What Shape is Christianity?
by Jason Wisdom
What shape is Christianity? That may seem like an odd question. Not unlike, “How much does the number 7 weigh?” But let me explain what I mean by the question. Let’s suppose, just for fun, that every time you think of something, anything at all, it appears as a particular shape in your mind. And just for simplicity, let’s say that it can only take on 4 possible shapes: triangle, square, circle, rectangle. Every thought, idea, and feeling, appears in your mind as one of these shapes. Now suppose that when you think of things like: the Declaration of Independence, D-Day, September 11th; these things are square in your mind. When you think of things like: your favorite movie, a great story from your childhood, beloved family traditions; these are triangular. When you think of things like: going to work, paying bills, doing chores; these are rectangular. And when you think of times when you were deeply hurt by something, you think–circle. Alright. Got it? Now, let me ask you again; what shape is Christianity?
Answers will vary from person to person. For many, it is triangular–in the same category as great stories and traditions. For others it is rectangular–a tedious list of things to do. For still others, it is circular–conjuring up thoughts of pain, betrayal and distrust. But how many people think of Christianity as square–as something historically
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factual and reality altering? Not many. I would say that even the majority of Christians do not think of triangles when they think of Christianity, Jesus, and the Bible. I think that is a foundational issue that needs to be addressed within the Church today. The shape you think of when you think about Christianity will ultimately shape (pun definitely intended) your entire worldview.
I think that one of the ways the Holy Spirit uses apologetics is in reshaping the way we think of Christianity. For much of my life, the shape of Christianity oscillated back and forth between rectangular and triangular–from tradition to duty and back again. However, as I began to study apologetics, the shape gradually morphed to becoming more square. Before I go on, I can already anticipate some people’s reaction. They might say, “That is just the problem with you apologetics type people. You make everything all about the cold, hard facts. You have no heart!” That is not what I am saying. I think that when you see Christianity as a historical, reality altering fact, you are more able to enjoy the traditions, engage in duties, and cope with the hurt. In that sense, you might say that there is room for all of the shapes in a square, as long as they are put into the proper perspective…