So it makes you wonder, what sort of role model am I?
The other day I was discussing this with my students in my statistics class. Half-joking and half-serious I told them this:
"This is what I'm after: I want you to think I'm the most religious person you know and the least religious person you know."
That may sound weird and paradoxical, but I am getting at something real here. I think many of my students would say that I'm one of the most religious people they know while at the same time being one of the least religious people they know.
You may wonder, How's that work?
I could write a lot about this, but the short answer is this.
I use my religion to become a human being. Religion, for me, is the praxis of becoming a human being. Students can see the praxis--the hard work I'm putting into religious observance--but the outcome of that work isn't religious piety but a human being who is joyful, relaxed, kind, non-judgmental and emotionally available.
Not saying I've reached those goals, but those are the outcomes--being a human being--my religious observance is aiming toward.
Or, phrased more conventionally, I practice my Christianity in order to be conformed into the image of Jesus. Christianity is the religious praxis of becoming Christ-like.