Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Labels

At the doctor's office this week, I had to fill out some paperwork. One of the questions asked for my religion. As much as I wanted to fill in "yes" and see if they said anything, I didn't. Part of me was offended that my doctor would even care what my faith is, but I understand why they'd want to know. Some religions have a problem with some types of procedures or treatments. Seeing that I'm some weird half-breed between Catholic and Protestant, I refrained from putting down either and branded myself "Christian" on the paper.

It's not a lie. I am Christian, albeit unbaptized and chock-full of sinful tendencies. Medically, this is not an important label. If I need blood, I don't care if I receive Muslim, Jewish, or Buddhist blood. I care that the blood has been tested for diseases and has the right blood type label on it (duh!).

What matters is that I had to label myself something. I have refrained from doing so as long as possible. It's not that I'm afraid or don't care or don't want to claim a side. It's not that easy. I don't want to be a "cafeteria Christian" that picks and chooses what parts to believe and what parts to ignore. If I decide to become Catholic, it will be with full knowledge and in full agreement with the Church and its doctrines. If I end up in one of the Protestant faiths, again, I will have solid reasons for doing so. I'm not going to say that I'm one or the other until I know what it means to be either.

Some might argue that waiting is not a Christian thing to do. To wait and try to understand religion is to not have faith in Christ. I don't think that's fair: my faith is my faith regardless of my label. The church (read: name) I choose will only help me grow in the faith I already have. If I decide I want to call myself "Baptist," then others will know that the faith I've had all along coincides most with that particular church (and, for your information, it does not).

I love the Catholic Church for many reasons. I understand Tradition more and more each week and enjoy learning about the church's history. I'm also stubbornly clinging to my Protestant background, though, and I have a hard time telling myself that what I've always believed is somehow incorrect.

This blog's title is "It's not about the answers..." and, to me, it isn't. I don't need a label to understand my faith. I don't need to be Catholic or Protestant. Just like I marked on my doctor's paper this week, I'm simply Christian right now. A learning, growing, expanding, questioning, and discerning Christian.

So if you want to call me anything, label me that.

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