We want the world to know we're out there:
Christians who love Jesus but don't use him as a crutch. Christians who prefer peace and social justice over political capital. Christians who don't measure self-worth by whether we're able to convince you to see things our way.
We're out there.
And here's what we want the world to know:
We're sorry for the way our faith has -- so often, and for so long -- been used as a justification for hatred and fear and self-righteous superiority.
We're distraught by our current representation in the media. We feel that many of those prominent Christians often grabbing headlines not only trivialize our faith, but simplify it, too.
Because for us -- for those of us out there feeling voiceless and unrepresented -- Jesus is more than words. Jesus is more than a set of bullet points on Sunday. Jesus is more than a systematic theology. Jesus is more than a name we drop so others might think us pious and good.
For us, Jesus is a way: a way to practice love and peace and respect for others.
We want you to know that, just like you, we are three-dimensional. We can't be lumped into one stereotypical category.
For instance, we didn't all vote McCain in '08 simply because he was Republican. And those of us who did vote McCain can give an intelligent, reasoned argument why -- one that doesn't include, "Because I'm a Christian."
Meanwhile, those of us who voted Obama can give an equally persuasive argument why -- one that, among other things, is based on our Christian faith.
Whether we are for or against the Iraq war, or for or against sending troops into Afghanistan, none of us believes our mission to be a mandate from Jesus. For us, Jesus is never an excuse to drop bombs.
Nor is he ever an excuse to subjugate.
We believe whole-heartedly in the literal death and resurrection of Jesus, yet we don't rush to anger if you think us simple-minded for it.
We believe in personal responsibility but also believe a person's situation greatly affects his opportunities. And we want to help those who come from less fortunate situations overcome their circumstances.
We screw things up more than we get them right.
We give, we pray, we help, we hurt, we doubt, we want, we try, we fail. We try again.
In other words, we're just like everyone else.
And we want the world to know we're out there. We're out there and we want to work together. Laugh together. Grow together. Try together.
We want to, together, better the collective whole.
Follow Austin Carty on Twitter: www.twitter.com/austincarty