I was taught "apologetics," which is basically training in how to proselytize and defend the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, etc when people called them out as irrational or objected to agreeing with me that Christianity is the best belief system. And in the process of that training, I was also taught how to poke holes in other belief systems, how to show their irrationality front and center. These other beliefs seemed ridiculous to me. The doctrine of abrogation used in Islam appeared preposterous and untenable, for instance.
Until I started looking at the Bible and church teachings and stories I'd heard over and over and oversimplified and normalized since childhood. Until Rebecca (who didn't grow up in the church and hadn't heard some of the obscure Bible stories) and I started reading Genesis. Until people started applying Bible verses to my relationship with my helpmate to try to break us up or withhold our rights. Until I started seeing the divisions between branches and denominations of Christianity, even though all agreed that the Bible is infallible and could use apologetics to "prove" it.
And at some point, gradually, like my creeping mint plant, the realization swept over me:
Believing in Jesus isn't rational. It's not supposed to be convenient. It's not supposed to be normal. Setting aside self interest is hard. Laying down our burdens and control is hard. Interpretation of a canon written across hundreds of years is hard.
And that's why arguing people into it, as I was taught to do with my proselytization training, has never worked to bring anyone I know closer to Jesus.
That's not to say it's impossible to bring people closer to Jesus. But every time I've seen someone step closer, it's because of the irrationality. It's the self sacrifice they see that's inconvenient and countercultural. It's in the mess and the joy during sorrow. It's not because of the safe Jesus or the tame domestic Jesus. A friend in high school who has since been following Jesus admitted, well after, that he got to know my sister and me because we smiled. All the time. Genuinely. And he didn't get why but he wanted to.
I've had better conversation and better love for people by seeing the mess. By asking questions and listening and looking for the image of God in the midst of brokenness.
And in our current culture, maybe looking for beauty in brokenness is the most irrational of all.