I’ve always had certain associations with the name “Jesus.” “The name “Jesus” makes me cringe,” I began, explaining my religious upbringing’s effect on my personal associations with the name.
The name makes me shudder for other reasons, though. There are current, cultural associations that disturb me. I think of wildly dancing Pentecostals; of prosperity-gospel-preaching mega-church pastors who use the name to get rich by assuring their pastorate that they too can get rich in Jesus; of individuals that have such a poor understanding of Christianity that they become easy targets for people like Bill Maher. If I were to say, “I’m a Christian” (something I’m still not willing to say at this point), I would be associated with such people.
That’s a nice example of the evasive nature of passive voice. “I would be associated with such people.” Who would do such associating? Friends. Neighbors. Coworkers. Family. Strangers.
Yet isn’t that me getting in my own way, tripping over my own ego? Of course it is.
In making an intellectual and emotional change from non-belief to, well, to non-non-belief at this moment, I’m making enormous changes in my worldview and whole life, and that stings the ego.
The whole process is pretty much thumb presses and Chinese water torture for the ego, admitting I might have been wrong in all my vitriolic attacks on belief and faith and wondering where I might end up when the whole process is over — if it ever is.