Let’s consider this my ‘coming out’. I’m a Christian, a Presbyterian (PC-USA) to be specific, and my faith is very important to me.
Growing up, I attended worship weekly, was active in youth group, went on mission trips, and participated in bible studies. After graduating high school, my faith continued to deepen, and I became even more involved in my church. Almost all of my free time was spent volunteering, singing in the choir, or hanging out with church friends.
Atlanta vs DC
When I moved to DC almost two years ago, that all changed. My life here mostly consists of work and sleep, with a little socializing sprinkled in. Here, almost all the people in my life are political folks. And here, it’s been my experience as a Democrat that politics and religion don’t usually go hand in hand. Or at least not openly so.
In DC, telling people that I’m a Christian feels a lot like evangelism. The few times I’ve mentioned my faith outside of church, people react as if I’ve just told them that I believe in magic, or that I think I’m Ronald Reagan reincarnate. Folks quickly try and change the subject so to be honest, at this point I’ve just stopped mentioning it. I don’t tend to feel like I can talk about my faith in the context of my politics. But really, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no light of day between the two. They’re one and the same.
In Atlanta, I didn’t separate my Christian self from the rest of myself, because in the South, having a conversation about the news turn into a conversation about faith isn’t that unusual. I didn’t even have to tell people that I was a Christian. It would have been like telling them I’m a short loudmouth – no need to state the obvious.
I realized recently that now when I meet new people and tell them about myself, ‘Christian’ is no longer one of the ways I describe myself. Leaving that out feels dishonest. I feel like many of the people who know ‘DC Hanna’ and not ‘Atlanta Hanna’ only know part of me.
I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to start re-introducing myself to people. As a Christian, a Presbyterian, a person of faith. As a person who worships the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
To clarify, I’m not saying I want to regularly discuss my faith with strangers on the street (or even friends and co-workers). But I want the people in my life to know the whole me. And to know me, to know all of me, is to know that I’m a believer.
So here we go: I’m Hanna, I’m a Christian, and I’ll be using this space to discuss that from time to time (along with dating, and politics, and books, and cooking, and all the other things we’ve been talking about together)!
Have any tips on telling people about your faith without feeling like you’re evangelizing? Leave a comment below or shoot me a note!