I am a Christian. And I am a member of the Church, that wonderful and terrible thing that is the collective of all who believe that Jesus is the Son of God who taught us how to live inside of God’s will for this physical existence and through his death and resurrection, set us free from the sin and evil that not only is around us, but that is within us as well.

I have a lot of friends who aren’t Christian. For the most part, they are respectful even as they find the above statement to be a mild form of delusion. How could this God be real and why would he come in the form of a man born 2,000 years ago?

But that’s not the hardest thing to believe for me personally. What I struggle with, is this: It’s that love is stronger than fear. It’s forgiving my enemies. And trusting that God loves me even when I am most afraid, which as a parent, is now every waking hour of my life. I have my doubts. Most Christians I know do. But my fears are stronger.

I know people who aren’t Christian who have told me that it sounds admirable as an ethos but there’s just too much magic to it for their tastes. They haven’t seen God, so he’s probably not there. I know others who aren’t Christian because they have felt God’s presence but they have been too disappointed or upset by the mean-spiritedness of Christians to believe that we are a serious people.

It’s not exactly an elite unit, the Church. While it’s not totally full of screw-ups, it’s pretty close. Jesus would have been a terrible fantasy football manager. He makes terrible draft picks and sets a bumbling starting lineup. If you knew me in the late 90s or the early 2000’s you’d agree with that point.

“The Church is a whore!” said Saint Augustine. “But,” he added, “She is also my mother.”

If the Holy Spirit wasn’t moving and shaping and changing the Church over and over again, it would have died out a long time ago. Please do not judge all Christians on the shortcomings and fears that all people have. And please do not write off the Church because of its cynical misappropriation by those who always seek out power from any organization or ideology they can subvert for their own motives.

The Church is giving dignity to those dying of AIDS. The Church is welcoming the refugees. The Church is in Sudan planting crops. The Church is under the bridge downtown, feeding the homeless. The Church is teaching English to the migrant. The Church is brewing coffee for the addicts sitting in a circle of chairs.

The Church is screwed up people doing something better than themselves even as they still screw up, hopefully just less and less and less than they did before, until someone mistakenly refers to them as saints.

But the Church and it’s true members rarely has the time to get on TV or on your Facebook feed. The Church, the REAL Church, is too busy for that.

Jesus and his merry band of troublemakers go merrily along.