A few of the phrases she offered during our conversation helped me understand the wide expanse of beliefs among Christians, and brought me more clarification of my faith. These stood out to me: Jesus is my Lord and Savior; my church is Bible based; John 14:6. No one can come to the Father except through me.
I never use these phrases, because they don’t describe my faith. But more than that, they are code for what I believe is an exclusive Christianity, one that puts conditions on Jesus’ message of love.
They limit me to a belief in a confining, judgmental ‘father-God; a God living more in my mind than in my heart; a God not of mystery or the ineffable, but of dogma and constrictions; a God of the past, not of the present and future; a God of limits, not of what I can hope for or imagine; a God worshiped more through formal liturgy and word, and less through contemplation and silence; a God who must include Jesus as THE Way, rather than someone who is A Way.
There is so much more I could say about this, but enough words. One more comment, however. I don’t write this as a judgment about this person or her faith, but as a way for me to strengthen, affirm, and clarify mine.