is not in God, but I do believe that the world will be ok, and we will be ok at the end, whenever that may be.

    I personally envy faithful God believers as I wish I had something that strong to carry me through life. Having that kind of rock must be a great help. When I met my now husband and found out he is a believer it was a bitter-sweet moment (did not want another Bible in my possession). I was convinced we will never be together but then one day we talked about it and I fell in love with him the moment I told him I’m not a believer and all he had to say was “ok, we can agree to disagree”. How awesome is he :)

    I do must admit I love your paragraph below – it puts things in perspective for me.
    “I’ve never seen or heard God. I’ve also never seen, felt, smelled, heard, or tasted jealousy, but I definitely experienced it when Girl Ninja told me she wasn’t ready to date me because she had feelings for a different guy. Likewise, God doesn’t need to be seen to be experienced. It’s my favorite thing about Him!”

  20. I’m not a Christian (although I was raised one.) I am a believer in morals which I think Jesus taught but I like many am pretty disappointed in the Christian crusade today. I personally think that if there is a God, (s)he isn’t going to judge you or me based on saying “I believe in God.” (S)He would judge based on our hearts, morals and actions. I think that speaks volumes about a person more than what they say they believe.

  21. Ninja! Great Post… but remember: Jesus loves cats too. As seen on a t-shirt: Cats are like potato chips… you can’t have just one. And hate is such an ugly word.
    Thanks for a great blog… oh and when does Puppy Ninja arrive? We need pix!!! Lots!

  22. Well said, Ninja, well said. We are devout Christians who abandoned the church (at God’s prompting) about 6 years ago. The hypocrisy and wrong teachings in many churches today still continue to floor me. The Bible says it all; your pastor, well, is he/she spouting off their own beliefs, or are they teaching you to follow what the (entire) Word says about life (not just bits and pieces that fit into how you want to live/act)? I always tell seekers a line similar to what you said: Don’t blame Jesus/God for the shortcomings of the church. Instead, Go to the Word itself and see what God has to say about life. Like you, a true relationship with Him has transformed me, and I’m so very grateful, every day, for Jesus and all He’s done for mankind. Thanks, Ninja, for sharing this.

  23. I don’t believe in God and I really can’t stand the hypocrisy of religious organizations, but I don’t fault people for their faith as long as they don’t use it to justify hate or inequality or violence. Even though we may not share faith, it seems we have very similar views and morals. I guess for me, I find that for all the good it does, faith still brings more division than unity which breeds hostility and destruction.

  24. As someone who was never baptized, learned formally about religion or non-religious faith other than what one absorbs through osmosis by TV, movies, others’ habits …. and has never spent any energy going out of my way to think of and learn about such things (actually I am so ignorant of this entire subject I wouldn’t know if I should call myself agnostic or atheist) … I have to say that I really enjoyed your post. I think the laid-backness of it is what appealed to me. (The laidbackness of your presenting the information, not saying that your faith itself is laidback).

    Curious about two things:

    As a Canadian I’d have to say that there is no such thing as middle-of-nowhere Canada as Canada is EVERYWHERE! teehee. You don’t have to get specific, but was it at a retreat somewhere, in a camp? BC or Alberta? You’ve mentioned being from the Pacific Northwest so I’m guessing it was BC.

    Also, this perhaps may be too personal of a question and I don’t mind if you don’t answer … but what prompted this revelation? Were you just out camping with some buddies and were in a reflective mood, or was it actually a religious retreat where that was the subject matter anyways and after listening in you decided that you were agreement with the teachings being presented? If it was a retreat, is it the same retreat that you’ve mentioned going on with GN, taking teenagers to? Oh, I just now thought of another question, did you accept Christ before or after you met GN? Was she the one who was the motivation for you to explore the subject to see how you felt about it?

Comments are closed.